Trektember TNG – #30: Retrospective

Well, that’s it.  We did it. Again.  (Did what?  If you missed the entirety of Trektember, click here)

This past month has been quite a ride; it was a completely different animal from last Trektember, which was also a great time and a lot of fun. This year, though, we brought in a bunch of new voices; nine authors contributed to Trektember TNG, and it was a whole lot of fun meeting and working with such excellent culture redeemers.

In a moment, I’d like to talk about my highlights of the series, but first to thank each and every one of the authors for their hard work:

Kevin C. Neece, The Gospel According to Star Trek
Mark Wingerter, Reel World Theology
Matt McKinney, POS-TOS
Mike Poteet, The Sci-Fi Christian
Mikey Fissel, Reel World Theology
Reed Lackey, More Than One Lesson/The Fear of God Podcast
Ryan Earnhart, Redeeming Culture
David Lichty, Redeeming Culture
David Atwell, Redeeming Culture

Thank you all for your excellent work.

Highlights

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  • I really enjoyed participating in the Reel World Theology/Redeeming Culture crossover podcast, which was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to geek out about all of the Trek we really enjoy.
  • My favorite episode in all of The Next Generation is “Darmok,” and I really love what Reed Lackey did for the piece. I loved every piece that was submitted for Trektember, but this one holds a special place in my heart because it is my favorite episode.
  • Of course, who can forget David Lichty’s well-researched and thoughtful “Trek Backstory” articles. I had a lot of fun editing and reading them, and I learned quite a bit about TNG while marveling at the parables David was able to pull in so seamlessly.
  • The most surprising episode for me was actually Mike Poteet’s take on “Skin of Evil.” I’ve always thought that Tasha Yar’s death was senseless and meaningless; but Mike really challenged that idea, and I was surprised by that.
  • I also have to call out Mark Wingerter’s 4-article piece on Reel World Theology about “The Tapestry of TNG.” It’s a brilliant 4-part piece about the effect and purpose of TNG.

What I Learned

Trektember TNG, and the Star Trek rewatching which it forced me to do, helped me to realize that just how much of my life and worldview was influenced by The Next Generation. Its focus upon hope and upon examining concepts are things I’ve absorbed as part of my core interaction with culture. Its uniquely optimistic view of the future and strong belief in amazing possibilities, existential examination of the simplest concepts, and thoughtful subtlety have also influenced what I expect from my fiction and how I see the world.

It really was a formative piece of fiction for me. Thanks for showing it to me, mom and dad.

Furthermore, I’ve learned that TNG is always about something. While that may seem obvious, in the world of sci-fi, it’s not; Trek tackles some different and really difficult concepts from a different point of view. Some sci-fi shows dive all-in to the power of the genre to excite and titillate, but TNG pushes the envelope philosophically by making sure that the episodes are always touching upon some real element of humanity. Watching so many episodes in a small chunk of time really makes it clear.

What I Wish We’d Gotten To

I really wish we’d had time to take a look at the House of Mogh trilogy: “Sins of the Father,” “Reunion,” and “Redemption I and II.” I think there’s a lot of great topics and ideas to pull out of there. It would also have been nice to do “Timescape,” one of my other favorite episodes. “Sarek,” “Conundrum,” “Remember Me,” and “Clues” are also big episodes that had to be left out because of our time constraints.

Still, never say never.

What’s next?

A normal October. No more Star Trek. Next Wednesday, Ryan is going to talk to us about a Netflix original movie. Maybe sometime soon we’ll talk about Star Trek: Discovery, or even The Orville!

And next September?

Well, the sky’s the limit.

Thanks for reading Trektember on Redeeming Culture; really, from the bottom of my heart. All of us involved in the event hope that you’ve gained from this some perspective, and see Christ more deeply. Let us press on to know the Lord who put the desire for the galaxy into our hearts.

May you all live long and prosper, and make it so.

• • •

David Atwell is the founder and editor of Redeeming Culture (alongside his co-editor Ryan) and a Trekkie from his earliest years; you can also hear him on the 3D Podcast, as well as in the special guest spot on Reel World Theology’s Star Trek episode. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and children.

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2 thoughts on “Trektember TNG – #30: Retrospective

  1. David – Thanks for organizing this great month of Trek talk, and for inviting me to be a part of it!

    Your take on “Cause and Effect” was one of my favorite pieces this month. Made me think of that great line from Luther’s “Mighty Fortress” – “One little word shall fell him.” 🙂

    I’m looking forward to seeing what Redeeming Culture’s future holds (and if, when the time comes to talk “Discovery,” you’re looking for another voice to add to the mix, please keep me in mind!).

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