Friday, October 9, 2009

Star Trek Memories: Learning from Kirk & Co., Pt. 3

Leonard Nimoy struggled with recognition when he first began playing the now-famous Mr. Spock of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The network was so concerned about Spock's 'Satanic' appearance that his eyebrows and pointed ears were airbrushed out. At one parade, he and William Shatner were sitting in a float, promoting this new show on TV called Star Trek, when the announcer proudly introduced Shatner and him as "Mr. William Shatner and Mr. Leonard NIMSY!!"

So Nimoy, already feeling the weirdness and humiliation (even from some of the stage hands) of wearing the ears, which meant he had to show up for makeup an hour before everyone else, went to Gene Roddenberry with his concerns. Roddenberry, struggling with everything else, finally told Nimoy - "Look - if the ear thing doesn't work, I swear Leonard, we'll write in a episode were Spock gets an ear job and then you can just look as normal as anyone else on the crew!"

Nimoy, assured by Gene's promise, immediately saw how ridiculous it was. He was the alien - he was HIRED to be the alien. He laughed, went back to work and began working on making Spock the character we know and love. A logical man but with deep feeling, trapped and honored at the same time by his culture. In the "Naked Time" Nimoy fought for a whole new scene where Spock would be isolated in the conference room and finally pour out his emotions. It was an insane time-crunch gamble - they had one take to get it right, due to union regulations, and that was it.

Nimoy & crew did it flawlessly -and the fan mail began pouring in.

Artistically, Nimoy fought to make an alien come alive - by showing his humanity, his flaws, his losses, his weaknesses. Knowing this, we loved the super-strong, super-smart Vulcan even more, not less.

I could talk about how we ought to be so vulnerable, but the fact is, in a fallen world, you get ridiculed and humiliated if you do - at least at the wrong time, in front of the wrong people.

But I think what Nimoy/Spock taught is that being alienated is not always a bad thing.

It may drive you to excellence. It may in fact be the reason you are where you are.

Jesus said something about not being like everyone else. He said we are to be the "salt" and "light" of the world.

Salt is a preservative and it adds flavor, life to old foods.

Light illuminates, casts out darkness, brings clarity and allows us to see where we are going.

But 'tasteless salt' and 'hidden lights' are no good whatsoever. And too many Believers - self included - think we are alienating others, when in fact, we are doing our job.

We are supposed to be aliens. We are supposed to stand out.

We are supposed to change the environments we are in.

If you are doing that, even in a slight way for God, congratulations.

If you are not, please be reminded - you are not here for any other purpose. Sure, we can airbrush you out to look normal, but you're not - and you are never going to be.

Jesus chose you to be His alien.

Be just that.


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