I was camping for the last few days. Yet I wasn’t disconnected from the world due to my phone, CNN and FOX News apps, and pop up updates. It was late Monday night that I learned of Robin William’s death. It was later that I learned of his dealing with depression and his subsequent suicide. News later came out concerning his dealing with the onset of Parkinson disease.
I then started getting updates of a shooting of an 18 year-old black male in Ferguson, MO and the subsequent protests and violence that has erupted since.
During this same time, I was getting updates on military and humanitarian aide being given to the Kurds and displaced Yazidi and Christians in Iraq due to the militant ISIS.
I was removed, yet connected. I was with my wife and kiddos, experiencing nature, enjoying creation, and having fun as a family. Miles away in so many directions things were happening. Sad things. Hard things. How do I process it all?
My mind wandered to sci-fi stuff. Odd, I know…well, not for me. Things in this world are often processed through literature, art, and movies (and yes, I consider most sci-fi in all these categories). Over the course of time sci-fi has helped us process the world around us–war, poverty, racism, discrimination, etc.
In the 1960’s the group X-Men debuted in the middle of nuclear fears and the Civil Rights Movement. The X-men were born with super powers. No radioactive spider. No gamma ray radiation. No cosmic radiation from spaceships. They were born that way. They couldn’t control it. They were called mutants. And over the years, the mutants have struggled against discrimination, fear, war against their own, and in a possible dystopia future, internment camps.
You had Magento, master of magnetism, who believed that the only way to protect mutants was to not only rise above human beings but to later subjugate them. Then there is Professor Charles Xavier, the most powerful telepepath in the world, who wanted to teach mutants not to fear their powers, but control them. He dreamed of a future where humans and mutants lived in peace and harmony. Time and time again, his dream was proved wrong. Yet he and his fellow X-Men held tight to that dream.
During a time of peace in the 1990’s Star Trek: Deep Space 9 dealt with racism, war, and with power struggles between nations. It looked at the problem of staying close to our morals against an enemy who seemed to have none. How little did they know that just a few years later, we as a nation, and a world, would enter into a struggle to keep our morals in battling terrorist groups who only seek the destruction of the modern world and want to bring terror. Even more so now with the reports of the ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
In the 60’s the original Star Trek tried to break the mold of racial stereotypes. It attempted to create a future where humanity had risen above racism, poverty, war, and instead pursued peace. They had the Prime Directive of Star Fleet. Kirk did his best, he really did.
What about today? We have The Avengers in the movies. Tony Stark was held hostage in Afghanistan and escaped, only to deal with PTSD in so many ways (his self-medicating drunkenness in Iron Man 2 and his anxiety attacks in Iron Man 3). Captain America went from a war with some distinct right and wrong to a world where good and evil, right and wrong are so ambiguous and there is a hard time telling who is are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Even Nick Furry who has a strong sense of justice, has a hard way of expressing it sometimes (but is played by kick-butt Samuel L Jackson who makes any role he plays awesome!). For Captain America, he is the last remnant of a world gone by where morals seemed important.
Sci-fi can handle war, it can handle dealing with the usage of technology (just because we can doesn’t mean we should says Malcolm in Jurassic Park), but even sci-fi struggles with mental health. In the DC universe, all villains go to Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. If you’re a bad guy, you must be mentally ill. In the Marvel Universe, bad guys (as well as good guys) have a back story that explains why they do what they do. But mental health, PTSD, heck, even ADHD, isn’t always dealt with.
This is a hard world we live in. This is a world broken and hurt by sin itself. The world is filled with hurting, broken people. And it breaks my heart. And it should break yours. Peace will not come…at least not right now.
Peace will come one day. All creation is groaning in pain due to the brokenness we live in. Even creation itself is waiting in eager expectation for all things to be made new again.
Jesus says “I am coming soon.” We are told that all things will be made new. There will no longer be brokenness, pain, war, racism and discrimination, depression, even ADD. All things will be made new.
And so, as I look at the world around me, look at the headlines, I say with tears and a broken heart in hopeful expectation “Come Lord Jesus, come. Come and heal this dry and weary land.” Until then, I will live out this hope and promise in where I’m at. It won’t affect the world as a whole, but it will affect the people I know.