Where Will William Shatner Show Up Next?
I enjoyed screening the new Star Trek movie the other week. It was great seeing Spock, Kirk, Bones et al. in their more formative years, and wonderful to see Leonard Nimoy reprise his role as the “older” Spock.
Conspicuous by his absence, of course, was William Shatner. Which made me wonder … in the years since the original Gene Roddenberry Star Trek, William Shatner has shown up just about everywhere.
He was T. J. Hooker. He was (and is) the pitch guy for Priceline.com. He was (and is, if you count reruns and DVDs) Denny Crane on Boston Legal. He has his own interview show, William Shatner’s Raw Nerve.
Which led me to the question, where will William Shatner show up next? Could he become a fifth face on Mount Rushmore? Or an icon on the Corn Flakes box? Will they make a “Wii William” game, or will “Shatner’s Sautees” come to the Food Network?
As I thought about it, I wondered if William Shatner was like God. You know, omnipresent. Eternal. All that. Or did it just seem that way?
Then I got to thinking that maybe God is like William Shatner. After all, he runs a tight ship—it’s just that it’s the universe, not the U.S.S. Enterprise. (Cut to the Bible—”for He views the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens.”—Job 28:24)
He plans to interview us all some day, just not on TV. (“For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”—Romans 14:10)
And he can get us something of great value at an incredible price, only it’s not a hotel deal, but, you know, eternal life. (“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”—Isaiah 55:1)
Or maybe it is a hotel, kind of – “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”—John 14:2)
I got to thinking that God is eternal, but that not even William Shatner will be around forever. Someday, someone, somewhere, is going to say, “He’s dead, Jim.”
In fact, some day he’ll show up in God’s interview room: “Real—unscripted—intimate—my guest is William Shatner. He talks with me about his life.”
Maybe William Shatner has shown up in so many places to point us to something better than this world—a strange new world, where no one has gone before (except for Jesus—you’re reading this on the Jews for Jesus web site, what did you expect?). A world where God is the captain of our lives, our defense attorney, and the one who gets us an awesome “deal.”
If you’re tempted to say with Scotty, “I’ve never seen anything like it!” or with Bones, “Are you out of your mind!?” just beam me an email here.
Scholar in Residence, Missionary
Rich Robinson is a veteran missionary and senior researcher at the San Francisco headquarters of Jews for Jesus. Rich has written several books on Jewishness and Jesus, and he received his Ph.D. in biblical studies and hermeneutics from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1993.