Monday, October 01, 2001

touched by an angel

Is it just me, or does the name of the show suggest a possible sexual harassment lawsuit?

In all seriousness, from what I've been able to gather of the show, my impression is that it for the most part it's a trite and feel-good TV show that has captured the attention of CHristians just as "Highway to Heaven" did 20 years ago because of its use of familiar phrases and symbols like God, heaven and angels.

The show does actual angels -- and the faith -- a disservice by lowering them to our level and turning them into creatures whose sole purpose is to make a tidy little conclusion at the end of the episode every week. Angels in the Bible appear only rarely, and when they do, their appearance generally is terrifying rather than beautiful and serene.

When the angel appears to Samson's parents, they fall to the ground, terrified. David sees an angel of God with his sword raised across Jerusalem and he's struck with fear. When Gabriel appears to Daniel, everyone else runs away in a panic and Daniel himself would have, but he was too weak from praying and fasting for weeks on end. The Apostle John has the same reaction to the angels in his visions at Patmos.

That's not to say angels have to be terrifying. Mary accepted Gabriel's appearance with faith and didn't run away screaming, and the angels who met the disciples and the women at the tomb seemed fairly low-key -- but even so, these cases illustrate another point that shows a problem with "Touched by an Angel" and society's current level of angelmania: Angels don't want attention drawn to them.

In the case of Mary, she responds in faith to God's message; because Zechariah doubts God's promise -- not because he doubts an angel -- he's struck mute for nine months.

I suppose it wouldn't make for much of a TV show if everytime Monica or Sam or Rufus the Angelic German Shepherd showed up, people fell on their faces in fear or ran away screaming, but there you have it. It would be nice to see just one episode like that, although you'd probably need someone like Eric Idle or Michael Palin to write it.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know what would really be interesting is taking some of the more punitive whoppers that God's little emissaries have been responsible for, and have the angel relate his particular perspective on their divine actions.

“Michael, what was going through your spirit as you destroyed the army of Sennacherib, all equally human and created by god - therefore equally under your protection?”

“Satan how has it affected your relationship with the divine to be constantly confused with Samael, who actually turned against God, all due to your following orders and “testing” Job so rigorously, and a mistranslation in Isaiah, confusing you with Lucifer. I mean here you are doing what you are told, and suddenly boom, a cult develops touting you as the adversary set against God.

“Gabriel, it must be very stressful acting as the angel of judgment. How do you defend your decision to rain death and destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah?”

“Metatron, did you settle on having 36 pair of wings and innumerable eyes before or after you were forced to wander in the desert with the tribe of Israelites in the form of Moses’ staff? Does it cause tension between you and Michael or Gabriel for you to be a non-canonical angel?

"What does the Book of Enoch, bring to your mind? Is it all hooey, or are their important things in this apocryphal gospel that are being over looked”

What about a gang fight between Islamic, Christian & Zoroastrian Angels (Nobody want to be picking on the Jewish angels for fear of being called anti-semitic

Of course, lastly, I’d have to agree with the straightdope.com’s writer, Ed Zotti,who suggest, “let's have an Old Testament cherub eat the cast of Touched by an Angel for a snack.”( http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mangels.html)

-Anthony

Spiritbear said...

I admit I havent watched Touched by an Angel in years but I remember one specific episode where an Angel went to a rave and got high on Ecstacy. What kind of message is that? Also you are right. THe concept of angels is cheapend.

Out here in Oregon there are all kinds of new agey shops that have angel art and stuff. These people are definitely not Christian yet they are into angels.