This quarantine leaves a lot of time for the consumption of media, doesn’t it? I’m currently re-watching The Office for the fourth time and I’ve started three new shows in the past week, and I just finished season 1 of The Witcher on Netflix (highly recommended!). One show that caught my interest was Star Trek: Picard. Well, more specifically, the one-month free trial of caught my interest. Picard was more of a “someday” TV show until this quarantine meant I had nothing better to do.

Minor spoilers ahead relating to the setting and themes of Picard.

The show is critically amazing, and I’m really enjoying it so far. Sir Patrick Stewart has the same charming charisma as ever, and the show’s writing and cinematography is superb. That being said, is has come under some criticism from long-time Trek fans, mostly due to its thematic differences from Roddenberry’s original Trek. In both The Original Series and Next Generation, Roddenberry’s futuristic optimism shines through – the Federation is a shining beacon of a civilization, with a post-scarcity economy and practically Utopian ideals. Picard, however, deviates from this vision.

Set further in the future than any canonical Star Trek filmography has gone before, Picard explores a Federation whose administrative and militaristic choices have led to a more bleak, broken system than the Federation at the end of Jean Luc’s career. The future is darker in Picard, and many fans are understandably uncomfortable with this sort of Trek.

I, personally, love what Picard is exploring – both in the worldbuilding and the themes – and highly recommend you give it a go during the free trial. But I can’t help but think that Picard is simply written for a different generation that those of Roddenberry’s original audience; an audience disillusioned to the utopian ideals of post-war America and the wonders of the Space Race. True enough, the idea of a utopia hasn’t changed much, but perhaps it seems further away than it once was.

In the midst of this pandemic the idea of “utopia” is as much a thing of fiction as starships and aliens. The pandemic is growing, the economy is nose-diving, and the politicians are deadlocked. Political opportunists are blaming everyone – the “other” party, the 1%ers, the Chinese – for this pandemic while doing very little to solve the problem. Churches are no longer meeting, friends are no longer gathering, and weddings, funerals, and birthday parties are celebrated in isolation.

What’s the solution? I think some will see this pandemic as a means of reform, to restructure and build a better society. The cynics and in the crowd will say that any human system is doomed to fail. Even Starfleet had its fall from grace. Maybe there is something true underlying this understanding of the inherent flaw of human systems. Perhaps any time we try to build our Towers of Babel, we will inevitably be struck down.

This pandemic is unprecedented for our modern, globalized world. Even the pandemics of the early 20th century failed to spread so readily across the globe in the way this virus has. With such an efficient network of transportation between global population centers, it was only a matter of time.

Utopia seems further away every day, and we may never achieve that dream as a society. So take comfort in the fact that its never as bad as it could be – we are still more connected as a society now than we have ever been. Connect with friends, enjoy online small groups, play video games with online friends. Learn to hope for a time when things are better. If you’re like me, maybe you can even hope for a time when things are perfect, understanding that a perfect society requires a perfect King. Fortunately for us who believe, such a hope will not be in vain.

I hope you’re all doing well. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly. I suppose it took a global pandemic to free up enough time in my schedule to be able to write again. Even so, It’s taken me three days to write this post.

I’m glad you’re here, and I hope you’ll consider following my blog through the social media links scattered about the site and the email subscription in the sidebar. I’m going to spend the rest of the post talking about my life and everything that’s been happening since my last update, so if this doesn’t interest you, feel free to find something else to do during your quarantine!

El Museo Fernando García Ponce in Mérida, Mexico

My last “update” post was this one, made in July of last year. Before that, I was posting semi regularly starting in March 2018, which means that Wayward Wings is 2 years old! Crazy. Since July, a lot has happened, and I’m going to do my very best to explain as much of it as I can.

Firstly, and most importantly: In May of 2019 I switched my major out of Missions Aviation, the program that brought us to Spokane in the first place. The financial demand of the program (which I was anticipating from the start, but hesitant about from day one) finally manifested in the form of a bill I would not be able to afford. Simultaneously, my wife had to leave her job due to her ongoing struggle with epilepsy.

Secondly, the good news: I switched out of Missions Aviation into a program called “Integrated Ministry Studies” – a ministry-intensive Bachelor’s program that accepted many of my transfer credits from my time in the Engineering program at WVU. The program is entirely online, allowing me to work full-time while finishing my bachelor’s degree from a reputable Bible institute. I will graduate in July of this year! Around the time I entered the program (only 3 weeks after my wife lost her job), I also found employment in an office with a consistent schedule. I’m currently finishing out my last 4 classes in the program while working a steady 9-5.

Third, looking to the future: I am planning to pursue a seminary degree in the coming years, though details are fuzzy. The pace of life as a full-time employee and full time student is not easily managed, and I need a break. Ultimately, missions is a goal of ours, though my wife’s ongoing health concerns mean that long-term international residence is not possible. Last summer, we were acquainted with a great neurologist who has some actionable plans for us to be seizure-free as soon as this pandemic is resolved. We hope to be in full-time ministry at a church within the next few years, and still hope to be on the mission field domestically or internationally if given the opportunity.

Lastly, the small things: We’re involved in a few groups at our church and are making awesome relationships. We started renting a cozy 2-bedroom house. I have an office where I’m working from home during quarantine, and my wife is babysitting several days per week. All-in-all, God’s providence has been so obvious in our lives. Were it not for my move to full-time employment last May, our current situation would not be so hopeful.

Okay now, about the Blog:

The format and branding of Wayward Wings is changing slightly over the coming weeks. Hopefully you noticed the new landing page and the new logo colors. I’ll go into detail on my next post, but essentially the entire purpose of Wayward Wings has changed, and the format of the blog will need to change as a result. I’m hoping this means a more frequent and varied posting schedule. We’ll see.

Anyway, I genuinely hope to be updating you within the next week on the details, but until then – stay inside, stay healthy, and stay cool. Love you guys.

PS – this week’s picture is from our trip to Mexico, which I’ll talk about in the next post. For now, you can see this post for the full album of pictures from the trip!