Hey y’all… As I am writing this, it’s 3:53am, the morning after binge watching the first four episodes of the new TV series “God Friended Me”. I got a burden about the time I was going to bed to write about this series on The Spotlight, but I was of two minds about it. One of those minds is that it would probably not be well-received by my audience and I might get some real flack for it. The other was that it’s just the sort of thing I should be addressing on my blog! It’s controversial and relevant to our times. It’s also deeply spiritually relevant.
So, I tried to sleep and all I could think of or dream about was writing this post!!! I even started writing it in my dream, and woke up realising that it wasn’t saved anywhere! So, instead of spending a sleepless night not writing, I decided to just wake up and write my thoughts about this show down.
Hmmm… Well, I really didn’t know what to expect of the show. I didn’t know if it would be a mockery of Faith in God or actually a really good show that Believers can enjoy. So far, it seems like the latter. However, there are buts rising up, that make me question the agenda of this series and the spirit behind it.
The series is about a man (forgotten his name already), who runs a podcast, where he shares his atheistic views. In the first scene, he talks about there being no God and we all should just take responsibility for our actions. He had a guest, who is Muslim and who gives a weak defense to belief in God. As the story goes on, we learn that the Atheist has an estranged relationship with his father, who happens to be a Preacher and Church leader. His sister, who owns a bar, is determinedly trying to resolve issues between them.
Anyway, so after his podcast show, the Atheist gets a friend request from someone who has called himself “God”, and has a bright sky and cloud as his profile picture. He declines the request. But unlike regular Facebook, this person has the ability to keep sending friend requests without being blocked! Eventually, after an uncanny episode, when he sees a cloud in the sky the same shape as the one on the “God account” (as they say) dp, and then a burning bush incidence, he decides to accept the friend request of this persistent person. Immediately he does, he gets a friend recommendation by this “God”, and then moments later, the person “God” has asked him to befriend bumps into him.
I really can’t recount the whole story, but I have to say that it draws you in. It’s quite interesting. And it was surprising to see how convincing this “God account” could actually be. Like, if this happened in real life to a real Atheist, it would be hard for them to keep holding on to their belief that there is no God. And that’s how things play out in the series.
“God” keeps recommending friends to this Atheist, and out of curiosity and a need to uncover who is behind the “God acccount”, he tracks down the people “God” asked him to befriend (often accusing them of being complicit), and discovers eventually that they needed him in one way or the other to resolve a crisis in their lives. So, it seems evident that “God” is using him to help people…basically, he is working for God, even against his will, thinking that he will soon be able to unravel this mystery, even as his unbelief is crumbling.
As he is helping others, issues in his life, particularly his relationship with his father, begins to resolve. One of the first people “God” asked him to befriend is actually a female journalist, who was struggling with writer’s block, but with this intriguing puzzle to solve, and the many short stories of lives transformed by the intervention of the Atheist, after “God”‘s recommendation, she is no longer short of stories. They become partners on a mission, and an attraction brews between them (I actually think we are being forced to believe there’s chemistry between these two, because I wouldn’t have thought so if not for the continual references to how they are “obviously” into each other).
So, we have a little romance brewing here, and I think the fact that it is inter-racial is intentional (not that it’s a bad thing). I think it’s also good that the lead character is a black man, so the show can’t be accused of using a “token” black rep. I think they are trying to cover all bases on the discrimination list, which leads me to the issue of contention…
So, in episode four, we learn that the Atheist’s sister is actually a lesbian. Nothing at all was hinted about this in previous episodes. She’s just shacked up with her lover (or has been for a while, it wasn’t clear), and suddenly feels a burden to tell her father, who already knew she was gay, and had accepted her as she was (commendable).
“God”‘s recommendation in this episode is of a place this time. I don’t know if Facebook does that. Or if Facebook notifies you of places or things your friends like or when they update their profile pic. I mean, you get these general and random notifications, but it seems strange the way this Atheist and “God” interact on Facebook. Almost like it isn’t really Facebook but another app!
Anyway, I digress… So, they go to this place to find out who God wants them to help, and they come across a woman looking for a long lost love. They believe she’s the one they are meant to help and they try to help her. Eventually, they find the dude, and they bring the pair together. And then we learn that the dude is gay.
It’s really not a big deal. This is life and this is our reality. There are people who are living this way, and we can no longer deny them. They do need to be represented in the media, like I have written about before. And in my seasonal story series, A Small World, I also address this homosexual culture, with the hopes of shedding light to Believers and unbelievers about this and how to deal with this phenomenon in our world.
I just thought that, on this issue, the writers/producers of the show had chosen a politically correct stance or perhaps, that’s part of the agenda of the show, to promote acceptance of gay culture – even in a story that “God” is supposed to be a main feature. I see this in practically, if not, all modern shows, the need to raise a banner in support of gay rights. It seems as if to do otherwise would be to invite some lawsuits or maybe it would simply be political and social suicide (hence my hesitation to comment on this issue). So, it does make me think where this story is going and the agenda. Who’s behind it and what’s their faith in God, if any?
However, I did enjoy my time watching the series, and I took something away from every episode I watched. It was weird because I felt like God used the series to speak to me too!!! Interesting huh?
At the start of the fourth episode, the Atheist notices a severe decline in his following, due to his previous posting about the need to have a conversational approach on this issue of God’s existence. This was after he had turned down a job offer, where he was being made to express staunch Atheistic views that didn’t sit well with him anymore. But at the end of this same episode, his father, who has never appreciated his podcast (and who had only started listening at the end of the previous episode) decides to share with him an interesting story.
He spoke of how he lost about a quarter of his congregation in a matter of months, after his daughter came out as gay, and he didn’t reject her. He said that it had hurt him so much that they had left, despite all his years of service, but that he later came to see that they did him a favour. That their leaving gave room for the people who needed to hear his message of grace to hear it. And it was clear that he was encouraging his son not to feel bad about losing so many of his Atheist followers. Those who were ready and in need of the conversation he wanted to have about God and Faith would soon come and replace them.
That to me was inspiring. It was something I needed to hear. I’ve felt really bad for losing so many readers over my views on, first the Bible and then, tithing, which came to a head about this time last year. I’ve lost support and potential patronage and have sort of been feeling like I lost a limb. But now I am encouraged to know that they broke off, so that I can experience some new growth, which I am. The people who need me to keep being real and speaking the truth are out there, and in time, we will discover and encourage ourselves, and delight in our liberty.
Okay, so would I recommend this series? Absolutely. For believers and unbelievers. There are special lessons from every episode. It is quite deep. Believers just need to use wisdom to sift out any teaching that may be of the world, and not of God.
Photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com
If you liked this post, you might like THE SPOTLIGHT: CHRISTIANS, STOP TELLING ME GOD IS IN CONTROL
Are you blessed by this ministry? Why not partner with me?