Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
June 29th, 2016 by Joel Watts

Star Trek Beyond

I am excited for the newest Star Trek movie, Beyond. I enjoyed the first two — even Into Darkness. I found them fun, exciting and hopeful. Why?

I was talking about this last week and just thought I’d share. Growing up, I had to sneak to watch Star Trek. We weren’t allowed to watch television because of the fundamentalism. And to watch something like Star Trek… a place where God didn’t exist, where aliens were superbeings, and where science reigned supreme? That was blasphemous. Indeed, I remember having my life threatened — while in the hospital after surviving a terrible car accident, and yes, it was a parent that threatened — because he had found a Quantum Leap novel someone had left for me.

But Star Trek was my escape. When the ‘rents were fighting, when the situation was abusive, and when I was convinced that at 9 years old I would die and go to hell, I could escape into Star Trek. It provided a hope for something better, a time when we could explore the skies without fear and prejudices. I actually remember praying that Jesus would delay his return until after the next Star Trek movie. And yes, there is God in Star Trek — just not the sectarian variety found in fundamentalism… or postliberalism.

I know…right?

But the escapism provides something for me and in many ways, taught me developmental milestones not taught at home. I enjoyed Kirk and Spock and McCoy. I loved the moral tales. And I simply enjoyed being in the 23rd century from time to time. So, when I go and see Star Trek Beyond, I will be watching it as one who has escaped…and who one escapes.


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).


One Response to “Star Trek Beyond”
  1. Finally, someone else who admits to praying for a Trek Movie to open while The Lord delays.
    I knew we were kindred spirits, Joel. 🙂
    At one time, I also read Trek novels in the hopes I’d have Trek dreams. I had some periodic success.

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