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The God Who Delegates

From Moses to most of us, God works through an unlikely set of characters.

Your mission: a documentary film series about religion for PBS. Great. One more yawner of an assignment. "Explore images of God through the ages," or some such abstraction, they say. Just fine. Who comes up with these schemes? For starters, the central character is invisible. Well, until someone thinks of a way to arrange an interview with God himself, they'll have to settle for vignettes about God.

Fourteenth century B.C. Begin with helicopter shot of the Sinai peaks. Uninhabited area, so no TV antennas to dismantle, etc. Zoom to a clump of Bedouin extras impersonating ancient Hebrews. Voice-over on how they eat, what they wear. Camera settles on a Jewish boy about 12 years old. Interrupt him from play and call him over.

"Tell me about your God. What's he like?" narrator asks.

Boy's eyes widen. "You mean . . . you mean . . ." Can't bring himself to say the word.

"That's right, Yahweh, the God you worship."

"What's he like? Him? See that mountain over there? [Cut to volcano. Lots of steam, ...

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