Sep 2, 2009

Mother Oprah and the New Consciousness

This photo, of Oprah Winfrey and German spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, always makes me smile. I want to say, "Oprah, dear, remove the eye shadow!" Whatever one may think of Oprah Winfrey, the queen of day time talk shows in the US (and I must confess to a condescending thought or two), she has performed an invaluable service by making the teachings of this gentle German spiritual master available to a wide audience in the US. I have friends who refuse to read any book that is recommended by Oprah's book club because they don't wish to be seduced by pop culture. I would suggest that this is precisely Oprah's great strength in this case. She has posted ten on-line lessons with Eckhart Tolle (here) that are a marvel of economy and grace (once Mother Oprah stops hogging the limelight and actually allows {Meister} Eckhart to speak!). Essentially, Oprah is doing what the mainline Christian churches have failed to do, pardon my generalization, and that is to provide genuine spiritual nourishment to the millions of hungry spiritual seekers among her viewers, people yearning for some genuine access to their own spiritual nature, a sustenance they are not finding in the mainline Churches who are too busy ranting about the evils of abortion and homosexuals. And she is doing this service as a devout, committed Christian. We are all given our small roles to play in life and in the church, and all of us who strive to witness to the Gospels are wounded healers in one way or another. Oprah, God bless her, has been situated right in the heart of bible belt, fundamentalist Christian America, with the clout and the character capable of delivering some knock out blows. In a heated interchange on her program with a very angry fundamentalist Christian woman in the audience, who kept shouting, "Jesus is the only Way! ," Oprah stood her ground and argued quite persuasively, with strength of conviction, that "Jesus can't be the only way. He may be your way, he may be my way, but he can't be everybody's way." It was a master class in pop theology, and I take my hat off to her for this stance and for her vital work of opening up her audiences to the spiritual teachings of this remarkably ecumenical spiritual master.

(click here for a skeptical view of Oprah's "New Age" proselytizing.)