“Awakening Your Life’s Purpose”…with OPRAH?

March 4, 2008 at 11:39 am 13 comments

We needed to explain to our kids the other night as we enjoyed “Oprah’s Big Give”,  Oprah’s new Sunday evening show helping people learn to multiply resources to best help needy people, that while many of Orpah’s principles and practices seem “good” and Christian, she sometimes presents ideas in a “humanistic” way.  We need to be careful to discern what is “best”.   It’s a great show!  I learned a great deal from it, but we needed to have some conversation about it.

The kids said, “What’s humantiistic? {they couldn’t say it} What’s that mean?  Is she bad?  She’s giving money to people who really need it and everything!” 

We explained that what she is doing is good, but she sometimes teaches that the best is in us, and that we are in charge of our own destiny–our own positive attitude and outlook are what matters.  Christ teaches, on the other hand, that HE is the power at work in the believer, not we ourselves.  Her line of thinking takes us down a path toward what is called “New Age religion”.  Humanism takes man’s good ideas and makes a religion of them claiming to point to a path toward God.  They seemed to at least “get” that it was something to carefully approach.  Even at 6, 9, and 11, they know who the famed “Oprah” is!

Still thinking a bit on the new show and Oprah, I ran across  a quote from of this well-written blog article I stumbled across last night:

 While in Chicago last week, I opened up the USA Today newspaper and ran across a full-page ad for the free online seminar that Oprah is offering in conjunction with Eckhart Tolle to discuss his book, “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose“.  The plan is to review one chapter each week for ten weeks…According to information I found on the website Berean Call, she has begun a year long study on her XM radio channel on:  ‘the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles.1 A lesson a day throughout the year will completely cover the 365 lessons from the Course in Miracles “Workbook.” For example, 1 Lesson #29 asks you to go through your day affirming that “God is in everything I see.” 2 Lesson #61 tells each person to repeat the affirmation “I am the light of the world.” 3 Lesson #70 teaches the student to say and believe My salvation comes from me.” 

By the end of the year, “Oprah & Friends” listeners will have completed all of the lessons laid out in the Course in Miracles Workbook. Those who finish the Course will have a wholly redefined spiritual mindset—a New Age worldview that includes the belief that there is no sin, no evil, no devil, and that God is “in” everyone and everything. A Course in Miracles teaches its students to rethink everything they believe about God and life. The Course Workbook bluntly states: “This is a course in mind training”5 and is dedicated to “thought reversal.”’  (read full article here)

Did you read that?  “My salvation comes from me?” 

Wow.  The Bible, God’s written word to help us grow in relationship with Him, makes it plain:  salvation comes through Christ Jesus alone. 

Oprah is positive, out-going, and wills good toward the needy.  She is well-respected.  She strives to make herself and the world a better place.  All these are attributes of a “good person” and a good leader. 

However, this kind of wisdom from this class she is supporting is what the Bible refers to as wordly wisdom.  Do you realize that the Bible makes a differentiation between earthly wisdom and wordly wisdom?  

Godly wisdom teaches us the path to life and to fear God, who is the beginning of wisdom, while wordly wisdom is defined by this verse:  “there is a way that seems right {or wise} to man, but in the end it leads to death.”  Now, this type of death describes what  Adam and Eve experienced, not a physical death, but one worse…to be separated from intimate fellowship with God by our own self-willed choices, choices that do not follow Godly wisdom given in the Bible.  Truth is meant to give life.  We can’t experience full live walking in “the way that seems right to man”.  Unfortunately, at times we are too busy watching Oprah to be reading the Bible, I dare say!  We cease to realize the subtle differences in “wisdom” so that anything not clearly foolish begins to sound like godly wisdom to us. 

I’m not trying to blast Oprah.  I really like her as a person.  We can learn a lot from her and she does a lot of public service work I admire.    She has done much good around the globe.  However, we need to learn to evaluate what lines up with Scripture in some instances.  We have to do this with any media that comes our way.  It’s just a little more subtle here and we need to see it. 

Someone commented on the blog article mentioned above, saying that when Christians and other religious groups claim truth above others, we are causing the greatest wars of the world.  They suggest that we reach a Universal religion of tolerance that allows us to just love one another and respect one another’s differences.  Know that the Bible never suggests we pursue peace at the expense of truth.  We experience peace when we apply truth

If we let go of Biblical truth at the goal of this image of ‘peace’, we will on a downward spiral history has never seen.  We will have completely abandoned God’s truth, preferring our own thoughts and methods as if we know the answers.  We will have elevated ourselves to the status of God, just as Satan tried to do when he said, “I will be like God”. 

Know that I hate war, and I have family members in Iraq today I worry about.  But, abandoning the word of God is not the way to peace, finding real truth through Jesus Christ is the way to inner peace AND world peace.  I know every religious group out there is going to claim that.  Our job is to be as persuasive as we can and as gentle as we can, but the Word says, there is “a time for war and a time for peace.”  There are some principles and causes worth fighting for and worth dying for.  War doesn’t solve everything, and sometimes it seems to make matters worse, but through the ages, war has been part of human history for one reason or another. 

Turning in a different direction, last week, CNN published two stories on the same day stating new surveys showing that all Protestant faiths combined now only make up only 55% of the American population.  Barely a majority.  That says to me that we have not cared enough about other people to be pursuasive.  It also means that our public policy will veer more and more toward non-Christian principles because we will soon not hold the majority opinion.  Family values?  Christian values?  Want to see them persist?

I have some personal challenges to deal with here!  Is it possible that we have become so removed and uninvolved in our “praying” that we are not making an impact?  Is it possible that grass-roots love and care can only go so far?  Do we need to learn from Oprah and become more pursuasive, energetic, visible, positive, and helpful to the glory of Christ

Learn, but be discerning!  Be aware when you tell friends, “Oh, I love Oprah!”.  If you care about them, have relevant conversations that inquire about their spirituality and see if they have what they need to be satisfied.  Because if they don’t, they are searching, and if you don’t give them The Truth, Oprah will give them this brand.  Lead them to Christ who satisfies.  Christ Jesus who is THE way, THE truth, and THE life…no man comes to the Father except through Him, who is able to forgive all our sin.

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Entry filed under: Christianity, Religion, Sprituality.

Tornado Drills Possible At Local Schools Today Unspoken

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dori  |  March 4, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Very good explanation! I’ve been a little concerned at some of the sweet, Christian sisters that I have out “there” and at my church who are putting Oprah up on some pedestal.

    First, we should NEVER put ANYONE on a pedestal.

    Second, I’m just concerned at the influence she has and how she is directing particular influence.

    I also read the stats last week about mainstream religion waning in America. Very concerning because I think we’ve let it happen!

    This was a very good post to enlighten!

    Dori

  • 2. Stacey  |  March 4, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Hubby got an email about this course yesterday. Very scary.

  • 3. awomansdevotion  |  March 4, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Great post. I linked it on my blog. We are currently talking about discretion and I think this blog goes well with it!!

  • 4. Kimberly  |  March 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    There was a very interesting commentary in the Messenger Inquirer (maybe Sunday) basically about the fact that they felt Oprah had let her ego get bigger than the cause she fought for and talked about she always had to have her name in the title, i.e., Oprah’s Big Giveaway, Oprah’s magazine, etc. I will have to look and see if I still have the paper. If I do, I will comment more later.

  • 5. "Maggie"  |  March 4, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    The name “Oprah” has become a brand, so I’m not sure how to apply this principle to the rest of us. Oprah uses her name recognition to do big things–it lends instant credibility and good faith. Taken that way, I wish all of us could say the same. But, I see the point, as Christians however, we do have to guard against ego. With as much money as she has total, I don’t see this small part getting to her head, it just seems part of who she is.

    I actually learned a lot watching the show “Oprah’s Big Give” and we will probably continue watching. Contrary to the name, Oprah isn’t doing the bulk of the giving. She is rewarding those who are the best models of taking a little seed money she gives (the first week, 2,500 per team) and making it a blessing from people who’ve been selected across the country who wanted to be contestants to whose job it is to try to work the communities. Whoever could make the event the most creative, big, and emotionally special is the one who scores the biggest. Teams who make irrelevant efforts at fundraising, waste time, don’t get along and show good “people skills” and good public relations, or who don’t really bless the people or family as well as could be done are taught how to do it better by judge critique (she is not a judge) at the end.

    That’s why I actually think there is a lot to be learned from watching ‘Oprah’s Big Give’. Try to watch it and tell me what you think!

  • 6. Mark Doebler  |  March 4, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Hi Maggie! Thank you so much for the kind words about the post on my blog. After reading a few thoughts here on your blog, I would have to say that I think you have a wonderful gift of expression yourself. Not only that, but your content in the above post is dead-on. I think the question you posed to yourself is well said…

    I have some personal challenges to deal with here! Is it possible that we have become so removed and uninvolved in our “praying” that we are not making an impact? Is it possible that grass-roots love and care can only go so far? Do we need to learn from Oprah and become more pursuasive, energetic, visible, positive, and helpful to the glory of Christ?

    We MUST be discerning…but we must put discernment and truth into action. James tells us that our faith without works is dead, ie worthless. It benefits no one. While many Christians stand on the sideline criticizing (and rightly so in this case), others are making things happen and swaying the argument in their favor as a result. We must have a living, vibrant faith to counteract the pervasivenss of the enemies lies.

    Well done blog. I will visit again.

  • 7. mandythompson  |  March 4, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    i have a quote on my bulletin board by the sometimes controversial Joyce Meyer: “When we give, we are more like God than at almost any other time.”

    one thing that i have to remember when we look at subcultures and “false religions” (and modern psychology and the like) is that God is right. He’s SO right that the world buys into His ways, twists it to make it a little more comfortable, and puts a new name on it.

    every lasting “lie” has some element of Truth in it, or else it wouldn’t be believable.

  • 8. graceisenough  |  March 4, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Great post! It seems I never get to watch Oprah, so thanks for the information!

  • 9. johnzwart  |  March 4, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Persuasion is an art and science which Oprah has mastered to a very high degree. It is also something which unfortunately is often lacking among many Christians who attempt to persuade others nonetheless. Becoming persuasive involves work. It involves training and practice and a willingness to commit one’s self to excellence in the endeavour. It’s not enough to quote scripture, and somehow expect that the Word of God will resonate with those who have not yet come to accept scripture as “God Breathed”. Neither is it enough to just pray and hope that somehow God will guide our efforts at persuasion as we “wing it”. We all know many people who have become experts in their respective fields of expertise. Their excellence as doctors, mechanics, engineers, farmers, business owners, etc. is invariably the result of hard work and years of committed training and education. We need to understand and accept that the same is true for this thing called persuasion. It is a profession really. No different, in this sense, than the professions of dentistry or teaching. It involves skills that are honed from years of study and practice and more study. Let’s not just internalize the teachings of the Bible as a defense against humanistic arguments – as important as that may be. Let’s also study “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Let’s study how to ask questions and lead conversations in a non-threatening manner. And let’s show people in our skillful adherence to good relational principles that we are prepared to walk a mile in their shoes before trying to lead them in another direction. Thanks for your thought provoking commentary. You’ve helped provoke my persuasional juices.

  • 10. supersarahann  |  March 4, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Wow, while I am happy to see people actually make a move and understand that they need to change, I am shocked at the whole, “My Salvation Comes From Me” quip. As a Christian, I can see how not so good things can be percieved as movements that can create our own salvation. Thanks for the great ariticle!

  • 11. Kim  |  March 5, 2008 at 7:51 am

    It’s too early in the morning to get deep with my comment so I’ll just say…RIGHT ON, MAGGIE!!!! Thank you for being willing to share your thoughts. Love you sister!!!

  • 12. Misty  |  March 5, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Good commentary here. I’d like to add some “middle of the road” ideas too. On one hand, some people are more than ready to put Oprah and other celebs on pedastals, yet there are Christians who are doing the same with Christian speakers like Beth Moore, Joel Osteen, etc., following them all over, buying every book, eating up every word. We have to be careful in that direction too. Christian speakers and writers are just imperfect people too and our own personal walk with God needs to be developed between Him and ourselves, not by what someone else tells us. Their materials can be useful in studying various disciplines/subjects within Christianity, certainly, but shouldn’t be seen as the total truth.

    The quotes like “Salvation comes from me”–I certainly can’t agree with that one, yet I do think that sometimes Christian teachings can seem to beat people down with guilt and humility, making us feel completely undeserving of God’s (and anyone’s) love, especially those with low self-esteem. Those kinds of thoughts can make people turn toward more of the “new-age” thinking. The “fire and brimstone” sermons, the scare tactics of some teachings sometimes just guilt people into going to church and belief in God.

    I want to teach my kiddos that no one could ever love them more than God does, but also that they have to love themselves first before they can love anyone else. That they were made with a purpose and plan by God, not just made to be sinners, undeserving of His love and grace. He made them with the hopes that they will love Him and serve Him as positive, loving, giving, special people who deserve to be loved by Him and others.

  • 13. "Maggie"  |  March 5, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Well said, Misty, and Amen! I love that Beth Moore discourages people from only doing her studies and often recommends and shares on her blog ones that she does and authors she trusts. There are some authors I just can’t get enough of, because they DO give that pervasive feeling that “I am loved by God” that you speak of. I think most of us need to learn to communicate our faith better in that way…maily by loving people. Most of us are not taking that risk. We need to pray for those opportunities.

    I think the balance of good pursuation and still leading people to seek God FIRST would be a VERY difficult line to walk. I personally hate the feeling of being handled and can recognize it from a mile away…I think most people are like that. You said once, Misty, that people who smiled too much scared you…I sort of feel that way myself. I love happy people, the smile of persuation feels like manipulation to me and veer away from it. Give me real. Give me truth.

    On the other hand, I do admire those popular people who can get big things done for God. That’s probably why those areas ARE a calling…not all of us would handle it well. It takes a great deal of grace, wisdom, and discretion to lead.

    I’ve asked the Lord many times to grow me in grace and keep me away from big things until my walk is able to back it up authentically. I’m sure none of those people are faultless either, but they have the walk to back up even their mistakes with grace somehow. Huge pairs of shoes to fill. Yet, there should be MANY women’s writers and leaders across this nation joining ranks, and I believe their are.

    Loved John’s comment above also…we need to learn to be likeable. It’s hard to share something with a half-hearted attempt to know how to love people. We need to study the art of sharing with people and be GOOD at it. All of us.

    I’m inspired to work on my reading list some. The comments are really challenging me…I appreciate every perspective.

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ME: “MAGGIE”

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Sifting the joy from the mundane:

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I am married to the love of my life, as we raise three children, learning the ways of grace.

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Magnanimity (derived from the Latin roots magn- great, and anima, soul) is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes. Its antithesis is pusillanimity. Both terms were coined by Aristotle, who called magnanimity "the crowning virtue."

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of the American Language defines Magnanimity as such:

MAGNANIM'ITY, n. [L. magnanimitas; magnus, great, and animus, mind.] Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.[1] (Source: Wikipedia)

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