Friday, January 06, 2006

What if God Were One of Us

Tonight NBC will air the two hour premiere of a new their new (and already controversial) sitcom The Book of Daniel.
The conservative American Family Association already has expressed dismay at the series and has urged local stations not to broadcast it. NBC says "the is show "dramatic and engaging" though "offbeat and comical. It walks an interesting tonal line."

Daniel Webster,is an Episcopalian Priest, who struggles to maintain his family and his faithful flock of congregates. In the show's opening scene, Daniel's 16-year-old daughter, Grace (Alison Pill), is arrested for selling marijuana to pay for her manga comics. His oldest son, Peter (Christian Campbell), is hiding his homosexuality from his grandfather. And Adam (Ivan Shaw), his adopted Chinese teenager, is an unbridled skirt-chaser who hooks up with the daughter of another church official.
There's more: A third son has died of leukemia. Daniel's brother-in-law disappears after absconding with church money. His mother has Alzheimer's Disease. Oh, and the housekeeper is diabetic.

"It's a little wacky, a little out there," says Susanna Thompson (Once and Again), who plays Judith, Daniel's upper-crust, martini-swilling wife.

I have to wonder, is it?
In our society (especially these days) the leaders of our churches are somehow expected to be perfect. Everything they do, good or bad is magnified. We expect our ministers, our priests and their families to be living breathing examples of virtue, morality, integrity and Christianity. Yet we forget that none of these men's (or women's) family members (with the possible exception of their wives) actually chose to be in this position. I can only imagine what it would be like living one's life under a microscope. I know I wouldn't like it. Not one bit. I can assure you neither would my children.

So, maybe this program will give us all a chance to see what life is really like for the people, who are all too human. Of course not every minister or priest has a family like this. But, I'm betting there's at least one character that everyone can look at and say "that is just my brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle, ect".

I can't help but think of the song by Joan Osbourne, "What if God Were One of Us".
What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

Would we recognize him? If he were dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, or maybe dirty work pants and heavy boots. Or maybe even on a motorcycle, with a helmet. Would we know him? Would we sit down beside him on the bus? Would we give him our spare change if he ask for it? Would we take the time to find out who he was? Or would we judge him on his looks, his clothes, the color of his hair or skin? Or on what others had to say about him?
Having not seen the show yet, I can't say what I think of it. But, I think I'll take the time to find out more before I decide if it's an insightful comedy, or an insult (or threat) to Christians everywhere. And maybe next time I go to the grocery store I'll take the time to stop and speak to that little man who sits on the bench next to the drink machines. Maybe I'll ask him his name, and offer to buy him a drink, heck maybe I'll even splurge for some Chinese (there's a little Chinese restaurant right next door).
The Book of Daniel airs tonight on your local channel at 9 PM EST (8 Central). Maybe you could check it out. Who knows, you just might recognize one (or more) of your relatives. Then again, they might recognize YOU!


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