UN-TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL


   
Hollywood, the religious and cultural center of America, has rediscovered America's fondness for the supernatural again.  Not-so-suddenly "magical realism" is the popular format appearing in a bevy of movies and television series, from Beloved  to Touched by an Angel.   A woman in my state of Georgia has been having regular, private discussions with the Virgin Mary and thousands have hung around to hear a play-by-play -- this in a predominantly Southern Baptist state that would have been appalled by such actions in past generations.  Perhaps the Baptists are just too busy with that "homosexual thing" to be bothered by Catholicism anymore.
 
    None of this has much to do with my life or anyone else's that I know of, but it may tell us something about the national character.  The need for direct, supernatural involvement in our lives shows that something is missing here.  It isn't enough that we have wealth, property, education, retirement funds, housepets, cable TV and computers.  Now we want the Creator of the Universe to directly help us with our problems.  I don't know about you, but to me this reveals an egotism on the part of Americans that may be dangerous.

    And it certainly isn't Christian, regardless that we dress up the characters in angel suits and halos.   Christ acted very "earthy" even when he was being supernatural.  On the road to Emmaus, the apostles didn't recognise him at first.  He was just a guy-in-the-road.  At post-cruxifiction appearances there was no glowing, no background music, no beating of angels' wings.  It was a century or more before anyone even began getting visionary, such as the author of Revelations.  The original Jesus of the New Testament came among us as an ordinary man and told us that we ourselves were of the nature of God ("children of God").   If He did a few miracles, He didn't make a big spectacle of it and seemed to be impatient with those who needed to see such things as part of their spiritual awakening.

    Jesus would certainly be impatient with Americans today.   We love shows about angels doing things for us.  We wait eagerly for lottery tickets to make us stinking rich.  We want God's Mom to come down and give us a talking to every now and then.   The Jesus who walked (not floated) around a backwater country teaching a gospel of compassion and charity would probably tell us to knock off waiting for spirits and direct signs of God's involvement in our personal lives and become a lot more serious with our assigned task of being His agent for compassion, kindness and joy.   Sorry, no background music or special effects are  available.