pulled The Book of Daniel, a show that has come under fire
from none other than our beloved American Family Association.
the AFA perhaps first gained notoriety due to its strident
boycott of the series NYPD Blue a few years back.
when the Book of Daniel premiered last week, an AFA spokesman
said that they were offended at the show's depiction of Jesus, who
often visits the main character, an Episcopal priest named Daniel.
the AFA spokesman said, "our Lord is not, as they depict Him, just
an average, everyday Joe who sits in the passenger seat of your car.
He is to be worshipped and adored as our Savior." (quoted from
memory after reading the Tennessean article last week - forgive
me if it's not entirely exact)
they also take issue with the main writer being homosexual, and
the problems Daniel's family deal with in the show - drug use, affairs,
teenage sex, et cetera.
of course, in the canonical gospels, Jesus spent most of his time
with people who had a lot of problems - extortion, prostitution,
leprosy, demon possession . . . y'know, the small, everyday stuff.
and nowhere in the gospels does Jesus say to worship Himself -
it was all directed toward God as Father. later in the New Testament
Paul and other writers get into it, but not from Jesus Himself.
to me, it seems that the AFA holds so closely to Jesus as God that
they miss or don't fully appreciate Jesus as Human.
what i really deeply appreciated about The Book of Daniel was the
portrayal of Daniel's relationship with Jesus. i grew up with the phrase,
"a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" echoing in my head, but
i haven't ever seen what i would consider a personal relationship
demonstrated on film or tv in any way that i identified with.
all i saw were formalizations, ritualizations, unquestioning devotion.
Daniel's relationship with Jesus is very intimate, very knowing.
Jesus chides him when he turns to Vicadin, encourages him to
further his relationships with his family, and is very present with
Daniel. and Daniel in turn asks questions, seeks counsel, and forgiveness.
in one of my favorite scenes, Daniel curses his brother-in-law for
absconding with a huge amount of church money, saying,"God damn
him! And I'm not swearing, I actually mean that I want God to damn him!"
and later, when he sees Jesus in the backyard, he apologizes and asks
for forgiveness for being so angry. person to person, just like you and me.
His personableness reminds me of my favorite other depiction of Jesus -
the Matthew Videos.
my relationship with Jesus, with God the Father, is that personal.
that direct. no, i've never had a face to face a la Margery Kempe,
but i do talk to Him in the car, listen for Him at home, try and
pay attention to what He might show me at work.
that my relationship with Him, though broader and deeper and even
more intimate, is like that of my relationships with frenchpress, or
pendulous - they affect me, open new doors of understanding, and
change the way that i perceive the world around me.
there's a great moment near the beginning of the pilot when Daniel
turns to Jesus riding next to him in the car and asks, "Am I chosen?"
in reference to his very real interactions with Jesus, and Jesus laughs,
"No," He says, "I talk to everybody. But not everybody listens, and some
people just hear what they want to."
subconscious undercurrent: swiftly fading outrage