Leonard Sweet & Starfleet General Order #1
I got to spend yesterday with author Dr. Leonard Sweet as he did a seminar on social media culture and the church. I live-tweeted some choice bits on my twitter so check those out. But he had one message that works totally with the Hacking Christianity crowd so I’m sharing it below.
In Star Trek, the first command given is General Order #1, “Do Not Interfere” which states that Starfleet personnel are not to interfere with the cultures of the planets they visit, or make allusions to space travel for cultures who haven’t gotten off the ground yet. Even though they fall short dozens of times (Memory-Alpha has a long list of violations, often due to Captain Kirk’s libido), the Prime Directive is one of the most important tenets of the Star Trek universe that is wrestled with in many episodes.
Reading the Bible, Leonard Sweet wondered what the first command given by God is. What is God’s “Prime Directive” for us?
- In Genesis 1, the first command is “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (1:28, NRSV).
- In Genesis 2, the other Creation story, the Human is put in the garden and told to “till and keep it” with the first command being “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden” (2:15-16, NRSV).
In light of the Prime Directive, God’s General Order #1 for us is “Do Interfere“: Do fill the earth with God’s goodness, Do bring order to the chaos, Do care for that which gives life and beauty, Do freely enjoy all of God’s Creation that we should.
As Leonard Sweet said, the Prime Directive of God is not a NO but a YES! Do Interfere, Do get your hands dirty, Do put yourself out there, Do seek justice, Do offer grace, Do all these things.
Perhaps then Holiness, or the pursuit of God’s desires for us, isn’t keeping in our ivory towers or behind clean altar rails in the church. Perhaps holiness is getting our hands dirty in the soil, getting out there, reaching out to the disordered and bringing something more to them. Perhaps holiness is reflecting on how we might best interfere with whatever our garden is. Perhaps our offer of God isn’t in the NOs but in the YESes, in the offer of God’s grace to all.
One final point: This is why I can’t stand the theology behind Praise and Worship Music. The song “Give us Clean Hands?”…I don’t think so.
I think that when we stand before God on our Judgment Day…the dirtier our hands, the better.
In what ways have you followed the command “Do Interfere” today?