Book of Daniel

Earlier this year, I wrote about Bible Fiction on television.

I watched part of Revelation. It was too slow for my taste, and the nun who supposedly devoted herself to the Glorious Reappearing of Christ sure didn’t know much about the Bible. For the most part, though, they treated faith with respect, and I had no complaints. I abandoned watching the series after about 4 episodes, though, because it was just… too… darn… slow.

The other show coming up is the Book of Daniel that supposedly featured “a hip, modern Jesus.” It’s not coming up soon, but I’ve already crossed it off my list of shows I’ll watch. Here are two recent articles from Episcopal News Service and Beliefnet that introduce the series. After reading the synopsis and the writer’s comments, though, I need disinfectant. Yuck. Here are some samples with my comments:

A pilot episode for “The Book of Daniel,” was filmed at All Saints Church in Pasadena, where Quinn portrays Daniel, a young, liberal priest and father who clashes frequently with his conservative bishop, Dr. Beatrice Congreve, played by Ellen Burstyn.

Warning flags already start going up. So it’ll be from the perspective of a liberal faith that clashes with a “conservative” bishop played by a woman. Conservative churches don’t generally place women in the position of “bishop,” so this will actually be “ultra-liberal” clashing with “moderate.”

“It is one more indicator of how much issues of faith and religion are ‘in,’ right now,” said Russell, who is also national Integrity president.

“How cool is it that a progressive Episcopal priest has a shot at being a prime-time drama protagonist,” she added. “How surprising might it be to many who tune in to find out there actually IS a church where women can be bishops – clergy can be human – and there’s enough Good News around to extend to everybody?”

How “cool” is it to show something “in.” I groan just thinking about that. Instead of approaching this as a true “faith” show, they’re showing it because it’s hip.

Daniel is a good minister and a good man, but that’s not always enough to deal with his life. He’s addicted to Vicodin. His wife, Judith, has frozen inside since one of their sons died of leukemia. His son, Peter, is gay. His daughter, Grace, is dealing marijuana to raise extra cash.

Ah, the church elder will certainly be held in highest regard. While all of us are human and subject to falling into sin, church elders are held to a higher regard. In conservative churches, leaders are expected to remain above reproach, and if they falter, they are asked to step down.

While his characters are devout, [author] Kenny’s own feelings toward Christ and organized religion are more complicated. He is, as he puts it, “in Catholic recovery,” is interested in Buddhist teachings about reincarnation, and isn’t sure exactly how he defines God and/or Jesus.

“I’m a spiritual person,” he says. “I don’t know specifically what’s going on up there. I think there must be something going on, whether it’s an energy we’re all connected to or an old white man with a beard and a robe.

“I do believe in Jesus. I don’t necessarily know that all the myth surrounding him is true, but I read his teachings, and I think he was a great teacher and a wonderful philosopher. I think he had a great idea: `Love thy neighbor.’ There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Well, there you have it. A gay, spiritual “recovering Catholic” that believes in Buddhism and reincarnation writing about a liberal, drug addicted priest that fights against moderate and conservative influences. No doubt they’ll show these conservative elders as hypocritical to make it easier to sympathize with the liberal priest, and no doubt they’ll never discuss the possibility that the reason the priest is addicted, has an unloving wife, a gay son and a drug-dealing daughter is rooted in his liberal beliefs.

Yuck. This show will be a waste of time.