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Making God present in the world

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My sisters and I have become fans of a new TV show, entitled “God Friended Me.” I am more and more convinced that underlying this humorous show is a serious theology. For those who have not seen it, here’s a brief summation of what it’s about.

“God Friended Me” centers upon a beguiling black man who does a podcast about why he is an atheist. He receives a friend request from someone called “God,” which he assumes is a hoax. But in each message from “God” he is advised to “friend” someone else. When he searches information on Facebook about those suggested, he decides to find them. In each case the person is depressed and is suffering because of a failed relationship in his or her life. The protagonist helps to heal that estrangement. He brings happiness to many people who were sad and lost. At the same time, he heals the relationship between himself and his father an Anglican priest.

With the help of a tech-savvy friend, he tries to discover “God’s” identity by tracking his IP address. Their efforts fail. Even so, he keeps following up the leads that “God” gives him.

At one point, “God” un-friends him. The protagonist realizes, to his surprise, that he is disappointed about that, and that he has enjoyed the work of healing relationships. The moment he shares that on his podcast, “God” sends him a new request to be friends.

Eastern religions and some strong schools within Christian theology have long said that efforts to describe God only mislead us. It doesn’t matter if we can’t name God as long as we make ourselves instruments of his presence in the world. When we help people to love, we are making God present in the world.

So our protagonist is constantly bringing love into the world, that is, making God present in the world. If God is love, as the Gospel of John tells us, then God is present when we help others to love.

My guess is that in this TV show we will never find out who is sending these messages on the “God” account, and it will make no difference to the integrity of the story.

So, too, we can be God-makers without having a blueprint (or IP address) for God. I recommend this show on CBS as a good Advent meditation on religion and morality.

As for an update on me: A few weeks ago, I had a serious fall in the dining room that resulted in a black eye. For a week I was confined to a wheelchair, because my balance wasn’t very good. But now I am walking again, as long as someone is holding my hand or my arm.

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Comments from readers

Joe Iannone - 12/13/2018 01:27 PM
Dear Brother Richard, Thanks for your blogs. Inspiring because they remind us of the Gospel work you did for our archdiocese. And, of course, they keep us on the path of your journey. Sorry about your fall but glad you continue to stimulate us with your TV recommendations. I pray with you, joe
Gigi - 12/12/2018 09:27 AM
This is one of my new favorite TV shows! A breath of fresh air especially with all the garbage out there on TV. Not perfect but I love the message that God loves us where we are... but he loves us too much to stay where we are at. Beautiful to see the character Miles evolving, his relationships evolving for the better (especially with his dad), and I believe he is more of an agnostic now than an athiest. One step at a time! I am praying this show is awarded a 2nd season! PS - I also hope this show shows Hollywood that they cannot erase God out of everything. People will pay money to see good and godly things whether it is TV, movies, music, etc.
Betty Bezos - 12/11/2018 09:02 AM
Dear Brother Richard, Thanks for the succinct description of this refreshing TV show. I found the show a simple a fountain of shared love. Speedy recovery! Please continue sharing your wisdom with us Merry Christmas and a New Year full of health and blessings.
Marie Fernandez de Curtis - 12/10/2018 03:52 PM
I got very excited when I saw that God Friended Me was the topic of this blog post! My husband and I watch this show together every Sunday. This show is inspiring, emotional and gives us plenty to talk about and reflect on afterwards. I am sad the season finale is next week and I hope CBS makes a second season. We love it!
Bertha Moro - 12/10/2018 12:25 PM
Br. Richard, Love reading your blogs. Love the premise of the show, will absolutely check it out. Many blessings to you and yours during this Advent season. Bertha
James - 12/10/2018 12:15 PM
I Bless you for a speedy recovery. I ask everyone to pray for our society and make Jesus number one in their lives. In Unity,
Delfina A. Sierra - 12/10/2018 11:08 AM
Dear Brother Richard, I love you. Thank you for the lead,.. ~Delfina
Carlota E. Morales, Ed; D/ - 12/10/2018 10:06 AM
Dear Brother Richard, In this season of Advent, while we prepare for the birth of Our Lord, I want to wish you and your congregation all of the joys of this season. May He continue to be your faithful companion in your journey! May you continue to share your thoughts and wisdom with us. Merry Christmas, Carlota E. Morales, Ed. D.0.

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