I have had SO many e-mails forwarded to me about Oprah's new book push. Josh McQueen, one of the pastors at Overlake (also married to my best friend), has drafted a response to the criticism about Oprah that I find absolutely brilliant....
Check this out...
Thanks for passing these along. I watch Oprah every once in awhile, and I think her show is fairly entertaining when she is dealing with relevant topics. I love that she has informed me about many of the crises happening in the world like the conflict in the Congo where rebels are raping and killing thousands of women and kids every day and about the a fistula clinic in Ethiopia run by a Christian nurse. I also love that she has given great platform to Christians like Rick Warren and the folks at Invisible Children (a group of young Christians who are addressing the child-soldier issue in Uganda).
HOWEVER...I would certainly say that she's no theology teacher, and there are too many Christians who look more to her as their primary spiritual influence than they do their own pastor. If she claimed to be a Christian theology teacher and was spouting off like she does every once in awhile about "Jesus not being the ONLY way because there are many paths to God," then I'd say she was in need of a good sound rebuke X-Hotmail-From: from a solid evangelical theologian. BUT she's a talk show host and she's never claimed to be a Christian theologian.
So, I think that rather than demonizing Oprah (crediting her with "mind-controlling" techniques and inferring that she has single-handedly duped a whole nation into electing Barak Obama is a bit extreme) we ought to go after weak-minded Christians who don't know how to watch TV with a critical mind and toss out the bad theology on her show while appreciating the good she is trying to nurture in the world. Furthermore, if we as pastors were doing a little better at meeting the felt-needs of women in our culture I don't think they would be turning so quickly to Oprah for spiritual guidance.
In the end, these videos are really provocative commercials that are sure to generate some hype among Christian fundamentalists in order boost book sales. The whole concept of these videos comes from what I call the "scare-tactic camp" in evangelicalism that believes that one person (like Oprah or Obama) or one movie (remember all the hooplah about The Golden Compass last Christmas) or something else from our wretched, hell-bound American culture is going to single-handedly (or collectively) destroy the Church and/or cause Christians everywhere to abandon their faith in Jesus for a New Age version of spirituality. This just isn't the case. God is bigger than Oprah and American culture, and the Church has endured for 2000 years. God isn't going to let Oprah take over the universe and the Church isn't going vanish, so there's no need to be manipulated by "Christians" who market their "ministries" through fear and coercion.
Well- you weren't asking for this kind of response but I've heard several people asking the same sorts of questions about Oprah lately, so I figured it was worth putting my two cents in an email. Feel free to forward this around to anyone who might be interested.