Oprah, You’re Wrong.

Disliking Oprah is like disliking Forest Gump: it’s just not polite to talk about it.  It’s not her celebrity interviews that bug me: I love hearing Cindy Crawford pontificate on motherhood as much as the next gal.  It’s the way she constantly pushes her reckless notions of spiritual life based on nothing but anectodes and superficial thinking.   

There are a lot of people out there feeling empty, broken, needing answers to life’s very reasonable questions: like where does suffering come from and what purpose could it possibly have?  Maybe I’m jaded; my brother is quadriplegic.  But I can tell you that to anyone not insulated by a gazillion dollars and a staff paid to like her, questions about suffering can mean spiritual, and sometimes literal, life or death.  So getting the answer right is important. 

An example of Oprah’s mental negligence comes from today’s “Meditation with Oprah,”  which is Oprah’s way of teaching you to pray. 

In Oprah’s prayer, “If you’re not comfortable with the word God, it doesn’t matter.” You can simply invite anything that sounds good to “come sit in my heart.” Oprah suggests you choose something pretty like “a glorious future” or “love.”  But there’s nothing to stop you from picking Osama Bin Laden or a ham sandwich.  To Oprah, it doesn’t matter. 

Friends, let me tell you that it most certainly DOES matter who you invite to sit in your heart.  Nothing could matter more.  You already know this is true: think about how your own heart would differ if you put cold hard cash in the seat of honor, versus putting accountability to an all-powerful, all-righteous creator in that very same place.  Hint one that Oprah is wrong. 

The truth promised by Oprah is a mirage.  “The universe is not interested in your struggles and your pain and your sorrow” she claims, “It wants you to be joyful. We often struggle because we choose to swim upstream.”  What she really must mean is that “Oprah” is not that interested in your pain and sorrow.  Yes, she makes money from gabbing about it, but I doubt she has any true compassion for it.  Because a compassionate answer to the people of Darfur, or the millions of abused and neglected children in this country, or even the personal pain that every human life will experience, is not: “the universe wanted your life to be easy but the joke is on you.”  Because, hello, the universe is made up of inanimate matter that has no will for you at all.  

Only a personal God, both righteous enough to hate sorrow and merciful enough to do something about it, could be relevant to this subject.  Whether such a God exists, and what it would mean to swim against his will, are the only questions worth investigating.  No one can know everything about God; I don’t claim to have cornered that market.  But that our understanding is limited doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and pray to a ham sandwich.  If you want answers to the questions that matter, why not simply ask God to show you, and start looking?  If, like Oprah, the very word “God” makes you uncomfortable, maybe you’re not ready.  But please, don’t say it doesn’t matter.  

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1 Comment

  1. onegirlfriday said,

    April 16, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    seems we had a pretty good lesson in how to pray , something akin to the Lord’s prayer?


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