Thomas Ramey Watson

What if God Was One of Us

So the title song from the prize winning CBS television series Joan of Arcadia (2003-2005) begins. Taking seriously, and creatively,  the core belief that God becomes human in incarnational

theology, the series writers have God appearing in various human guises to a young woman, Joan, who promised God that she would do anything if he allo

wed her brother to survive a car wreck.

Paralyzed from the waist down, the young man survives, testing the family in ways they’ d never expecte


This, thank God, is a functional, rather than dysfunctional, family (what we usually see).  They communicate, even though it’s difficult when the issues are threatening.  They love one another and manage to keep the family intact, despite the tests that come at them from every angle.

Appearing as a young girl wearing bee antennae, an old lady with glasses, a transient, a teenage boy, and so on, God tests Joan by asking her to perform tasks that seem trivial, confusing, and even contradictory.

However, they always end up improving the larger situation, for the repercussions of our actions and

our lives are manifold.

If we fail to reach out and take risks, we won’t make the connections that benefit us all.

Syfy channel has been re-running this series lately, so that’s how I was reminded.  I wish it hadn’t ended because there was so much more they could have been done with it.  If we pay attention, God–or God’s messengers, if you prefer–do come to us, calling us to do good and be hopeful.  The positive message about the necessity of sticking together first as a family, and then as the larger family of those around us, is especially vital in troubled times like ours.  We will survive–and thrive–if we keep this in mind at all times, especially when

we are being tested.

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