So I’ve clearly reneged on this whole “regular blogging thing,” which is something I wondered would happen. I’ll permit myself a personal explanation: part of the purpose of this blog was to provide a creative, productive outlet while I spent the summer up in suburbia, looking for work and discerning next steps. Since that next step is clear, maybe the impulse to blog, to forge a productive outlet, simply weakened. Or maybe I just got tired of making the same old theological critique of modern optimism and postmodern pessimism. I also took a July break from (almost) everything Star Wars, just to detox and cleanse my palate a bit.
For those who may not know, my next step will be taken two weeks from today, when I get on a plane bound for Edmonton to join Ascension House, a 10-month intentional community run by the Anglican diocese. Along with communal prayer and meals, I’ll be doing a parish placement as part of discerning a call to some form of ordained ministry. It’ll be a bit of a return to full-time life in Churchland, but I imagine not quite to the same extent as studying theology at the TST. Or if the same extent, it’ll certainly be different, getting to the nuts and bolts of parish life even more than I have thus far.
After the 10 months, things are somewhat open-ended. There’s a good possibility that I’ll stay in Edmonton, especially if the bishop and diocese want me around (and are willing to employ me to that end). This means that my time in the GTA and southern Ontario might be ending, maybe for good.
Endings. I spent the last month or so rewatching probably my favourite series ever, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. I didn’t intentionally connect watching this show with the reality of my imminent end (in Toronto), but maybe it was subconscious. BSG is primarily a story of ending: the end of a civilization intentionally identical to ours, the end of the assumptions that undergirded that civilization, and in a way the ending of a clear good-guy/bad-guy narrative conceit in entertainment fiction.
The striking thing about this show 10 years removed is that it emerges out of Trek’s space-protagonist paradigm without perfectly shedding it. Individual episodes resolve. Actions are deemed ethical or unethical, and the consequences are felt. In the end, deception is itself shed and peace and hope are “given a chance.” Maybe this is where people feel the show jumped the shark: when people started acting like good guys, and actually meant it. (Or maybe it was that whole thing about Starbuck’s song leading everyone home, which I’ll concede doesn’t make much sense. Or maybe the whole New Caprica thing? I doubt that somehow). In the end, Moore and co. didn’t “remake science fiction” by completely discarding the possibility of happy endings, but by taking the responsibility for happy endings out of the hands of those we assume would make them happen. We are given a positive payoff despite all the selfish politics, the xenophobic distrust, the violence, deception and turmoil. Humanity is saved despite itself and the technologies it creates in its own image.
Such endings are therefore only “ambiguously happy.” Maybe all good endings are, since they require us to leave things behind in order to embrace such endings: “bittersweet” is perhaps a better word. They are happy endings partly because they are also new beginnings, if not always explicitly so. Death is even a new beginning, possibly just in the memory of others, but also in the Age to Come through the unassailable Hope of Christ’s Resurrection. New beginnings on the scale experienced by the characters in BSG still required them to take their whole selves through a transition to a new form of living, requiring them to retain their experiences, desires and beliefs, even as even these underwent change. The new beginning experienced on my scale will certainly require me to continue much of what has come before: I will of course bring my theological training and seminary and liturgical experiences to bear in a new parochial and communal context.
I also have no intention of ending this blog (I will hopefully even get back to some more regularity, time permitting), and I will generally continue the deeper investment into genre fiction that I’ve made over the past year or so. I sadly won’t be able to attend Fan Expo Canada, but I’ve already found the Edmonton Science Fiction Appreciation Society and discovered that Variant Edition Comics is a very short walk from where I’ll be living.
And of course, I'm as excited as ever that it’s a Star Wars Year, beginning a new trilogy for a new generation.