SPIRITUAL focus on television

Seeing the 'face of God'

As the opening credits roll on the Friday night CBS series Joan of Arcadia, the theme song, "One of Us," plays in the background, posing provocative questions about God. What would you ask God if you could meet Him face to face? What if He were to appear as one of us?

And those questions pretty much sum up the theme of this program about a teenage girl, Joan, and the surprising way God shows up in her life to give guidance, make requests, and provoke her to trust Him when answers don't seem apparent. Often the trick for Joan is even to recognize when it is God talking with her. Because the voice of God doesn't break through some Sistine Chapel-inspired clouds, nor does she witness a burning bush of undeniable metaphysical glory. Rather, in the most mundane circumstances, God might appear as a fellow passenger on a bus, a handyman at the high school, a child in the park. Sometimes Joan mistakes a random encounter with a stranger for divine instruction, only to discover she's talking in circles to a very confused person.

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