A couple of weeks after the start of the Persian Gulf war, I was scheduled to preach at Sojourners Community's worship. The text I had chosen came from 1 Corinthians. For several weeks our sermons had focused on the Gulf crisis, so I decided I would preach on something else. By way of introduction, however, I wanted to demonstrate the slowness of communications in Paul's day, such as with our morning's epistle, compared to CNN's live telecasts of missiles exploding over Baghdad.
I took a break from my sermon preparations to watch an episode of Star Trek (created by Gene Roddenberry). Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation now come on 17 times each week in the Washington, DC area, so you can take a lot of breaks from sermons, or whatever else you're doing, to watch Star Trek.
To my delight one of my favorite episodes, "Bread and Circuses," was on. The Enterprise was investigating Planet 892-IV, an amazingly 20th-century, Earth-like planet where the Roman Empire never crumbled and televised gladiator fights appeared nightly in prime time, complete with advertisements for Jupiter cars and polls measuring audience ratings.