Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
October 24th, 2017 by Joel Watts

Sarek’s failure at peace #StarTrekDiscovery

I’ve watched every episode of Star Trek: Discovery twice, except for the sixth. That’s only because it is Tuesday… I’ll watch it again later.

But, I wanted to just blab for a moment.

I love the series. It is stark and needful for our moment in time, as much as TOS was bright and hopeful for the 1960’s. I sort of imagine this as the Trek if Trek was written during the 1930’s.

Sarek has always been an enigmatic character. The vaunted ambassador who happened to have a half-human son in Starfleet. He is afforded many diplomatic victories in the Star Trek universe, including bringing to an end the Klingon-Federation cold war. Those of us who grew up with Star Trek know that without Sarek, the Federation would not exist. He was the ultimate peace-maker.

But, he also had his own issues with his half-human son. Was he really xenophobic? Was his personality representing the 1960’s era — and honestly, it still exists — of those with children from both color spectrums? I mean, we still hear the term miscegenation. Maybe. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, there is something of a reconciliation. If we add the series Enterprise, then the reconciliation becomes something trans-specifies.

Sarek… maybe did not like the human race. That is about what we are left with. He did not trust them and did not like his half-Vulcan son, mixing with them, even though he devoted his life — his very life as we come to understand in TNG — to securing and growing a human-dominated Federation.

With the sixth episode, Lethe, we not only get the mention of both Spock and the USS Enterprise as well as a sudden and forceful injection of metaphysics into the Star Trek universe, but we get something of an understanding of the dysfunction between Sarek and Spock. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers…

But Sarek failed his human ward but showing an unVulcan emotional preference to his son. He failed to contain his emotions and it cost him two children. The therapist in me says it most likely caused a rift between Amanda and he as well. His forward thinking faith in Spock was then thrown aside when Spock chose human Starfleet.

Sarek, the great peacemaker, the one who brought peace treaty after peace treaty to the Federation (and in reality, birthed the Federation from the fumbling beginnings) because of his enduring devotion to Surak’s order, who sacrificed so much… failed miserable as a warden and a father, and possibly as a husband.

Discovery is filling in some holes in the Star Trek universe, but it is also making for some mesmerizing science fiction — and knowing that it is the darkest right before dawn… entices me.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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