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.

14 thoughts on “Book of Daniel”

  1. I’m with you; total waste of time and energy. What kind of impression will it leave on children, especially those whose parents aren’t interested in ‘religion’ themselves?
    I’d rather it not make it to the airwaves. 😐


  2. “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.” Unless they diddle little boys. Then the church covers it up for years until it is exposed by the media.


  3. Those weren’t conservative churches, and that’s frowned on by every church I know. Piling on a tv show about a Buddhist-loving pot-smoking free loving preacher just detracts from the good Christians are trying to do.


  4. You’d be surprised how liberal many in the church see the Pope, as well as his predecessors, including JPII. Some call him an ‘anti-Pope’.

    Just goes to show you that the church is made up of fallible human beings who thankfully look more to God than the elders. Otherwise, the pews would be empty.


  5. This kind of show is “hip” and “in”?

    *waits for them to bring back “Joan of Arcadia” because it’s in*

    I think that when the writer said “How cool is it that…” they were referring to their own excitement, and not to the thought of it playing to a “hip” crowd.

    I love this kind of show because it brings Christianity to life, and finds a more universal way to at least mainstream general Christianity. I attend a church that is *extremely* conservative, and I don’t tend to agree with all of the bliefs of shows such as this…but it is definitely a good way to bring some kind of religion to light. It also teaches that gays, drug addicts, women bishops, etc are all accepted by Christ. Do I believe that this show is realistic? Of course not. It does allow those children “especially those whose parents aren’t interested in religion” to have at least some kind of influence in their lives.

    I also have to say that the last sentence drives me up the wall. “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.” I know more than my share of conservative Christians who have gay sons/daughters, drug problems, unloving wives/husbands, etc. I would like to know what the “reason” is that they are dealing with the same trials, if it’s because of liberal beliefs.

    (I know I’m posting this months after anyone else has posted, but I still had to get my 2 cents tossed in).


  6. We are told to put on Christ and make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14), to put on the armor of God and to stand firm (Ephesians 6:11), to submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7), and when we suffering we are to rejoice (Romans 5:3) for we know that Christ is working through us. That would be the conservative response to problems in our lives. Conservatives certainly are affected by many of the same problems as liberals, but how we approach a solution is different. The liberal in the story above turned to drugs, Buddhism, and reincarnation for solutions and can’t figure out why he’s still having problems.


  7. Get a life. Its television with a different point of view. What kills me are all of you people who claim to be Christians and judge anyone that do not share your beliefs. This I just can not understand. Love thy neighbor no matter his beliefs.


  8. Heh. It always amuses me when somebody posts “Get a life!” as part of their argument, as though posting on somebody else’s website constitutes more of a life that actually running the website.

    Before you criticize Christians, perhaps it would be useful to understand what you’re criticizing. The bible warns us not to judge others, but it also tells us the bible is useful for rebuking. When somebody claims to be a Christian yet posits non-biblical behavior, calling them on that behavior is valid. We just don’t judge them on whether their salvation is assured or not. That’s for God to decide.

    And of course we love our neighbor. Doesn’t mean we love their beliefs. If we truly love our neighbors, isn’t encouraging them to find the narrow door to heaven the highest form of love?


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