Sunday, February 28, 2016

corroborated by an angel

Way back during my formative years, my family wasn't impoverished, but we were...frugal. The audiovisual entertainment options were limited. There was one TV set (although later there were two) connected to the outdoor antenna. The list of channels was whatever that antenna could receive with enough clarity. On top of that, my parents were choosy about the shows they'd allow. As a result I saw plenty of shows because others in the room had chosen them, not because I particularly loved to watch them.

Touched by an Angel is in that group. Angels who looked exactly like people infiltrated hapless lives to deliver encouragement, advice, and maybe scolding. If memory serves, in these episode climaxes the angel would finally announce their otherworldly status as an inexplicable overhead spotlight would illuminate them. They'd further announce that, contrary to earlier indications, the intervention's recipient was loved by "God" (the show's purposeful nonspecificity about this monotheistic deity irritated devout watchers). After looking up the list of seasons I think we stopped watching the show regularly after the fourth season. I haven't been inclined to return to it since.

Although in my opinion the premise didn't generate a noteworthy show, it did channel the popularity of angels. One aspect of this popularity is easy to comprehend: angels show up. Everyone needs aid sometimes. Angels represent the supernatural domain reaching out in love. Nevertheless, not long ago I had the stray thought that this model of angel activity is massively squandering them. In a number of ways they're gravely missing chances to accomplish more.

I don't mean that thousands of angels should be sent instead of a few. I mean that their actions should be more strategic and less piecemeal than on the show. For convenience, I'll give my hypothetical angel a name: Zerubbabel. To attract due attention, he shouldn't look exactly like a person. His appearance should raise questions and not blend into the crowd. He should come to Earth at a publicly visible, frequently passed location. Ideally he shouldn't materialize with a sudden pop and stand serenely on the ground. His introduction should radiate unignorable flair and pomp, though he shouldn't be dressed for war or carrying weapons.

Once he's here, he should communicate as quickly as he can to as many people as he can. Multiple languages are a necessity. He should consent to meet with the media. He should be patient and cordial when he states and restates his messages. Zerubbabel should respond to both sincere and incredulous lines of questioning. He shouldn't refuse to speak with anyone who's seeking a respectful conversation. He shouldn't be deceptive or evasive. A quote from him might be "I don't know," but "How dare you ask me that" shouldn't be.

I've mentioned that Zerubbabel shouldn't too closely resemble humans. As part of that, he should invite medical examination. Tests of his form should be carried out. He shouldn't be an untouchable glimmer. He shouldn't be a disembodied voice or hovering in the clouds. He should be accessible—open to social customs of body contact. He shouldn't be blinking out of sight and emerging elsewhere. If he has those capabilities, he shouldn't exercise them to increase his mystique by frustrating benign curiosity.

Even so, his inhuman talents should be prominently displayed. Under a broad scope of conditions, with little preparation or protestation or perspiration, Zerubbabel should perform beneficial spectacles. He doesn't need to be godlike. But he does need to somehow repeatedly substantiate that he's a being on a different level than humanity, who's speaking from a superior frame of reference. To eliminate accusations of trickery, he should welcome negative feedback and immediately perform past spectacles with the requested changes. The surroundings should be well lit and never previously visited by him. There should be several expert witnesses in the vicinity, if at all possible. There should be unrestricted recording devices, close-up and wide-angle.

I imagine my oppressive demands sound overdone, cynical, and inhospitable. Accepting them would still be worthwhile for an invaluable prize: redefining the unending dialogues on God-pertinent topics. Good-hearted Zerubbabel's utterings would force revolutionary readjustments to the viewpoints of millions. Based on the history of civilization, revising the outlook of many has greater effect than fixing the situation of a single victim. Everyone searching for proof of or guidance about the spiritual plane could look to Zerubbabel as a primary source.

...then again, hearers who disagree might just denounce him as a demonic deceiver, an extraterrestrial spy, or an insane accident of nature.

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