Monday, February 18, 2013

Barclay and Jesus

Less Than Perfect's out of the bag. I'm a Star Trek geek. Maybe not as much as others. I haven't seen every episode of every show. I couldn't name which episode Data got the emotion chip, or name all the characters of the Star Ship Voyager (I was never much into Voyager).  I can't remember which season the Cardassian/Federation War took place.  That may not even be the name.  But Barclay does stick out in my mind.
Barclay worked in engineering with Geordi LaForge on the USS Enterprise.  He was an intelligent man, but he had his flaws.  Late for work.  A klutz.  He would stutter.  And he would oftentimes be found on the holideck living out his fantasies.  In the holideck, Barclay was the hero who saved the day, and would be the one to rescue the stunning and helpless Counselor Troi.

I could identify with Barclay.

I was reading a well-written blog. Barclay seemed to have needled the writer's nerves from the beginning, but he ended up appreciating Barclay's inclusion in the Star Trek Universe.  Jordan Hoffman saw Barclay as representing us...nerds of the universe.  Those of us who were less-than-perfect.  The ones who were never picked for the soccer team.  OK.  I was last-picked for dodge-ball.  But it still hurt. *sniff*.

Hoffman recognized that Barclay, the klutz, really didn't fit into the image of a Utopian society.  He didn't have the commanding nature of Commander Will Riker, or the empathic nature of Counselor Troi.  He certainly didn't fit the "perfect" leader of Captain Picard.  One wouldn't attach "heroic type" to Barclay's list of characteristics.  He wouldn't be found pinned up with Superman, Wonder Woman or Spiderman on our hero board.  Our ideal heroes are usually judged by their strengths and the outcome of their trials and conflicts.

Our Strong Heroes

We make certain allowances for our heroes.  If they have weaknesses or sins, those weaknesses and sins are understandable.  Even justified.  "It's society that drove him to kill," or "She wouldn't steal if she hadn't been forced into that position by the mean, evil corporations."  Once again, our heroes embody not only our own desires to overcome or rise above our trials, but reflect a little of our own darkness (albeit a small representation of that darkness).  People can go to great lengths to point out the flaws or weaknesses of a hero.  Thomas Jefferson owned slaves at a time that he protested the transporting of slaves by King George.  There's always been that rumor involving John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Look at what happened with former President Clinton and a certain intern.

How Far Do We Go?

But then we come to Jesus.

Some would term Jesus as a "good teacher".  Others would label him as a philanthropist.  He hung out with the lower people on the totem pole.  The poor.  The sinner.  The lost.  Plus, Jesus was humble.  But not much is mentioned in regards to Jesus's sins and weaknesses.  In fact, his followers emphatically insisted that Jesus was without sin.  "He made him, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf..."  Many people have difficulty with that.  They insist on bringing Jesus down to our level.  A movie, "The Last Temptation of Christ", made that effort.  It insisted that Jesus was weak like us.  That he sinned like us.

The point that the writers of the bible make is that Jesus was different.  In the words that he spoke about loving God and each other, in the miracles that were performed, and in the account of Jesus's death, Jesus was more than just a man.  In reviewing the biblical account of Jesus, C.S. Lewis once stated, "A man who was meerly a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic - on a the level with the man who says he was a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell."  Jesus said incredible things related to who he was and what God's purpose is for us.

The Challenge

Jesus continued to talk about himself as more than just a "moral teacher".  His claim was that he was the Son of God who was sent for a purpose.  "God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life."  The truth of the matter is this: Jesus was different from Plato, Socrates, Freud and Niche in his challenge to each one of us personally.  If he was who he claimed to be, the son of God, then there's no use in trying to knock him down and portray him as a weak, proud, or sinful man.  We are challenged to not change him, but to change our view of the world, of ourselves, and even our view of God.

God is not some entity who may or may not have created the world and sent it spinning on its own, making us responsible for fending for ourselves by knocking out constitutions and laws that will keep us from killing ourselves.  God is a loving father who reached down and bent the heavens that we would know Him and be changed from living selfishly for ourselves to living for God and each other.  Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

Jesus is the hero who will never let you go.  If you reach out to him, he will reach down to you and fill your heart with that life.  Will you take his hand?  The most wonderful thing about God is that He loves you and will be faithful to you.  Take the time to reach out to Him now.  Pray this prayer:

"God, I'm sorry for spending my life just living for myself.  You gave Jesus to me so that I can know true life.  Please forgive me of my sins.  I want to know you and to spend my life loving others as Jesus did.  Please come into my heart, Jesus, and wash my sins away.  Help me to obey you and walk in your love.  Thank you for your forgiveness."

A New Life

If you prayed that prayer, God has a plan for you.  He wants you to get involved in a Christian church to learn how to follow Jesus.  He wants you to spend time with Him each day praying.  And He wants you to have life in abundance.  You are loved, and God will never let you go.

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