Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Oprah and Jesus

I am watching Oprah, which is something I don't often do. I was a loyal Oprah viewer for years, but I stopped when she started really freaking me out with The Secret. Today I was suckered in because the Jon and Kate Plus Eight family was on for the first part. Now she's talking about A New Earth.

It always amazes me how many authors write books that basically tell us stuff that we could get from reading the Bible, but completely divorced from Christianity. Now, I am a believer that truth is found all over the place, and that we can find points of intersection between Christianity and a whole host of religions and philosophies. When new books like this come out, though, I kind of want to say, "Duh, we've been saying that for like 2,000 years" (and the Jews have been saying it even longer, and actually I'm pretty sure lots of other religions have been saying this stuff too). This woman on Oprah just said that she finally understood 1 Corinthians 13 - love is about getting over your ego and getting out of the way. Maybe she would have understood that sooner if we didn't reduce so much of scripture to either fuzzy words or condemnation.

People want to believe in redemption and renewal. I do understand the impulse to steer clear of a set religion, because so often religions oppress, judge, demand, condemn, etc. On her show, Oprah occasionally mentions Jesus, but more often she offers a brand of spirituality that is about making the world a better place in whatever way that means for you. No doubt a whole lot of good has been done in the world because of Oprah's influence (along with a good deal of conspicuous consumption). What the Oprah phenomenon tells me is that people want to make the world better, but they don't want to be told that they have to do it a certain way.

I think Christians can glean some insight from this if we try. God works in a lot of different ways, so I think that any movement that makes people try to do good is a good thing. The question is, how can we do a better job of meeting spiritual seekers where they are, and helping them to know God's love as they explore their purpose?

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