August/September 2019: To go boldly with the Minister
Yes I have previously admitted to being a ‘trekkie’ (someone who likes star trek/science fiction). Well, I have not watched any for a long time. However in between ‘cowboys and Indians in space’ which is basically what it was; upsetting other planets and eventually running rings round alien super powers, it had some interesting things to say. The future had equality, they didn’t swear; they didn’t have to worry about money or carry it; they worked with Russian crewmen and racism was no more. Writer and actress Whoopi Goldberg recalls being slapped by her mother after racing into the kitchen and shouting with joy that a black officer was working on the bridge when Star Trek first aired. The America of 1966 was not headed to such utopian destinations and the current USA seems to be dropping through a ‘space time continuum’ (repeating the past).
I mention this because the airwaves have crackled with 1969 and the first moon landing by humans. Only twenty four people have been on such missions and went far enough away from earth to see the whole planet in their sites. The films and stories have brought back a lot of memories about the Apollo Programme which later turned into the Space Shuttle. The latter had two tragedies which were avoidable and rising costs and the fact that space exploration stopped being a race closed down the money supply.
Today there is a space station with Russians providing not only crew but the ride on and off the vehicle. There is also a stream of new private companies getting into the ‘final frontier’ and many are intent on tourism and getting billionaires off our hands for a few hours/days/weeks. It’s all costing a bomb and while some things are reusable it can hardly be called green. It also contains a subtext that is spoken as a good reason for doing all this. “We may not be able to sustain life here on earth and so other avenues need to be explored.” Interpreted, one might say the geeks and the rich will inherit the earth and then leave it, and us, a wreck. NASA are currently spending on a multibillion dollar project working with Boeing to create a new space craft. Today’s projects are off the scale in cost from those Apollo days.
One can’t help thinking that spending on answers for life on earth would be more useful, more fitting, and benefit more people than this. I am not sad enough to remember scripts from science fiction like some people but I do remember in one of the later franchises of Star Trek the Captain proudly telling someone from another world about the achievement back on earth. It was roughly this, ‘we have overcome hunger and poverty for our world, we have made healthcare work for all, have a system without money that provides for what we need, pollution which nearly ended life, has been addressed.......
Perhaps we need to get our own house in order before we go whizzing off to ruin someone else’s. The BBC Life on Earth series gives a chilling view that time is running out and recent programmes about plastics show that even the deepest corner of this Earth suffers from attack from plastic. Not from aliens but from us.
Hosea 4:1-3 “Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.” Whether scientifically, politically or theologically, the world is dying by what we expect from it. It’s dying from neglect and from the unspoken thought that it only needs to outlast us. Stuff future generations!
Hosea provides a bit of a rant against the people and the priest and their sins during the interregnum following the death of Jeroboam. He was the thirteenth King of Israel and ruled about forty-one years. With him gone standards fell and everything from the clergy to harvest failed. Hosea comes to give them what for and to buck their ideas up.
So as the Amazon gets turned into beef farms and scientists weep and dance for having landed something the size of a dishwasher on some far planet perhaps Hosea should be brought back for an updated message for the nations. This is our home so we better take better care of it. Let’s make it so!