Space and Faith

“In the car this morning on the radio, I heard this news about this 18-year-old girl being a candidate for a one-way ticket to Mars. That is such a crazy thing… to never see your family again after 18, or your friends, but by your own choice.”

My Journal, March 18, 2015

Every once in awhile, I like to look back in my journals to see where I was at this point last year. I didn’t write much on this date, but this (above) is one thing I jotted down.

Last weekend I finally got around to watching Interstellar. I did not like it. Not because it was a bad movie, but I’m realizing that I just don’t like Space. I should have figured this out when I watched Gravity earlier this year, but there were so many raves about both movies that I figured I should watch them to see what all the hype was about. Anyway (spoiler alert! and throughout the rest of this post), a good bulk of Interstellar takes place in space, and Matthew McConaughey’s character, Cooper has to make this tough decision to go on a space expedition to find a possible new world for humans to inhabit (since Earth is about to disappear). He’s not sure when he’ll return, but he holds hope that he will return (soon), to see his children, and especially his daughter. A few minutes pass in the movie, and suddenly his children on Earth are adults, the same age as him and getting older by the second (because of relativity of time in space, or something like that).

Interstellar stirred up a lot of emotions in me, especially fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of missing out, fear of being alone. I felt so distraught that Cooper missed out on so many milestones in his kids’ lives, and people that he loved passed away while he was gone. Equally as terrifying is being the one left on a dying Earth, not knowing if your dad (or loved one) is still alive since no transmissions have been received on Earth for YEARS. How do you hold out hope like that for so long?

All this fear and anxiety got me thinking about Christian faith, and how in an (imperfect) parallel, going to Space is kind of like missions work. There are a lot of mission trips that are relatively safe — we go to places and help with disaster relief or building infrastructure, or host VBS for a week, or teach English, etc. Things that aren’t really that dangerous or unknown, but may require us to get out of our everyday comforts. Then there are the “more bold” missions where you leave everything and everyone you know behind to go to a place that has extremely high crime, or a culture that is hostile to Christian faith, or into “jungles” and “wilderness” where the people you hope to reach have never interacted with people outside of their own tribes. There is no set end date, and you’re never entirely sure what you’ll encounter, but you go still, acting on faith and being obedient to the Great Commission.

I am not at that level. I would like to be one that drops everything and goes when Jesus says “follow me,” but there is a still a rich man setting up shop in my life. Too many attachments to people and places. Not that those are unimportant  (after all, God is community in himself, and likewise, we were made to be in community), but when we idolize those relationships, it becomes our downfall. Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle…

Anyway, Interstellar has been haunting my thoughts for the past week. The idea of taking that same journey terrifies me. And, this is a topic post for another time, but I keep thinking about this one scene in the movie where Anne Hathaway’s character, Dr. Brand, is talking with Cooper about being in Space and how she believes that there’s no evil there… that is until Dr. Mann (Matt Damon’s character) turns on them. Humans screw things up everywhere they go; it’s our sinful nature.

Should I bother watching The Martian? I’m not sure I want to, especially after Matt Damon’s backstabbed everyone in Interstellar!

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