I sometimes wonder what it might be like if God had his own TV show.
Would it be a talk show where he’d give away cars like Oprah? Or would it be a news magazine where he’d put politicians on the hot seat like “60 Minutes”?
Would he produce a late-night show with a corny monologue and wacky guests?
The show could be titled “Faith Lite,” with the accompanying disclaimer: “Faith portrayed on this show is meant for entertainment purposes only. Any attempt to reproduce this faith may result in a case of the stupids.”
Personally, I think he’d do a game show. After all, there are several examples of game shows that could portray faith-seeking contestants.
“Deal Or No Deal” Subtitled, Name-it-claim-it, contestants use the theological strategy promoted by some televangelists by shaking their fist at the god in the overhead booth, “Make me a millionaire or I’ll replace you with a god who can!”
“The Price Is Right” These players will only accept faith if the price is right. They remind me of the joke about the woman who quickly accepted a man’s seedy offer to have relations for $1,000. Amazed at the woman’s easy acceptance, the man asked, “Well, what about $100?”
Indignant at his price-slashing attempt, the woman asked, “What kind of woman do you think I am?”
“Madam,” he said, “We’ve already established what kind of woman you are, we’re simply haggling over your price.”
“Dating Game” In this show, God plays one of three eligible deities. Contestants in this game are telling God, “Answer my questions right, and you’ll get a shot at getting to know me better.” For the self-centered godless contestant, it’s all about the privileged “date” he or she will grant the winning deity.
“Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?” I think God would like hosting this one. He’d root for the fifth-grader so that contestants would experience the humbling truth in Jesus’ challenge: “Approach God with the simplicity of a child, or you’ll never win.”
“Jeopardy!” This show challenges the contestant who glibly proclaims, “Jesus is the answer.” A “Jeopardy!” game with God might teach us all that the hardest part of life is learning to formulate the real questions.
Truthfully, I think God might do best with the reality game shows.
“Amazing Race” God likely would rename this one “Amazing Journey,” because life isn’t a race; it’s an amazing journey. Contestants would score when they stopped their harried race to express awe and wonder about their surrounding creation. The person in last place would be the winner under the rules of Mark 10:31: “Many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
“Survivor” This is where many of us live — alone on an island. Having been tested in life’s most difficult ways, we’re hoping to survive. Folks are dropping out all around us, and some have even been booted off because of us. Simply surviving is no way to live, but it’s where some of us have to go before we discover God.
“Biggest Loser” This is the show God must identify with the most. It highlights Jesus’ paradoxical message: “If you try to save your life, you will lose it. But if you give it up for me, you will surely find it.”
At the end of the day, of course, faith is no game. But like many game-show contestants, you’ll find that faith is intentional, meaningful and joyful.
But above all, faith always will include grappling with hard questions and discovering our wins in our losses.
Norris Burkes is a syndicated columnist, speaker and author of “No Small Miracles.” He also serves as an Air National Guard chaplain and is board-certified in the Association of Professional Chaplains. You can call him at (321) 549-2500, e-mail him at [email protected], or visit his website at www.thechaplain.net.