Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long And Prosper

Each year, we have James 1:27 as a memory verse assignment and I often mention Ronnie Lane in class in conjunction. Those two details are related. None of my current students know Ronnie, which is a shame. Ronnie was an 8th grader in my class nine years ago. Health issues forced him to be home schooled during the spring semester until graduation. Nothing I can tell you about Ronnie can do him justice but I hope the following entry, from March of 2006, gives you a glimmer into the heart of this child of God. I am re-running this tonight in honor of the passing today of Leonard Nimoy, AKA Mr. Spock.

I loved Star Trek as a kid. The real Star Trek: you know, Spock and Captain Kirk, "Beam us up, Scotty!" and "Fasers on stun!" They came out with an updated version, Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987 but it wasn't the same. It's like the difference between Batman, the television show and the Batman movies. The tv show was a campy spoof while the big screen versions were dark and gloomy. Even as a child, I could tell when the original Star Trek was trying to teach a lesson in morality, something lacking in present day fare. I thought the characters tried to do the right thing in the scripts. In teaching, I use an example of an episode (Let This Be Your Last Battlefield) when the crew of the Enterprise lands on planet Cheron where all the people have faces of two colors, black and white. Those who had the right side of their face white discriminated against those who had their colors switched. It was obvious the point was the lunacy of judging a person based simply on the color of skin. Decades later, I still remember the application.

My students decorate the walls of my classroom. Sometimes, they draw pictures from the life of Jesus. Often, I simply have them write out a Bible verse in mass on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet. We use Crayola markers, only requiring the verse be written horizontally and like all artists, they must sign their name to their masterpiece. The last scripture to blanket Room 258 was Ephesians, chapter 2 and verse 10: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." Last week, it was time for new wallpaper. We used James 1:27 which serves as the theme for our work with Honduran orphans. Our kids come from all over the world so I let the students write the verses in their native language which might be Japanese, Korean, Chinese, or Espanol. One of the young men in my eighth grade Bible class is Ronnie Lane. Ronnie is unique. He is very bright, a free thinker, and usually carrying some Star Trek related book. He told me he was trying to learn Klingon, the language of the enemies of Captain Kirk and crew in the Star Trek series. Apparently in one of his books, they list the characters of the Klingon alphabet. Ronnie asked if he could write out James 1:27 in Klingon. I approved and he brought it in today. The best way to describe it is that it resembles Egyptian hieroglyphics in need of Jenny Craig. It's on the wall with all the rest. In fact, I gave it a place of honor above the center of my dry erase board. Although James 1:27 has been translated into countless dialects, this is probably its first excursion into Klingon. On the surface, the whole thing may seem silly but it took Ronnie more time to do his verse than it did anyone else. It was an interesting idea from an interesting young man. The most enduring phrase from Star Trek was Spock's Vulcan greeting, "Live long and prosper." Leonard Nimoy, the Jewish actor who portrayed Spock, ad libbed the spread fingered hand gesture from a variation of the Hebrew symbol for "Shaddai," or "Almighty God." A Biblical influence in a legendary television series- imagine that! I had no idea until I googled Star Trek stuff as I researched material for my entry. It all goes back to Ronnie, Klingon, and James 1:27. My keyboard isn't formatted for Klingon so let me leave you with James 1:27 in English. It places great emphasis on helping others AND keeping ourselves unstained by the world. That is Ronnie Lane in a nutshell.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
James 1:27

Applicable quote of the day:
"Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans."
Spock (from episode I, Mudd)

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Jon said...

I never watched Star Trek... and we won our game