Tag Archives: Babylon 5

In Praise of the Geeky Wife

A wife of geeky character who can find? She is worth far more than gold-pressed latinum.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks no season of Doctor Who.

She brings him buffs, not de-buffs, all the days of her life.

She grinds mats and rep and works with eager hands.

She is like Cyrano Jones, bringing her tribbles from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and healing potions for her guildies.

She considers an expansion pack and buys it; out of her earnings she buys comic books.

She sets about her work vigorously; the Force is strong with her (but without the midichlorian thing).

She sees that following the Rules of Acquisition leads to profit, and her lava lamp does not go out at night.

In her hands she holds the bat’leth and grasps the tricorder with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the noobs and extends her hands to the nerdy.

When the Shadows return to Z’ha’dum, she has no fear for her crew, for she is allied with the First Ones.

She makes Starfleet uniforms; she is clothed in command red (TNG>TOS).

Her husband is respected at Comic-Con, where he takes his seat among the gamers.

She makes die-cast models and sell them, and supplies the comic shops with figurines.

She is clothed with the slave Leia metal bikini; she can laugh at the Days of Futures Past.

She speaks Buffyspeak, and she can kill you with her brain.

She watches every zombie film and does not eat the flesh of the living.

Her children arise and call her shiny; her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things, but no power in the ‘verse can stop you.

Bow ties are cool, and the Star Wars prequels are awful; but a woman who boldly goes where no one has gone before is to be praised.

Give her the fourth pip she has earned, and let her works bring her praise on ‘teh interwebs’”.

Biblioblog Carnival February 2012

It’s a port of call, a home away from home, for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs and wanderers. A shining beacon on the internet, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it’s our last best hope for peace. The year is 2012. The name of the place is The Biblioblogging Carnival.

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Ranger One/Valen/Sinclair — Barth, Barth and More Barth
“There was a saying on Mimbar, anyone who wanted to get a straight answer out of Ranger One was to look at every reply in a mirror while hanging upside down from the ceiling.” “Did it work?” “Oddly enough, yes! Or after a while you passed out and had a vision. Either way the result was pretty much the same.”

Travis McMaken posts the abstract for his completed dissertation on Infant Baptism after Barth. Kait points us to Barth on the Freedom of Theology. She also looks at Barth and Oppression. What would Barth say about Tim Tebow? Andrew Browne reflects on how he fell in love with theology. Darren looks at Van Til’s critique of Barth. This was followed up by a post by David Congdon on Barth and actualistic ontology.
And, of course, we can’t forget Daniel Kirk’s weekly interactions with Barth: one, two, three and four.

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Theology:
Sheridan: (playing a game of chess with Theo) Concentrate all you want, there’s nowhere you can go.
Brother Theo: I’d expect a comment like that from someone with no clearly defined pattern of faith.
Sheridan: I believe in a little of everything. I’m an eclectic. Open minded.
Brother Theo: Rudderless, directionless, cast adrift without compass, on an ocean of ecclesiastical possibilities. Tossed by the winds this way, that way…
Sheridan: Oh, I’m hearing a lot of talk and you still haven’t made a move!
Brother Theo: Your Ambassador Delenn has a wonderful phrase: Faith manages. Check. And I do believe, mate.

Tripp and Bo introduce Process Theology to the readers of Rachel Held Evans blog. Julie Clawson asks her own questions about Process Theology.
Carson Clark asks the age-old question Was Calvin a Calvinist?
Brian Gronewoller looks at Polycarp and the idea that Christians shouldn’t explain Christianity.
Daniel McClellan contemplates conceptualizations of theological boundaries and the prototype theory.

A look at freewill and biology.

Rod talks about the theological and cultural significance of the mission of the Trinity. The trek through the top 10 theologians continued over at Parchment and Pen with #1 being Augustine.
Allan Bevere writes that our God is too small. Ken Schenck on why we need theology. C. Michael Patton looks at the doctrine of the Trinity. Brian LePort asks whether Oneness Pentecostalism is the same as Modalism.

Hermeneutics & Interpretation:
Leslie Keeney works toward a Christocentric hermeneutic. Andrew’s writes on the clarity or otherwise of Scripture.

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Church History:

Church historians are like Delenn, who can’t seem to explain anything without starting off with “A thousand years ago…”

Greg Boyd writes that the most tragic event in history was Constantine’s victory. Sheila McGinn reflects on God’s “tenting” and church schisms. James McGrath tackled the way mythicists misrepresent historians and also points us to an online bibliography of Syriac Christianity.

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The Book of G’Quan — Old Testament:

“Do not thump the book of G’Quan. It is disrespectful.”
Steven Leckvold compares how Augustine and Chrystosom read Genesis 1 & 2. David Miller talks about teaching his youngest Hebrew student. Jason asks where Cain’s wife came from. Jeremiah points to an early non-literal reading of Genesis 1. Bob MacDonald examines Jonah 1. Brian LePort points us to a Aramaic learning resource. RJS asked when was Genesis written and why. Theophrastus discusses how translators and publishers have treated Targum Onkelos versus Septuagint Pentateuch.

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The Book of G’Kar — New Testament:
“Well, if the book is holy and I am holy, then I must help you become closer to the thoughts of the universe. Put your face in the book.” [slam!]
Tim Henderson spends some time working through Michael Licona’s ‘The Resurrection of Jesus’: one, two, three, four, five. Nijay Gupta asks whether the world needs another commentary on Colossians?
Did you see the blog tour for Daniel Kirk’s “Jesus I have Loved, But Paul?” Collin Hansen interviews Peter O’Brien about the warning passages in Hebrews. Monica Coleman takes another look at Mary and Martha.

Michael Gorman posts a few paragraphs from his upcoming work on the Mission of God in the writings of Paul.
RJS starts the conversation about Peter Enns’ latest book, by looking at how Paul referred to Adam.

Kevin DeYoung looks at the 144,000 in Revelation. Matthew Montonini looks at Jesus’ emotion in Mark 3:5. Preston Sprinkle gives us a good introduction and overview of The New Perspective On Paul. James Crossley examines a fascinating interview between Craig Keener and Michael Liconaon in which they explore racism in New Testament studies. Suzanne McCarthy continues her examination of Junia with a look at the use of episemos in Psalms of Solomon.

Mike Bird looks at Galatians 1:4. Claude Mariottini offers an excerpt from his entry on ‘fear’ in the Holman Bible Dictionary. Brian LePort on proskuneo in Matthew. Jeremy Rios looks at Matthew 24. Bill Mounce on how a comma makes a world of difference. Rod looks at the similarities between Plutarch, the NT and the Church Fathers.

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Interplanetary Expeditions — Archaeology:

“Exploring the Past to create a better future”
Several posts about The Talpiot Tomb from around the blogosphere can be found here, here, here and here. A new fragment of the book of Romans has been found.

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Futuristic Monks — Book Reviews:
“Faith and reason are the shoes on your feet. You can travel further with both than you can with just one.”

Nijay Gupta writes about how much of the book to read before you write a review. Stephanie Lowery reviews ‘The Church and Development in Africa.’ James White critiques Roger Olson’s portrayal of Calvinism in his newest book, ‘Against Calvinism.‘ Brian LePort reviews ‘The Torah’. Nick Norelli reviews Craig Keener’s commentary on Romans.
James Pate works his way through Ben Witherington’s ‘Jesus the Sage’ one, two, three, four. Todd Miles reviews Keith Johnson’s Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism: An Augustinian Assessment.
John the Lutheran interacts with Terry Eagleton’s new book on New Atheism.

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Academics — The Same in Any Era:


“You do not wish to know anything. You wish only to speak. That which you know, you ignore, because it is inconvenient. That which you do not know, you invent.”

The Best Footnote Ever.

Marc Cortez provides info on how bad the job market is for PhD-holders. E-books don’t save students much money. Bradley Wright explains why he would rather research than publish. How to survive a postgrad program. Brad writes about how to cultivate a Sabbath rest for those in academia (grad school). Jason Staples writes about how he has changed how his tests his NT students. Roland Boer has been providing a hilarious list and description of “Types of Scholars.”

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Interstellar Network News — Politics and Culture:

“A no-holds-barred look at the events of today that will shape the world of tomorrow.”

TC Moore writes about the seduction of politics. Not being a fan of football, I largely ignored the 316 hoopla about Tim Tebow. Here is one post about Tebowing.

A youtube video made the rounds about being cool with Jesus but not with religion. Several people have chimed in. Of note, check out Dane Ortlund’s reflection, where he asks if these analyses and critiques of the video are nitpicking. The Jesus and Religion video guy responds to Kevin DeYoung.

Travis McMacken and David Congdon write an open letter to the editors of Christianity Today regarding an article in the latest issue on Christians and politics. Roger Olson suggests it is time to throw out the ‘Right-Middle-Left’ Spectrum. Allan Bevere chimes in and says that Olson’s suggestion applies not just to evangelicalism, but also to politics in general.

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Shadows vs. Vorlon — Complementarianism/Egalitarianism:

They’ve fought so long that they’ve stopped respecting each other’s viewpoints and so entrenched in their own rightness that they’re willing to destroy entire planets to prove that they’re right.

Roger Olson offers a critique of extreme complementarianism. Later Olson argues that complementarianism “is an open door to abuse and idolatry.” Rod offers some thoughts in light of Roger Olson’s post on Gender and Feminism.

Kait Dugan looks at the Trinity and Gender Inclusive Language. Brian LePort considers the image of woman in Genesis 1 &2. Leslie Keeney has a word for women who feel called to Christian academia.

Jon Coutts asks who are the daughters of Zelophehad today? He also suggests that the labels ‘complementarian’ and ‘egalitarian’ hinder the ongoing conversation. Josh writes about Strategic Advice for Egalitarians. Derek Ouellette is going to continue to wrestle through the egalitarian/comp debate, trying to take into account his post conservative sensibilities.

Scot Mcknight points us to an article by Nijay Gupta on the role of Deborah in contemporary discussions of women in ministry. Tim Challies reflects on Mutual Submission. Matthew Tan looks at First-Wave, Second-Wave and Standpoint feminism. Preston Yancey writes about his journey through the comp/egal debate. Frank Viola writes about God’s view of women.

You know what, on second thought, maybe the comp/egal debate is not so much Vorlons vs. Shadows as it is Drazi vs. Drazi: Green must fight purple. Purple must fight green.

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We Have ‘Six’ — Mark Driscoll’s ‘Real Marriage’:

“You see, we have six, ah… we have six, you see, and each one is a different level of intimacy and pleasure. So, you know, first you have one, and that’s naa-naa. Then there’s two… and by the time you get to five it’s a heehaa-heehaa.”

Rachel Held Evans. The Friendly Atheist. Denny Burk. David Moore. Internet Monk.
Books and Culture. Doug Wilson. Matthew Lee Anderson’s two part review: here and here. The best review of the book has to be Eugene Cho’s.

And then the brouhaha continued after Driscoll gave an interview on a British radio station.

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The League of Non-Aligned Worlds — Conference Announcements and Calls for Papers:

Jim Linville announces the Research in Religious Studies conference at the University of Lethbridge. Paul in Conversation. Jesus Conference announcement. Frank Emanuel announces the call for papers for the next meeting of the Canadian Theological Society. Pastorum Live conference in June.

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Zocalo — Miscellaneous:
“Zocalo is a human word. It’s from one of their southern continents. I think it means great marketplace.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ben Witherington whose daughter passed away on January 11th at the age of 32.

Kevin ponders the difference between urban and rural religious landscapes. Adam McLane talks about how youth ministry is flatlining. Gavin Ortlund offers some thoughts on ‘Mere Christianity.’ Frank Viola looks at the four streams within evangelicalism. Richard Flory looks at research about how going to church influences our lives. Joel interviews Allan Bevere. Thabiti looks at blackness and whiteness.

Leslie suggests that our definition of a successful ministry is problematic. The crew over at Black, White and Grey point us to their top 11 religion research stories. They also look at the question of how many Americans are Atheist. J.K. Gayle provides an analysis of how Martin Luther King used Bible in his civil rights speeches.

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The Biblioblog Carnival changed the future and it changed us. It taught us that we have to create the future or others will do it for us. It showed us that we have to care for one another, because if we don’t, who will? And that true strength sometimes comes from the most unlikely places. Mostly, though, I think it gave us hope, that there can always be new beginnings. Even for people like us.

Good Portrayals of Pastors in Television

[For the previous installment see: Bad Portrayals of Pastors in Television]

The inspiration for this series of posts comes from watching a DVD set I got for Christmas. I’ve been watching The Good Wife (Season 1) and I love it! The complexity and nuances are fantastic, and the characters are engaging. In relation to this post in particular, I have been struck by the storyline surrounding Pastor Isaiah Easton.
Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), the fallen States Attorney, is attempting to launch an election campaign to win back his position that he had to leave in disgrace. As he and his team of strategists come up with “the plan,” they realize that he is polling very poorly among African-American women. The best way to win their support: gain a public endorsement from a high profile pastor in the African-American community (or at least a photo-op). Pastor Isaiah surprises Florrick, his team of strategists and the audience by not being a political toy. He says flat-out that Peter has sinned, his life is in shambles, he needs Jesus (!), and he needs to work on his marriage. Pastor Isaiah becomes Peter’s spiritual mentor, which shocks and angers Peter’s family (e.g., when Peter’s mother confronts Pastor Isaiah and adamantly tells him that her son is not a bad man). I was so impressed with the writing and characterization of Pastor Isaiah. The writers did not make him out to be a pansy, to be lily-livered, or a political opportunist. Pastor Isaiah is a decent, upstanding man, who desires to serve his congregation and the Kingdom. As I finished season one (and look forward to season two) I still can’t believe that the writers had the courage to write a pastor who is actually a pastor, firm on his convictions and wanting to be an instrument of reconciliation.

Here are some other “good portayals” of pastors in television:

Brother Theo — Babylon 5

Brother Theo and the brothers of his order live on Babylon 5 and are attempting to learn all they can about God by studying the various alien religions. Brother Theo and his brothers are the perfect example of bi-vocational pastors. They all have training in “secular” fields, particularly science, tech and mathematics, and use their talents to serve and fund their spiritual pursuits. Brother Theo is a loveable curmudgeon. He doesn’t like the raucous music of the Baptist preacher who visits the station, and prefers worship to be reverent and ordered, and yet as he complains he has a twinkle in his eye. Brother Theo embodies the Christian virtue of forgiveness, particularly in embracing a new brother to the order who, prior to having his mind wiped by court order, murdered one of the brothers of the order in an act of vengeance.

Mike Weber — Soul Man

Soul Man was a short-lived television series (spin-off of Home Improvement if I recall) that focused on the life of Mike Weber, a widowed Episcopal priest. He attempts to balance work and life, with of course the trappings of traditional sitcom television. What I appreciated about this pastor is that the writers did a good job of showing that a pastor is not a “stuffed collar.” Weber is not cloistered and out of touch with the world. He is a father. He is a lover of motorcycles and Blues Brothers music :). He has a sense of humour and isn’t afraid to let it show in the pulpit. It is his life and his calling and he enjoys being able to serve his congregation. The “good” message of this show: Being a pastor isn’t boring and isn’t for boring people.

Shepherd Book — Firefly

Okay, some might argue that there was not enough time in the short-lived series to find out the scoop on Shepherd Book, but there were definite hints. Shepherd Book appears to be searching for something, or even running away from something. He has a mysterious past that gives him skills that a shepherd doesn’t usually have (e.g., weapons knowledge) and credentials that give him respectability far beyond a simple shepherd. And there seems to be a sense that he is having a crisis of faith. In the pilot episode, Book finds himself confessing his insecurity and doubt not to another pastor, but to Inara, the “Companion.” It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had the show not been canceled (stupid Fox) and the interplay between Shepherd Book and Captain Tight-pants, who appears to have lost his faith after the battle at Serenity Valley, could have been explored.

Vedek Bareil — Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Bareil sacrifices his chance at becoming Kai (Pope of the Bajoran religion) in order to protect the reputation of the previous Kai, allowing people to think that he was a collaborator with the Cardassians during the occupation. In contrast to Vedek Winn, who would become Kai, Bareil puts other people and the spiritual interests of Bajor ahead of his own personal gain. He acts as mediator between disputing parties, and after a life-threatening accident, refuses treatment so that he can complete the peace negotiations with the Cardassians, even taking dangerous medications that would prolong his chances of completing his mission, which would do irreparable harm to his body.

Tomorrow’s post: Awesomely Evil Pastors in Television.

Too Much Religion in Science Fiction?

Tiffany Vogt over at Airlock Alpha has an article up suggesting that current science-fiction is short on the science and too long on religion. Citing Lost, Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, she suggests that religion can be an element, but not the overarching theme:

Angels, purgatory, limbo and monotheistic/polytheistic religious wars -– each has its place in science-fiction, but they are merely an element. They should not be the core of a science-fiction story. Relying too heavily on these elements in the place of true science-fiction only serves to alienate the very audience that such shows seek to engage…It is time to get science-fiction back on track. Where is the science? In today’s sci-fi, we want to be challenged by the possibilities of what lies ahead if such things as time travel, alternate universes, alien life and the rise of artificial intelligence come to fruition. Give us more of that.
That is, after all, what science-fiction is truly about. We want to see Cylons and smoke monsters. Do not kill the science in “science-fiction.”

Now I will admit that my sci-fi tends towards the Star Trek Universe, Babylon 5 (and its spin-offs) and Firefly, so I can’t comment directly on Lost or BSG. But I do think that Tiffany is missing the fact that alot of sci-fi has at its core religious themes.

Good sci-fi looks at questions about humanity: What is good and evil? What is the soul? How do we learn to get along with each other? What is the afterlife? What is sin? What is death? What is the good life?


True, Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek was pretty atheistic, but have you noticed that the less Roddenberry had direct control over the franchise, the more elements of religion were explored? It started with Star Trek: TNG (think about Worf and the Klingon religion, particularly the episode where Kahless, the Messiah of Kronos, returns), and hit full-tilt with DS9 and Captain Sisko being practically a god to the Bajoran people (he was emissary to the prophets aka the “worm-hole aliens”).


Babylon 5, written by J. Michael Straczynski, has religious themes and elements all throughout the show. From different species, cultures and religions having to learn to get along through channels of diplomacy (the whole reason for the creation of the Babylon 5 station), to explorations into the nature of the soul (Delenn being attacked by the soul-hunter), to the ultimate battle of order versus chaos (Vorlons versus the Shadows, a direct reference to the Babylonian creation myth and the entire reason that JMS used the name “Babylon” for the series), Heck, Captain John Sheridan is accused of having a Messiah-complex, and Commander Sinclair becomes Valen, the spiritual leader of the Minbari.


Firefly, though cut short by the evil suits at Fox, had some beginning strands of religious themes. Captain Reynolds was a religious man, but after the battle of Serenity Valley, became hard towards any notion of God. A Shepherd (like a monk) joins the crew and questions his faith and why he exists. River and Simon are strung up to be burned at the stake by a conservative religious planet because River has the gift of second-sight and must therefore be a witch. (No word on whether or not she had turned anyone into a newt.)

All of these shows, while having lots of futuristic technology, aliens, transporters and space ships, had at their core an analysis of humanity. And religion plays a big role in how humanity thinks, behaves and feels.

Add to that the many classic novels that have had religion at their core, like Niven and Purnelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye and especially Frank Herbert’s Dune, and the notion that good sci-fi should be nonreligious becomes increasingly unsupportable.

In response to questions about the themes of religion in B5, Straczynski said this:

If you look at the long history of human society, religion — whether you describe that as organized, disorganized, or the various degrees of accepted superstition — has always been present. And it will be present 200 years from now… To totally ignore that part of the human equation would be as false and wrong-headed as ignoring the fact that people get mad, or passionate, or strive for better lives.

So I’m all for fire-fights and Borg invasions; I’m all for clone wars and snazzy technology that we in the 21st century can only dream of. But to deny the “heart” of science-fiction is to make these shows nothing more than a chance for CGI departments to experiment with visually stimulating special effects. Sci-fi that doesn’t look at questions of humanity, including religious themes is nothing more than “sound and fury signifying nothing.”