Once upon a time there was this guy named Jesus, you might have heard of him or even read his book.
One time at a major public address, he said that the people that followed him would be like a city on a hill: unmistakable, un-missable, un-hideable. A prominent feature on the skyline of society.
Which sounded kind of strange…until he described what his followers would be about. They would feed the hungry, they would clothe the poor, they would visit prisoners.
Not as a way to score points or impress people, but as a way to worship God.
Instead of courting favor from the powerful, they would serve and protect the powerless. They would not strive for wealth or status, but instead their success would be defined by the degree with which they were able to serve others.
And the metaphor fit, for a group of people that genuinely loved others without condition or reciprocation would be hard to miss.
But they have been missed. Sorely missed.
Although today more people today claim the title of christian than ever before, as a group they…okay, we… have never been more unrecognized, undistinguished, insular, and well…flat.
So much so, that at least in America, many now resort to advertising how different they are on billboards, t-shirts, bumper stickers, or any available surface, often ironically declaring their uniqueness in the most unoriginal styles possible.
Which leads me to wonder…perhaps what the world really needs is not more hype, but rather more height.
Preparing for a wedding can be tricky, even if it’s not yours.
Especially if it’s not yours.
Especially if, to pick a purely and totally hypothetical case, the wedding in question belongs to your daughter, your baby, the one you didn’t just watch grow up, but actually grew up alongside of. The always changing, yet comfortingly consistent part of your adult life.
The preparations are tiring and time consuming. The task oriented part of your brain begins to look forward to the completion your labors, “Just seven weeks to go,” it says.
And the rest of the brain is comforted by the news…until the slower moving emotional part catches on:
That’s when she leaves.
That’s when everything changes.
You remember earlier challenging times: diapers, tantrums, naps, and the fuzzy, unfocused wish for her eventual autonomy.
But as the moment approaches you realize you didn’t mean it. You never meant it.
And you scrape together your sanity for the fifteenth time.
And you play captain to the undisciplined mess of your emotions, calming them with a confident sounding command:
Back in the deep dark days of my childhood, before satellite, cable, or DVDs, back when even the VCR was just a gleam in some engineer’s eye, to be a science fiction fan was to be a Star Trek fan.
And for good reason.
The original Star Trek was a thing of beauty, so loaded with adventure, romance, and courage under fire, that young viewers never realized it was really an exercise in philosophy, exploring the violence, racism, and social conflict of its times.
But as deep and exciting as its storytelling often was, I think the real strength of the series was in what it didn’t tell. Unlike its successors, classic Trek usually resisted the temptation to over-explain.
As a viewer, you were always left wanting more. Wondering how transporters really worked, what powered an android, and what all those other little buttons on the console went to.
Unfortunately, starting with The Next Generation, the Star Trek franchise started shedding the adventure and wonder of its heritage and began a relentless journey deeper and deeper into its own head.
Where mystery once flirted, exposition now abounded. Every action got saddled with what seemed like hours of pseudo-scientific technobabble, to the point where roughly 25% of all available screen time got dedicated to the theoretical science behind any current crisis.
You couldn’t get fifteen minutes into an episode or feature film without one of Star Fleet’s finest saying something like,
“Maybe if we triggered a graviton pulse inversion with a double pike and served it with a side order of chronoton fluxuation in the aft sensor array, we could eventually find some action or at least return to speaking English sometime before the credits roll.”
Which brings me to my point.
Despite my earlier doubts and suspicions to the contrary, the new Star Trek movie officially rocks.
The action is back, the passion is back, and the wonder is at full strength.
This film takes the characters that we’ve loved for years, pays proper respect to their origins and motivations, and then breaks them free of the accumulated baggage and “fate” (i.e the accepted storylines of the Star Trek cannon) launching them into new and uncharted adventures.
This film has left me seriously stoked.
Final rating: Two thumbs on phasers set to “amaze.”
The last film Brent mentioned in these pages did not do so well. Check out this fair and balanced review of the most hideous waste of film ever spawned: Dragon Wars.
After nearly twenty years with The Hot Comma Momma, I have decided to make an honest woman out of her.
Already, I know a host of husbands are leaning closer to their screens; anxious to discover what manner of experimental therapy I have pioneered borrowed from Doctor Toboggans to deliver such breathtaking results.
This task, one that many would say required an army of specialists, psychiatrists, and a thorough submersion in truth serum, has been accomplished with the most unassuming of treatments: Facebook.
After untold months of godless cohabitation, our social profiles were at last joined in networking matrimony.
Here is a firsthand account of the whole affair:
I am thinking about holding the reception on Flickr or maybe Twitter.
MySpace offered to host it, and their rates are reasonable, but illiterate teenage drama gives me a rash.