Monday, September 30, 2013

New Wine (Mark 2:18-3:12)

Religion-Fasting, Relationship-Feasting

John’s disciples were not loved by the Pharisees, but at least they understood them. Pharisees were religious and they understood religious expression. John’s disciples fasted out of a true understanding of their insurmountable sin problem, and were expressing a deep sense of repentance. Pharisees didn’t fast in such a noble way. For them, religion was all about being good, controlling people, and being able to compare their level of holiness with others’. In part, that is why Jesus and His disciples disturbed them even more than John. Whereas John called them a brood of vipers and made them doubt their perfection, Jesus didn’t really keep with religious ritual. How could He be perceived as better than them when He hung out with known sinners and didn’t fast?

That is exactly the point, though. Jesus did not come to establish or perfect religion. He came to address sin, and religion—perhaps surprisingly—doesn’t help anyone with their sin. At best religion, as used by God under the old covenant, brings an awareness of sin. At worst, it is simply a man-made system using humanity’s longing for God to control and manipulate the masses while empowering a select few.

The New and the Old Do Not Mix.

Jesus paints a vivid picture of just what He is all about. He did not come to use old, religious systems to save the world. He came with a new message, a better way to God. Instead of rules, punishments, and manipulations, He offers forgiveness, relationship, and a way of living the way we were created to live. His message did not build on the religious interpretations the Jews had applied to God’s revelation—it destroyed them. He did fulfill the law, but not in the way people anticipated. He took the revelation that humanity was helplessly lost in sin and offered a free reconciliation to those who would recognize their desperate state and trust in Him.

Was man created to serve a system, or was the system established to help man?

The very next story Mark tells elaborates on this truth. Humanity was not created for religion. We were created for a relationship with God. Religion was invented by humanity after the fall, and was used by God as a part of the plan to reconcile humanity to Him. Religion was used to serve mankind by exposing our shortcomings and our need for salvation. Religious rules are simply tools, and those tools can be used to justify inaction or even to promote evil. Once a person is in a renewed relationship with God, God’s Spirit is a better guide than the rules used to expose sin. Sin takes rules and makes religion, the Spirit uses love to guide us to the life God wills.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Star Trek Deep Space Nine (Season 5b)

Season 5a  Season 5c

After a relatively slow start, the fifth season of DS9 picks up in the middle with several interesting, thought provoking episodes. The challenge is determining how effective these episodes are on their own to someone who has not followed the series along the way. Whatever difficulty is nothing near to the likes of current day series where whole seasons tell a single overarching plot. There are times, in the mid-season-two-parter, for example, where the modern viewer feels as though something has been overlooked. Today, certain plot elements would have been hinted at and set-up several episodes beforehand. Back then episodes still had to be largely self-contained. It gives the distinct impression that we are merely peeking in on the lives at the Space Station with days and even weeks in between glimpses. And that is exactly what is happening.

Episode 10 “Rapture” 

The show has always had an interesting religious element; and it has even played a part in some of the plots. Here things are taken to a new level when Sisko gains an ability to see things on a mystical level. The story is alright, but the implications are huge. The reactions of Starfleet, Sisko’s loved ones, and the devout Bajorans are very interesting to observe. As usual, things are handled in a way that balance the reality of the mystical experience with the difficulties faced by those who are not privy to that experience firsthand.

Episode 11 “The Darkness and the Light” 

A standard hunted-by-a-lunatic story. Pretty well done, but run-of-the-mill except for the particular mania of the Cardasian bent on revenge. He is obsessed with some religious-themed light vs. dark dribble. In the end, a safe but shaken Kira quips, “Light ONLY shines in the dark.” The problem with that statement is that it is just about as silly as the obsession that the lunatic had. The contrast between light and dark is a particularly good metaphor for good and evil when used correctly. Evil, just as darkness, is merely an absence of light. Light does not ONLY “shine in dark.” You can have light without darkness, and you cannot have darkness where there is light. Light destroys it. Furthermore, you cannot introduce darkness into light. Dark has no power over light. Kira’s statement is meant to highlight that good can be found in the midst of normal, somewhat “bad” humanity. Maybe even that light is only understood in relation to darkness. The problem is that light and dark, just as good and evil, are not opposites of equal opposing value. They are simply a measure of the presence, or absence of one thing. Evil does not inform us about good.

Episode 12 “The Begotten” 

Odo finds a baby changeling. This episode is reminiscent of “The Offspring” and retreads some of the themes seen there, but this episode seems really there to return Odo to his changeling form.

Episode 13 “For the Uniform” 

Sisko decides that, in order to defeat a bad man, he must become a villain.

Episodes 14 & 15 “In Purgatory’s Shadow”; “By Inferno’s Light” 

The political and military schemes in this series—particularly on the Dominion’s part—are fascinating to watch unfold. Similar to the first episode of the season, but more elaborate, surprising, and entertaining.

Episode 16 “Doctor Bashir, I Presume?” 

How far humanity dares to tread into God’s domain is a fascinating subject in fiction, especially science fiction. Here we see another side of the genetic manipulation that created the likes of Kahn. Sometimes it is hard to stick to sound principles when it comes to people we care about. A balance between love and law is needed.

Episode 17 “A Simple Investigation” 

A good, atmospheric, noir mystery. But it does strain credibility. Why would an agency send a married person on a multi-year, deep cover assignment?

Episode 18 “Business as Usual” 

Quark must extricate himself from a business arraignment that pushes him to realize that he has ethical standards that are most un-ferengi-like.

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Twixt" (2011)

There is an inherent danger in innovation, creativity and pushing the limits of any medium. Coppola has, of late, pushed himself into some creative restrictions that have made his films less than satisfying for everyone who is not Coppola. Namely, he insists that his stories be “completely original” and that his films be totally self-produced. As a result, they can end up being very cheap (looking) and all over the place plot-wise.

“Twixt” supposedly arose from a dream Coppola had, from which he was awoken before it ended. Afterwards he pursued—fruitlessly—to revisit the dream and discover its ending. The resulting “story” is one where a writer has a dream and constantly seeks to find the end. That end, ends up being a completely unrelated, disjointed fabrication he writes for his book, which is an extremely limited success.

The only thing that keeps this film watchable (if it is indeed even that) is the excellent acting from the likes of Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, and Elle Fanning. Even the “quirky” and “strange” moments in the film are cheated by the jarring, cheap effects that constantly take one out of the film and remind the viewer that we are watching a creation.

Along the way there is a lot of attempts to go deep, stuff about loss, death and mourning. There are conversations with Edgar Allan Poe and visions of a preacher who becomes a monster of his religious madness, but it is all too disjointed and pointless to amount to anything.

Even the best and most talented artists benefit from collaboration and interaction with others. The protagonist of this story resists collaboration in the pursuit of his writing; Coppola should have sought out some.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A (very) Brief Look at “The Cuckoo’s Calling”

J.K. Rowling’s latest book caused a bit of a stir recently for getting great reviews—before anyone knew that she was the author. It is a standard, genre whodunit. Well, standard in plot but with Rowling’s gift for introducing interesting, realistic characters that we want to get to know more.

Rowling triggered a bit of an (undeserved) controversy with her Harry Potter series and its superficially problematic fantasy element. This book will not fare much better amongst most believing readers. The characters and societal elements where this story occur are those where a lot of off-color language are used, and this book has an overabundance of it.

Well written, and an interesting case, but I am not sure I will be looking for another story in this series.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Jesus Came for Sinners (Mark 2:13-17)

In this story we see how Jesus dealt with sinners and non-religious people.

1) Jesus calls sinners into a relationship with Him. Jesus called Levi, who was a taxman. In those days, that was not just an unpopular position, it was a known corrupt way of getting rich. Tax collectors would purposely collect more than the Government demanded and keep the surplus. This was condoned by Rome, but it is seen as particularly treacherous to betray your own people and profit from an occupying force. Jesus chose Levi, an obvious sinner, to be His disciple. Really, every person called by God is a sinner. Levi was no worse and no better than any one of us. In God’s eyes one sinner is as much a sinner as any other. He loves us all.

(2) Jesus spent His time with sinners, not religious people. Jesus wanted to reach sinners, so he spent his time with them. You might say that everyone is a sinner, so why not spend time with everyone? Yes. However, Jesus sought out people who society saw (and who saw themselves) as sinners. There are a lot of sinners in this world who think that they are righteous, or whom society sees as good. As such, they have no dependence on God. Jesus seeks the “poor in spirit.” Those who know they need God.

(3) We have a relationship with Jesus because we recognize we are sinners too. When we are tempted to spend all of our time and only have relationships with religious people, we must remember that (a) Jesus has rescued us from sin, (b) He wants to rescue others and wants us to help Him reach them, and (C) in order to reach non-Christians we need to be with them. We need to spend time with them. We need to do things to make them feel welcome amongst us.

Ironically, the church treats its children, who start out lost, far better than other lost people. We usually make people go through a three-step process to belong to our fellowship. We tell them Believe, Behave, and then you can Belong. This is backwards from the way it should be. With our children we say, “You Belong to our group, this is how we Behave.” In time they often Believe.

Finally (4) We must never think we are better than other sinners. In Matthew’s telling of this story, he refers to Hosea 6:6. In that verse, God declares that He desires relationship with us, not religious sacrifice. We need to find ways to love those around us and bring them into the relationship we have with God. It is less about the religious behavior we engage in amongst ourselves and more about living out our relationship with God amongst people who need Him.

Friday, September 20, 2013

"Jane Eyre" (2011)

Beautiful but incomplete.

When Cary Fukunaga directed “Sin Nombre” in 2009 he earned a spot on my list of directors I will “keep-an-eye-on.” The story was not inspiring nor uplifting, but the camera work and the amazing beauty of the cinematography was something to behold. So, when he filmed “Jane Eyre” a couple years later, I gradually got around to seeing it.

Much like in his earlier film, Fukunaga displays amazing command of the camera. The cinematography and the artistic choices made are top notch. This is a beautiful film. With the classic novel as his source material, he should have a more inspiring story to tell. And, in a way, he does. However, this Jane Eyre falls short. It is an incomplete film thematically speaking.

The frustration lies in what is left out of this adaptation. Jane Eyre is a story that spans the tension between religious control and libertine abandon. Jane as a character has a higher ideal for her faith than the religious hypocrites she is raised around, but she maintains that ideal in the face of people she meets later in life who would abandon any code, or practice some dispassionate, sterile form of faith. In this film version of the film, we see the religious abuses. That is always an easy (and deserved where it is found) target. But Jane’s own ideas about faith are downplayed to the point that she comes across as someone only concerned with her social perception. As to the more “liberal” ideas about Christianity, and Jane’s rejection of that extreme… they are almost completely glossed over.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rational-idiocy

Commentary on “Con-silly-piracy”

There is a drive somewhere inside all of us to see reasons, patterns and causes. It pushes some of us to embrace the irrational activity of “conspiracy theorizing.” The classic “proof” of a conspiracy is that there is no proof, for example. Most see fun little coincidences and strange connections as entertaining to a point, but some go a little crazy with it all.

Take the Shakespeare-Bible theory as an example. It turns out that some people claim that Shakespeare had a hand in the most famous translation of the Bible in the English language. These people don’t just assume his involvement based on his genius and the fact that his lifetime overlapped the most influential English language work ever. No. They claim that he inserted his autograph. Here is how the theory goes:

Shakespeare would have been 46 in 1610 when the work on the translation was wrapping up. If you turn to Psalm 46 and count down to the 46th word, it is “shake.” Then go the last word in the Psalm—not counting the real last word which is “selah,” so you leave it out—and count back 46 words and you get “spear.” Shake+spear!

This is clearly ridiculous. That is a pretty extreme case of finding patterns where there aren’t any,

There are those, however, who commit just as illogical a leap when they use those extreme examples to justify ignoring any patterns in nature. The level of design and intricacy in the universe makes a claim that: pure “chance and chaos” operating within the clear laws that the universe functions under produced life as we know it are… silly. What is worse is the fact that there are those—the most evangelical proponents of chance—who are so skewed against a divine designer (due to the evils of religious people claiming to speak on divinity’s behalf) that they are willing to concede a level of design. As long as the designers are themselves a product of the universe (paradoxical, I know) and not an external divinity. Aliens, yes. God, no.

That too is ridiculous.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Household Focus

A church is a family unit, a household. This is less of a word-picture (like the church being the body) and more of a true description of the way church works.

Household, or Oikos, was a group of people related by blood or dwelling. It is the basic unit of society. A church is an Oikos where the Kingdom of God is experienced. It is the triangle.

However, people in a church also tend to have ties to other Oikoses. Their families, neighborhoods, workplaces, etc. can all function as basic relationship circles.

When the church uses the “extras” of the square (building, staff, programs, money), these things intended to strengthen the church in its mission can actually serve as a wall, keeping people out. The result is people from the church need to go outside the church to interact with and reach lost people with the Gospel.

Once someone outside comes to faith, a crucial choice must be made. Do we bring them into the Oikos of the church,

 or do we bring church into their home Oikos?

Being church outside the building in other social situations, Monday through Friday, in a sort of network of households, is a better way to strengthen the mission of the church; independent of whether there is a square somewhere in the network or not.







Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Sleuth Shows

As a huge fan of mystery stories I have seen my share of detective shows. Some are about cops, some amateurs, but all of them are about the search for truth and justice. Here are the best of the best as far as I am concerned; the guilty pleasures, the honorable mentions (as I haven’t seen enough of the shows to fully weigh in) and the top ten that I have seen so far:

Top 5 Guilty Pleasures: 

Psych (USA 2006-current)

A sillier detective story from the USA Network than “Monk,” a comedy “Mentalist” before that show even existed. It says something that our culture is more willing to accept help from a self-proclaimed psychic than simply a brilliant deductionist.

Bones (FOX 2005-current)
Castle (ABC 2009-current)

Today’s versions of that old chestnut, the romantically attracted detective couple. After a while these shows always become less about the stories and more about the relationship, which would be great in real life but ends up killing the show, as a show is an ongoing story-telling endeavor.

Charlie’s Angels (ABC 1976-1981)
The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (ABC 1977-1978)

These seventies detective shows are just dripping with “dated-ness.” But they are also fun stories involving more-or-less normal people solving larger-than-life situations. In the later, go with the Nancy Drew stories instead of the Boys’ adventures. Contrary to the book series, here she is better.

Top 6 Honorable Mentions: 

Magnum P.I. (CBS 1980-1988)

This might actually belong in the top ten, I just haven’t seen enough to judge.

Justified (FX 2010-current)
Veronica Mars (CW 2004-2007)
Luther (BBC 2010-current)

Noir is a flavor of sleuth fiction that some do not like. Less about the search for truth and justice, it can be more about revenge in a world where everything is shades of grey. These three are good examples of the subgenre.

The Mentalist (CBS 2008-current)

A show about a brilliant sleuth compelled to right wrongs as he pursues the man who killed his family. I have only seen the first half of this series.

Filmore! (Disney 2002-2003)

A smart little tribute to the police procedural set in a middle school.

Top Ten: 

10. Monk (USA 2002-2009)

This show explores the abnormal compulsions of the sleuth. Nothing new there, but it is done with great skill from Tony Shalhoub. It can get a bit too depressing, though.

9. Agatha Christie’s Poirot (BBC 1989-2010)


A great adaptation of one of the best literary detectives.

8. Twin Peaks(ABC 1990-1991) more

Quirky and creepy, this show is more about an atmosphere than smart story-telling.

7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (ITV1 1984-1994)

Another great adaptation, the best pure adaptation of Holmes.

6. (Tie) Remington Steele (NBC 1982-1987)
6. (Tie) Moonlighting (ABC 1985-1989)

The best examples of the detectives-falling-in-love stories. The writing and acting for this type of shows seems to have been done best in the eighties.

5. Life on Mars (BBC 2006-2007) more

This has all the atmosphere and weirdness of Twin Peaks, but with a smart storyline to boot.

4. A Nero Wolfe Mystery (A&E 2001-2002)

The best adaptation of a literary detective yet produced.

3. Sherlock (BBC 2010-current) more, and more, and even more

A reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Brilliant.

2. The X Files (FOX 1993-2002)

Maybe a bit of a cheat, but this is one of my favorite series of all time, and it is all about finding the truth in very strange circumstances.

1. Columbo (NBC/ABC 1968-2003)

With Columbo we don’t walk alongside a detective trying to solve the mystery, we watch a man catch the crook already known to us (because we’ve seen the crime) and to Columbo (because he is a genius) in his own web of mistakes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Get with the program, or get out of the way! (Mark 2:1-12)

To accomplish our mission we must be willing to take risks and avoid the crowd.

The main purpose of this story is to demonstrate Christ’s divinity and His mission by showing that He had the power to forgive sins. There are also at least four other things we can learn from this text:

(1) Faith is what leads to forgiveness. This is a recurring theme in Mark. When we look at other stories we see this again and again: Here we see it in verse 5. In 5:25-34, the story of the hemorrhaging woman, we see it in verse 34. In the story of Jairus’ daughter (again chapter 5) we see it in verse 36. In 10:46-52, we see blind Bartimaeus’ faith in verse 52.

When Jesus healed people, he was not just making them physically well. He was bringing wholeness—the Kingdom of God. He was making things right on the earth. We see in these stories that forgiveness of sin went hand in hand with physical healing and it was people’s faith that made that all possible. When Jesus went about healing people, He was illustrating His teaching. This is the truth that He was sharing with the crowd that day.

(2) Faith that saves changes the way we live our lives. (James 2:14-26) All the people in these stories demonstrated their faith and trust in Jesus by overcoming obstacles or social stigma. Here in our story, the men did a lot of property damage to get their friend to Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He forgave the man his sins. Faith that leads to forgiveness is seen in our willingness to act.

(3) When we live out our faith in the way God desires, we bring others to Jesus. Here in this story, it is clear to see that the men physically brought their friend to Jesus. But the text also clearly says that Jesus saw their faith and forgave the lame man. Could it be that our own faith is lacking and that is why we do not see more people coming to know Jesus? When we fail to live our lives boldly and share Jesus with people it shows that we do not trust Him to use us to tell others what He has commanded us to share.

Finally, (4) we see here that the Crowd was attracted to Jesus’ power and popularity but missed His message and even kept people from coming to Him. All too often we as a church are just like the crowd. We come together to hear from God, but we do not hear Him say to us that we should be going and telling people about Him. Instead, we behave in such a way that we even keep people from seeing God!

Let us follow the example of the four friends in this story and not that of the crowd getting in the way.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

"Monsters University" (2013)


“If you can dream it you can do it.” –The Lie of Walt Disney

Pixar has seemed to struggle a bit with creativity lately. This seems to be the influence of Disney—the company not the man. With princess stories and sequels being the extent of their output lately, fans were likely concerned with the prequel, “Monsters University.” Even if “Monsters Inc.” is one of their best efforts.

Prequels are tricky. The audience already knows where the story is going so why stick around until the end? In this case we know that Mike is going to grow up to become the scarer’s assistant who discovers that laughs are more powerful than scares, so how do you tell a compelling story about his journey up to that point? How about by tear down one of the more destructive lies we tell children in this culture.

This is where “Monsters University” goes from being just another charming, well-made story to brilliant. Mike is a kid with a dream and the dedication to do everything necessary to achieve that dream. He wants to be a scarer when he grows up. The only problem? He isn’t whatsoever scary. And that is the kind of story more people need to tell.

The truth is that we all have our own aspirations and plans for the way we want our lives to be. We also find ways to mess things up, even when we achieve them. The problem is that we have a refrain that we continually repeat to children that is a lie. We tell them they can do anything they want to in life. Instead we need to tell them the message of this film. You can’t achieve everything you dream of, but you can make the best of what you are given. Who knows? It can often end up being better than the dream.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Smartphone

Sit together at a table
 a million miles apart
It’s the promise of connectivity that isolates

Observe all the wonders of the world
 through a hand-held screen
Documentation supersedes any experience

Trade memories for data
 on disposable circuits
Collect evidential records for no reminiscence

Conduct your own sad, private,
 little, reality shows
Applauded by an imagined world-wide audience

Trapped in a world contained in
 the palm of your hand
Your own cage, your cell, in this prison of subservience

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When it is NOT Hip to be Square.

The initial part of this post is not an original idea of mine. I am not sure where the image of the triangle and the square first appeared in the “organic church” conversation, but it is a helpful tool for seeing “essential” vs. “helpful” things in church life. In a nutshell, I would describe it like this:

A church is a community of the Kingdom of God, consisting of people centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who practice faith, love and hope. Faith, love and hope being the vocabulary the Bible uses again and again to sum up the three greater commands that Jesus gave His followers: Love God, love others, and share His story, making disciples.

If you have a community—even initially consisting of just two or three people—many would argue that you have a Biblical church.

To that triangle of three essentials the church throughout history has added elements that strengthen the church’s efforts in being church. Things like a building, paid workers, program ministries, and the budget to maintain those other elements. These things are all not Biblically prescribed, but are also not bad. They are not prohibited anyway.

Where these four additional elements go from being helps to hindrances is primarily seen in one of two ways:

The Frame.

If the triangle could be seen as the “picture” of a Biblical church, the square is like the frame around the picture. Often a well-designed frame will accentuate a picture and make its presentation more effective. However, there are frames that distract from the picture they frame. Some pictures really don’t need a frame to be beautiful. In the case of churches, maintaining the frame often becomes the main mission of the church. It consumes all of their energy and resources. Many a church has long since lost the picture and is left simply maintaining an empty frame. In that case, you no longer even have a church, but instead are simply another cultural institution.

The Wall.

In today’s culture people have a definite preconceived idea about church and they really don’t like it. It is nearly impossible to get people who don’t know God to darken the doorway of a church building. They do not experience the Kingdom of God because the church is only “being church” behind the walls of the building that has become “the church.” Instead of being community in the world, we have retreated into the confines of a square that the world does not want to have anything to do with.

So, if you don’t want to experience the freedom and excitement of church without the institutional developments of “the square” at least be sure to not let those elements become an empty frame or an imposing wall.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Star Trek Deep Space Nine (Season 5a)


Season 4c  Season 5b

After a long, unplanned interruption due to availability, (somehow shows and movies disappear from stores or go out of print when I begin to consider them) the Deep Space Nine marathon continues. Season 5 is apparently highly regarded amongst fans of the show. Either it or season 6 seem to top most lists of best seasons. All of the following episodes are top notch, but somehow they fail to engage me completely. Very few of them feel timelessly classic. I think the slight level of overarching storyline this series utilizes renders individual episodes less remarkable.

Episode 1 “Apocalypse Rising”

The mission to assassinate the changeling that has infiltrated the highest position in the Klingon Empire is carried out. Odo became aware of the plot when he was punished in the great link at the end of season four. If you watch carefully, you just might see a clever twist coming in this story where our heroes learn a good lesson about the sort of war in which they are engaged.

Episode 2 “The Ship”

The crew stumble upon a wrecked Jem’Hadar ship and make a stand against a force aiming to reclaim it. The story itself is pretty dry, but it is interesting to observe the way the opposing forces interact. Also, a curious aspect of the religion of the Dominion is explored.

Episode 3 “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places”

Sometimes we are blind to the things we need for all of the attention we place on the things we want and don’t have. Then there are times when storytellers take us in a direction that strains believability, mostly due to the limited acting ability with which they are working. (It grows on you though.)

Episode 4 “…Nor the Battle to the Strong”

Jake discovers a lot about war and even more about himself. This is the best story on this first third of the season. Jake is a writer that needs to live a little to hone his craft. The biggest lesson he learns here is that we are never as noble as we think we will be.

Episode 5 “The Assignment”

A sci-fi approach to possession. The way DS9 explores spiritual and religious concepts is a breath of fresh air in the Trek universe. It is still very science fiction, but at least it is not dogmatically against such things the way Trek tends to be in its Secular Humanist perspective.

Episode 6 “Trials and Tribble-ations”

Everything about this episode is an exercise in indulgence. That being said, it is way more fun than it deserves to be.

Episode 7 “Let He Who is Without Sin…”

A trip to the pleasure planet ends up being a confrontation with a group set on dictating morality. This is another good episode. It is uncomfortably close to a look at the way many evangelicals approach the world today. Less about love and more about hate.

Episode 8 “Things Past”

Odo does some soul searching while mentally linked to others from the crew. Confession can be good for the soul, they say. One wonders if this is really what the great link is like. Odo and the others are linked mentally (reading each other’s thoughts more or less) but in their mental environment, they can’t read each other’s thoughts. Hmmm.

Episode 9 “The Ascent”

Odo and Quark are enemies forced to work together while Jake and Nog discover friends sometimes don’t do well living together. This whole episode feels like a cliché.

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