Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Gospel According to Oprah

I sat down to feed Allison the other day and found that my usual 4pm show was a rerun, so I started flipping through the channels. I had honestly forgotten that Oprah was on at that time, since I quit the show over a year ago. Even though I enjoy the “makeover” shows and there are some topics that are fun to watch, I found myself being bombarded with humanistic ideas and morals. It wasn’t worth my time or Godly mental health to watch any longer.

But there I was, stuck in a chair and longing to watch something, so I indulged myself and tuned in, hoping for one of those shows that wouldn’t make me shout at the television. I wasn’t so lucky. On the show was a panel of “experts” (basically all motivational speakers) who had contributed to a new DVD entitled “The Secret.” The secret to a happy life, to financial freedom, to the body you’ve always wanted, etc. . . . What was the “secret”? To quote Oprah’s website, and Rhonda, the marketer, er, I mean, discoverer of the “secret”. . .

“The Secret [is] the law of attraction, which is the principle that ‘like attracts like.’ Rhonda calls it ‘the most powerful law in the universe,’ and says it is working all the time. ‘What we do is we attract into our lives the things we want, and that is based on what we're thinking and feeling,’ Rhonda says. The principle explains that we create our own circumstances by the choices we make in life. And the choices we make are fueled by our thoughts—which means our thoughts are the most powerful things we have here on earth.”

That’s it. Now to give Oprah some credit, she pointedly informed us all that she has known the “secret” for years, but just didn’t know it was a “secret.” She’s been telling us all this for years, and I can attest to that, having turned my mind to mush after watching too many hours of her gospel in the past.

And that is exactly what it is – her gospel. And not only hers, although one could argue that she is the biggest voice of it. It really isn’t that different than what Joel Osteen preaches. God wants to bless you, He wants you to have “Your Best Life Now” and all that is missing is us claiming it! Think it is true, act as though it is becoming truth to you in this very moment and it will happen. And as the best false prophets do, there is enough of a nugget of truth in what they speak that it makes it easier to believe. After all, Osteen is a preacher and uses Bible verses to back up his message and Oprah is very religious herself. And then they douse their speeches with true-life stories of those who have obeyed their commands and who are living gloriously happy lives now. The panel was filled with stories of heartbreak, depression, bankruptcy and financial burdens. But now, now they have conquered it all - and you can too!

I tolerated 10 minutes of it before I was so upset I had to change the channel. Back to the Food Network, where you never go wrong, even if it is a rerun. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since, although, and I mourn the thought that millions are accepting this religion and even expecting God to “help those who help themselves.”

The question remains, what if I do all that I can to make my dreams come true, what if I only think good and positive thoughts and I still feel empty? They never address that issue. What if I make my millions and others look up to and adore me, but there is still a void all the adoration fails to fill? Am I just failing in their “system?” Do I just need to think more positive thoughts? But what does this do for me for eternity? It never addresses how I can get my “Best Life Later!”

It never even stops to think that maybe I am not the center of my universe. Maybe the world doesn’t revolve around me. Maybe getting my felt needs fulfilled are not what will really make me happy. Maybe, just maybe, my suffering here on earth is meant to take my eyes off of myself. It never addresses those ideas.

Thankfully Scripture does. I end my thoughts with the wisdom of a man who had everything a heart could desire. This is what he says on the matter. Too bad Oprah won't give his side of the story any airtime . . .

Ecclesiastes 1
1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

3What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
4A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
5The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.
6The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north;around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.
7All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full;to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.
8All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it;the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
10Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"?It has been already in the ages before us.
11There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembranceof later things yet to be among those who come after.

*Check back soon for one good thing I did learn from Oprah’s panel and for a great refutation of this false gospel.


mitchells2000 said...

Wow - it's scary what our minds get saturated with through the TV and other media. The "blessing" gospel reminds me of another verse... one that I have been thinking about a lot lately. "And God gave them their request, but sent leanness in their souls." Kinda makes you think, doesn't it? Thanks for this post!

Gretchen said...

Pa-REACH it, Nettie! You are TOTALLY RIGHT ON!

I haven't watched Oprah since. . . well, EVER! But I am tempted to think she is so cool and to love her (which, she is a kind of person that women love!), but you are right about the "gospel" that she preaches.

I actually had a teen girl who had terrible problems who I was mentoring say to me "I hear what you're saying, but sometimes when I watch Oprah and I see the people on that and how HAPPY they are, it just makes me believe that it is so true!" AUGH! There you go, solid proof that her teachings are affecting people.

I am so curious to hear what the good thing you got was!

amy manahan said...

I saw this episode. . . well, only a few minutes of it. I couldn't believe that everyone was so mesmerized by this teaching and astoundied that all they had to do was think positively and their problems would just melt away. I think Oprah does some wonderful things for people, but she has missed the boat with the "secret."

Sum said...

I had no idea you were a blogger, too! I saw a few min of that Oprah episode and I had to change made me so sad. I am really enjoying your blog! (I found it through amy's, who I found through callie's, lol) Come visit mine sometime :)

Sydney Jones said...

Consciously or subconsciously we all knew the secret & we have been living with it for all our lives. However what Rhonda & her team have done is that, they have made all of us aware of this fact. I don’t know if the secret will help me achieve all the things that I desire but yes since I have watched the movie I am feeling good & it seems like everything happening around me is great & it will be so for the rest of my life.

I work with a non-profit organization Blog The Bible, where we discuss all the things which can make you happy & also relate to Jesus & Bible at the same time. I think if The Secret can generate the same happiness within all of us then there is no harm in believing the Law of Attraction.

We all have experienced it, whenever we feel good & happy we think of god, we think of Jesus, we think of Bible. So I would say that no matter what everybody thinks but this DVD has surely brought me close Jesus, Bible & at last Happiness.

Sydney Jones

Donette said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! I appreciate your interraction on this topic.

I have to admit, I disagree with your premise. You said, "whenever we feel good & happy we think of god, we think of Jesus, we think of Bible." But what happens when we don't feel happy? Is God still important in those times too?

The Bible teaches that we are not good in and of ourselves. We do not seek after God on our own and we are content to do everything in our own power. The problem is, we are not God and we cannot make anything good happen! He is in control of everything! So this gospel message that Oprah preaches tells us to believe in ourselves and we can make life good. What happens when all our good and happy thoughts still produce death and calamity?

The answer is in Christ. I am glad that you are happy, but I appeal to you that your momentary happiness is nothing compared to the lasting happiness found in Christ. He is the only constant, and only a relationship with Him can make you happy even when life isn't fun or fair.

It is fine to be proactive in your affairs of this life. I do not disagree that we should seek to be happy, but I know that happiness in life, money and earthly relationships will only bring temporary happiness. Oprah's gospel sells short the power of God to bring lasting happiness and compels people to be content with circumstantial joy.

I would love to interract with you some more on this topic. Feel free to comment some more!

Donette said...

Summer, I'm so glad you find my blog! I will for sure check yours out also!

mom2mine said...

I admit I am a regular Oprah veiwer. I do however, regularly quit watching for this same reason. I only lasted a few minutes into this episode. I couldn't agree with you more. This episode is yet another reminder of the people who are defrauded by the Oprah spirituality. Thanks for the post.

Hindto said...

Sis-ta, you couln'dt be more right. I am just checking in and cathching up. Since I am not a TV watcher (except for History Channel) I am always sad at the deception that comes across in some of these shows. What is so sad and scary about her, is that she has such a following and many Christian women "look up" to her as a mentor of sorts. Joel Olsteen philosophy lines right up to hers. The "great" life is just up for the taking. All one has to do is grab it. Which is so contrary to what the Bible teaches. Matthew 10 says:

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e]

37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

This is not about happy feelings or life working out just grand. We are called to carry the Gospel of Christ even above our own families.

also:MATTHEW 6:25-34

Here is the setting for our lesson: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto his stature? And why are ye anxious for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore, be not anxious saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be, therefore, not anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow will be anxious for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is its own evil."

MATTHEW 6:19-24

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The lamp of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be healthy, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and money."

Sorry to get lengthy. I just think the Word of God has all we need for life and Godliness. We don't need to add Oprah or Joel or Joyce's gospel, or anyone else. All we need is Him who came to die that we might live.