Touched by Facebook
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
In the fall of 2018, God Friended Me debuted on CBS. It's the story of an atheist whose father is an Episcopalian minister. This atheist received friend requests from the God Account on his Facebook page. His task is to seek his "friends" out and help them because they need help. It's an ironic plot because Miles (the lead) doesn't believe in God. He lost his faith the day his mother died. Because of this, he's been at odds with his father. Throughout the first season, Miles helped his "friends" who in turn become his friends. During this journey, Miles and two of his friends try and discover who is behind the God account.
From 1994 to 2003, Touched by an Angel was a popular television show on CBS. The plot for this show had to do with an angel (Monica) under the supervision of her "supervisor" (Tess), to help people in need. Every week Monica was given an assignment. In some episodes, Monica doubted her faith in God but in the end she would see His Hand in the miraculous ending.
God Friended Me and Touched by an Angel are very similar in their plots. They both deal with God and they both have a task during the one hour. And along the way, the main characters learn about themselves and those around them. However, there are distinct differences between these two shows: Miles' atheism and Monica's faith in God.
In God Friended Me, Miles remains an atheist. He believes that there is some genius computer programmer/hacker behind the God account, selecting the "friends" for Miles and gang to help out. It turns out that Miles and gang discover that the God Account creator is using predictive anlaytics to send them their next assignment. Predictive analysis uses statistics, data mining, and predictive modeling to determine an outcome in the future. In Miles' case, his next "friend."
In Touched by an Angel, God chooses Monica's assignment. Whenever Monica wonders why she's supposed to help a particular person, she's reminded that God has a plan for each and every one of us. Also, Monica knows that God is directing her. She may doubt her faith in Him but still believes in Him. Usually the end of the episode is a happy ending but on occasion, there were some "grab the nearest tissue" necessary moments.
Monica's trust never wavers in God. It's the same with Miles except his faith is based on an algorithm. He is assured that the creator of this algorithm knows why his program selected his "friends." Monica's and Miles' journeys are the same. They seek out the people that are in need but also make friends along the way. Monica is inspired by God (she glows) to pass along His message. When it's time for Miles to be inspired, it comes from the heart. When Miles speaks from the heart, it's truly God who is speaking through Miles.
And because of that, I think that Miles will eventually believe in God. He and his friends will never find out the true author of the God Account. And that his conclusion will be that God is really behind the God Account. It will be interesting to watch Miles' journey from disbelief to belief. Even if I'm proven wrong, Miles is still being a Christian because he is putting love thy neighbor into action. He gives his "friends" hope that all will turn out well and it does. He sees God in action when Miles helps out one of his "friends." What's nice about Miles' journey, is that he sometimes comes across a previous "friend" request. One of my favorite episodes dealt with a private detective friend (Ray) who adopts a child in foster care. Because of Miles' help, the private detective turns up once in a while to lend a hand to the God Account crew. Because Miles does unto others, others do unto him and help him out when needed.
As for Monica, she encourages hope and faith that God will guide her assignments on the right path. All they need is faith. He will not let them down as long as they follow Him. God is telling Monica's assignments that his "...yoke is easy and [his] burden is light." (Matthew 11:30). She brings them this message to comfort these people who are in need of some type of hope. Nothing is more important than love of God and through God's love, all love is possible for our family, children, spouses, friends, neighbors, and enemies.
For both these shows, God Friended Me and Touched by an Angel, faith, hope, and love are the underlying themes. For Monica it's her unwavering faith in God that aids her during her journey. For Miles, it's his unwavering faith in the God Account's algorithm that helps him in his journey. By the end of Touched by an Angel, Monica is up for promotion and her faith is tested. And by the end of season one of God Friended Me, Miles no longer worries about his "friend" requests. He understands he's on a journey and the main thing about the God Account is that he's there to help thy neighbor during their time of need.
The similarities between these two shows is ironic in that both main characters are at completely opposite ends of the faith spectrum but their journeys are very similar and the outcome is also very similar. I think they're both doing God's work (as far as TV is concerned).