Henri Nouwen and Captian Kirk

star trek badgeAfter reading Creative Ministry by Henri Nouwen, I just had to read his book The Wounded Healer. And while reading the first two chapters, something struck me. Star Trek, once again, comes in and completely exemplifies what Nouwen describes as the culture of the time.

Star Trek wants to boldly go where no one has gone before. It is the epitome of the modern experiment. By pure act of humanity, we can have it all–technology, peace, prosperity, an end to racial strife, an end to war, a beginning of happiness and an ability to do as we so please. Spock was the perfect modern man–logical, not letting emotions get the best of him. But Kirk showed what the culture was really like. He skirted authority, he took what he wanted he wanted it and he combined all he learned into his own personal philosophy which we would learn about from his captain’s personal logs.

In the first two chapters of The Wounded Healer, Nouwen talks about a dislocated generation and a rootless generation. A generation looking for a new humanity, a new wayh of doing things, a new immortality, looking for newness. And Kirk was that. He always wanted to see what was around the next bend. In the movies, he also wanted a lasting legacy. He wanted to make sure that the Enterprise kept on. That its memory lasted forever. Each time he destroyed a ship (which was almost every movie), the new ship was always the Enterprise. Always the new incarnation of the previous ship he captained.

As the show expanded into Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine Nouwen’s observations could never be more true. Nouwen states that people in the dislocated generation will take bits and pieces and make it their own spirituality. Multiculturalality became the norm. More than that, but authority was not seen as something to aspire to. Authority was with Star Fleet who was miles away in San Francisco on Earth, not in the distant planets or in the Gama Quadrant. Instead, they looked to themselves for guidance and direction.

Yes, Captain Picard lived by the Prime Directive, but he still worked as a team rather than by the authority of Star Fleet. What his crew said mattered more than Star Fleet’s commands.

In his chapter The Rootless Generation, Nouwen comments that there is a turn inward in people today. This is so true with both Kirk and Captain Sisko of Deep Space Nine. Both were introspective. They looked inward not outward for guidance. They took what they thought was the best direction for seeking the peace from inside about a decision or matter. And at times, it went horribly wrong.

There is hurting in this world. A hurting that Star Trek had tried to show could be ended by humanity alone. Nouwen states that no. Humanity can’t do it by itself. Nothing we do can end the pain we feel by being dislocated and rootless. The only one who can do that is Jesus. We turn inward and become mystics, Jesus says to follow him. We fight against authority and turn to our peers instead for insight and Jesus says to turn to him instead, our friend.

Hurting can’t be stopped. That’s something that is true. But there is the great physician. The great healer found in Jesus. It isn’t found in what we can do ourselves. It isn’t found in if we work hard enough, become introspective enough, then we can over come the pain and hurt that we feel in a dislocated rootless place. Instead, we can find comfort in a dislocated world in Jesus. We can find roots in Jesus.

Find your roots and comfort in Jesus. He can heal the pain. He can give you comfort and commitment. He can give you direction and guidance for he calls you friend.

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