Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Feed My Sheep


Space... the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Captain's log, Stardate 1312.4. We’re headed to the Conference of Alderaan, on a diplomatic mission to negotiate a peace treaty between two warring factions of the Federation.

Sulu: Captain, we’re in orbit around Alderaan.

Kirk: Very good, Mr. Sulu. Spock, Bones…you’re with me. Scotty, beam us down to the coordinates. You have the helm.

Scotty: Aye, aye, sir!


Kirk: Are you sure these are the right coordinates, Mr. Spock? It looks like old pictures of Vatican City

Spock: According to my tricorder, this is not the planet Alderaan.

McCoy: So where are we?

Spock: The planet appears to be identical to earth.

Kirk: Where on earth?

Spock: Where Geneva used to be, before global cooling turn the town into a glacier.

McCoy: But wasn’t Vatican City located in Rome?

Spock: It is rather odd.

Kirk: How did we get here?

Spock: Possibly a transporter malfunction.

McCoy: You mean, this might be an alternate universe?

Spock: Insufficient data to say for sure. But that’s a working hypothesis.

McCoy: If that’s the case, how do we get back home?

Spock: Nothing we can do at our end, Doctor. But Mr. Scott may be able to reverse the process if he can trace the source of the problem.

Kirk: Well, no point standing around. We are here to explore strange new worlds.

Spock: Permit me to remind you of the Prime Directive, Jim. We can observe, but we can’t interfere.

Kirk: The Prime Directive be damned! I’m not Jean-Luc Picard!

McCoy: Even so, we’ll need to do something with those pointy ears of his. They do stand out.

Kirk: Yes, we have to secure some local attire to blend in.


Kirk: Spock, have you found out what year this is?

Spock: Difficult to be precise. Clearly preindustrial. I would estimate some time in the sixteen century, if we use earth history as our frame of reference. However, history took a different turn on this planet.

Kirk: We need more information.

Spock: Perhaps we can pose as a catechumens.

McCoy: Pose as what?

Spock: A catechumen, Doctor. If I know my earth history, a catechumen was a baptismal candidate who underwent religious instruction.


Knox: So you say you’re from a place called Suriname?

Kirk: Yes, padre. We’re pilgrims from a strange land, seeking to learn about the true religion.

Knox: Well, my boys, you’ve come to the right place!

McCoy: And what place have we come to, exactly!

Knox: Geneva!

Spock: Could you fill us in on the history of Geneva, padre?

Knox: Well, me laddies, to make a long story short, St. Peter founded the Kirk of Geneva in the first century. And his successors, beginning with Pope Calvin I, have handed down the deposit of faith from their time until our own.

Spock: What is the deposit of faith?

Knox: The usual. Things like sola fide. Limited atonement. Double predestination. In brief, what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.

Kirk: Where can we learn more about the deposit of faith?

Knox: In the canons and decrees of the five ecumenical councils.

McCoy: Which are?

Knox: The Council of Heidelberg, in 325. The First Council of Dordt, in 381. The Second Council of Dordt, in 431. The Council of Basel, in 451. And the Council of Westminster, in 553.

Kirk: Do all of you believe alike?

Knox: We used to—for the first 1500 years of Christendom.

McCoy: What happened?

Knox: The Great Schism, when a monk by the name of Robert Bellarmine nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of St. Peter’s Kirk.

McCoy: What was in the Ninety-Five Theses?

Knox: All manner of theological innovations—like Penance, Purgatory, Indulgences, the sacrifice of the Mass, the veneration of the saints, &c.

Spock: Do these schismatics still reside in Geneva?

Knox: No, after they broke with Mother Kirk, they migrated to Rome—where they propagate their damnable heresies!

Kirk: You mean they have no hope of salvation?

Knox: Not a glimmer! As Pope Turretin III stated in Unam Sanctam, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Genevan Pontiff. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and Calvinistic Kirk. The ark of Noah and the pillar of truth. In her there is one Lord, one faith, one shorter catechism. Outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles proclaims: “One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her.”

This is the tunic of the Lord, the seamless tunic, which was not rent but which was cast by lot. Therefore, of the one and only Mother Kirk there is one body and one earthly head: the Vicar of Christ, consisting of Peter and his successors—Calvin, Beza, Voetius, Gomarus, Spanheim, Twisse, Turretin, Owen, Edwards, Hodge, Cunningham, Kuyper, Bavinck, Warfield, Vos, Hoeksema, Piper, &c. For the Lord said to St. Peter: “Tu es Petrus,” and “Pasce oves meas.”

Spock: About this breakaway church in Rome…

Knox: It’s not a church, it’s a sect!

Spock: I stand corrected. But about this sect in Rome, can you tell us…

Knox: Egad! They’re vanishing before me very eyes! Witchcraft!


Scotty: Glad to see you back, Captain! For a moment there I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep a lock on the away team. Where were you? What was it like?

Spock: It was a most fascinating experience, Mr. Scott.


  1. Funny and it does sting. But is this your way of contributing to the brehaha over Scott Mcknight's blurb to NT Wrights new book? The commen about out reforming the reformers or something?

  2. No, it's unrelated to the McKnight kerfuffle, although I am aware of that via JT's blog.

  3. Is there any hope for the schismatics to be saved, through "invincible ignorance"?

  4. John Bugay said...

    "Is there any hope for the schismatics to be saved, through 'invincible ignorance'?"

    Not in the parallel universe that Spock, Kirk, and McCoy briefly visited, although there may be another parallel universe where that's the case. It gets to be a bit disorienting to zip back and forth between one parallel universe and another. Give me a chance to lie down and clear my head.

  5. This topic flew right over my head. I guess you had to be there.

  6. I don't mean to nitpick, strike that I do, but Kirk being from TOS wouldn't have known about Picard who was from NextGen especially if this was in the original five year voyage.

    Live Long and Prosper.


    "I don't mean to nitpick, strike that I do, but Kirk being from TOS wouldn't have known about Picard who was from NextGen especially if this was in the original five year voyage."

    A lot of humor depends on incongruity. In this case, an editorial aside by a character who is dropping out of character—in saying something only the audience (outside the confines of the story) would be in a position to appreciate.

  8. Ruby Red said...

    “This topic flew right over my head. I guess you had to be there.”

    The point of the story is that high churchmen assign an artificial importance to the chronology of ideas, to the historic order in which an idea is introduced. If it’s earlier it must be truer. I’m illustrating the arbitrary character of this valuation. There are possible worlds in which the history of ideas follows a different sequence.