My wife has never been into sci-fi which is heartbreaking because I love it. After hearing of several woman I know who generally didn’t like sci-fi, but did like the 2009 Star Trek reboot, I convinced my wife to watch it with me. My wife was a trooper. She didn’t complain, she didn’t whine, she didn’t say a thing. There was just one consistent question throughout the film: where are we now? There is an awful lot of planet hopping and time travel, not to mention two different Spocks’.. All of this can be very confusing to someone who has no real exposure to the Star Trek original series franchise. I tried to explain to my wife and keep her caught up with the plot, but it was pretty much a loosing battle. Now, my wife is very intelligent woman, but she didn’t have the interest, experience, or insight to know how to understand and interpret what was going on in the movie. Some might say, she didn’t have the hermeneutical key.
I’m sure you can understand how this applies to the church. Are our services decipherable to the newcomer? The unchurched or the lapsed-whatever?
Often times we think these problems are relegated to our brothers and sisters who are a part of the more liturgical traditions. Nay, says I! We all have “issues” in this regard. A young man once walked into the theological bookstore where I work and asked to buy a bible. But, he asked, are the old and new testaments two separate books or one? He had no clue. He didn’t know the first thing about the Bible, Jesus, etc. It was heartbreaking really (this anecdote actually happened to my wife).
Having said that, there are two tensions at play. A church that is really good at handling new comers with kid gloves and introducing them to the faith, in my experience, is often poor at helping those same people, or the people who have lots of experience, go deeper and feel stretched. This is the twin challenge of church. How do you help introduce someone to Jesus and then help those who have long walked with Him, to go deeper in their relationship with HIm and His people.
So, that’s our challenge: How do we introduce my wife to Star Trek, while keeping it interesting for a long time fan like myself?