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Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Crucifixion of Oprah-- La Fin.

My final questions/rants/observation sabout this video, the email, and things like them can be summed up by looking at how they sign-off on the video. “Christians, time to open your eyes, turn off the TV and pray.”

It is this kind of instruction that creates bitter, uninformed, judgmental, recluse, militant Christians. I believe Jesus would be watching Oprah with us. He would be inviting friends over to watch it. He would bring it up in conversation. He certainly wouldn’t hide and wish it away. He would not send an email. He would not make a YouTube video.

I am not saying not to pray P.S.

What a great time to engage in spiritual conversation. If Oprah is getting people talking about spiritual things then we should join the conversation. The fields are ripe for harvest but the laborers are few—someone once said that. No, it wasn’t Oprah.

I don’t agree with everything Oprah says. Not at all.

I don’t agree with everything our speaking pastor says either.

I don’t agree with all of Billy Graham or Lee Strobel or Bill Hybels or Rick Warren or Rob Bell or . . .

I don’t know that I agree with what I say a lot of the time.

I do know this. We never finish reading the Bible. As soon as we put it down, it is begging us to read it more and learn more. And it keeps asking us questions. The truth is not something we “learn” and wrap up. The truth is. His name is Jesus.

We never have all the answers wrapped up. To think that we know everything there is to know is naïve at best and dangerous at worst.

I’d encourage you to read this book. Watch Oprah. Read your Bible. Talk to others who are already talking about it. Engage. You may think the whole book is crap. That’s okay. Maybe it is. But rather than not reading it and forming an opinion while giving the whole world your best “talk to the hand” and boycotting Oprah, invest in this phenomena and take advantage of the Jesus opportunity here.

These posts are not as much about a defense of Oprah as they are about the way we handle things that seem to oppose our belief system. Ignorance and militant boycotts look really dumb and sad to the rest of the world. I pray we don't have some idiot go flapping his jaw on TV about Oprah being evil. Please God, no.

God, help us to get to the root of the questions, understand the questions behind the questions, etc.

Christians, I dare you to read the book. Then, I dare you to ask a neighbor if they have read it. If it is as popular as they say it is, someone who lives around you has read it. This may be your doorway to a bright future of spiritual conversations and making new friends.

Involve yourself in the conversation. Love Jesus with all your heart. Love others. Live.


bobby said...

Well, JVo, I'm glad you clarified in the post what the point was. I agree with you about the way we tend to handle things. But the last three posts really did sound more like a defense of Oprah.

I love the idea of joining the conversation. I think a scare tactic YouTube video is a little ridiculous. But I'm not gonna lie. I also see some serious issues with the things Oprah believes, propagates, and preaches. Of course that doesn't discount the great things she does, but I do see reason for concern and have for years, before this hype started. I formed my opinion based on things I heard over time, not a stupid YouTube video.

So I think we agree and disagree. I haven't read that book. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. There are lots of things I need to do with my time and I have to decide if reading that is the best use, however, even if I don't put it high enough on my priority list, I definitely see the value. I do remember sitting in Barnes and Noble with my wife flipping through the book, and commenting on some concerns as she read that is just far enough away from the truth to almost sound true, but also be a little scary.

So yeah, join the conversation. And I concede a little in I am glad that Oprah is seeking and asking questions. But i have trouble going as far as defending her position. I do think she is off and pretty new agey.

Nice thought provoking posts man.
Did I just leave a comment or a post? ;)

Anne Jackson said...

i like you a lot.

and i think that people, like o, who are asking spiritual questions, should be defended from our typical close-minded, anti-everything, oh my gosh, the world is going to hell in an oprah-covered-handbasket christian bubble mentality.

my mom sent me that video last night.


John said...

s'cool Bobby. I laughed at your last line. They are good issues to talk about. Most of my spins were just so people see how spins work, ya know?

I am actually way more interested in a life that stands "for" Jesus rather than "against" (fill in the blank).

I get weary of wasting time on odd battlefields.

All Hail King Jesus.

Carmen's Blog of Useles Facts... said...

Hey JVO,
Thanks for the link love. I'm glad that you got my humor on my comment. I thought about that later- i was hoping you knew I was kidding! Don't want you to get the wrong idea! This Oprah stuff is intriguing. I'm going to read all your posts! thanks!

Tim M said...

I like your attempt to spin this stuff, it's really valiant how you go the extra mile to give the benefit of the doubt to Oprah. And I agree the spin doctors can twist anything, you're pretty good at it yourself ;)

Here's the thing that bugs me about the O. In all your responses to the video phrases, you mention Jesus, Oprah does not. It's not "Hail King Jesus" time in the Oprah camp, that's undeniable.

From my perspective it's pretty clear what the issue is. Oprah don't wanna bow the knee yo. She really is a perfect reflection of "spirituality" in our culture. Ya Jesus is great, but he isn't LORD of all, I don't want to give him any "authority", that doesn't "work" for O and the millions of like minded people who want the happy-fluffy Jesus, but not the jealous, hateful(He hates injustice) Jesus.

I don't think Oprah is dangerous. But I do think that the "idea" of dethroning Jesus, and replacing him with whatever "works" for us and doesn't hurt anyone else, but trying to pass it off as just a "new and better christianity" IS dangerous. It DOES lead people away from serving Jesus, and into serving themselves. It's tempting to believe we can just have what we like, our corporate driven culture is built around that idea to some extent.

One of my favorite "The Onion" articles is titled "Oprah Fans Patiently Awaiting Instructions", it's funny because it's soo true ;P

John said...

@Tim M -- yep. gotcha. I'm glad you mentioned spin because that is exactly what I was trying to do--over the top spin. To prove a point.

Again, I just wish we had the same energy to talk to people about Jesus that we do throwing stones at everyone we don't like.

The talk this post has already generated has been more Jesus talk than the average Christian does with any not-yet believer. I'm sad.

Yes, shallow spirituality is dangerous. And also a great opportunity for us to embrace people with the real Jesus.

If Oprah were a Christian pastor I would handle this a lot different. I'd be saying, "Come on Pastor Oprah, tell it like it is and embrace Jesus."

But, she's not. She's a talk show host.

Love you, man. Thanks for the input.

Anonymous said...

I've pretty much stopped taking input from people who only get their information from sound-bites and forwards.

If they haven't read the book, or watched the documentary, or actually done any homework whatsoever, I'm not interested in a conversation.

Great series.

Tim M said...

Again, I just wish we had the same energy to talk to people about Jesus that we do throwing stones at everyone we don't like.

Preach it!

It's easier to throw stones though, plus, it's exercise!

Ric Booth said...

Thanks JVo. We have Toller's book and my wife and I are reading it. We also have "the book" and well, we're reading that too. er maybe the other way around. but hey, thanks for putting some anti-hype down to consider.

adkenc said...

i just have chapter 10 to go. When i'm done i'll let a friend check it out.

Kevin Sturm said...

I appreciate your post here, but you make me a bit nervous. I agree that we as Christians are very quick to jump on a soap box of HATE versus LOVE the person that we may disagree with. We are told by Jesus to LOVE the person and to accept them. But we are also told to cut off any part of our life that is leading us to sin...and sin is real...make no mistake there. Jesus did NOT die on the cross and take away sin (which it seemed you may be implying in your post). Sin is very present and real. I know, I do it every day. He died on the cross and took away THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN. Throughout the Bible something innocent had to die as punishment for sin (note this is not unique to Christianity...though I digress). The punishment of sin is death, and Jesus took that punishment for anyone that will accept that he did so. If you deny it, you deny the gift of no punishment, too.

"The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

His perfection was pure innocence and He died to take away the punishment for our sin (that is so humbling). Accepting Him and recognizing that we are no longer bound by our sin is a freeing thing. But sin exists, it is dangerous, and we must be on guard against it. Alluding to any stance that sin may not exist is something every Christian should be vehemently denying. As a quick side there is also still punishment to's call Hell. And it is as real a place as Heaven, regardless of where either of them actually physically are located. And seriously...who cares where it is interesting thing to discuss and a stupid thing to divide on.

As a quick note, I would like to say that God is a jealous God. But he is not jealous of us as I'm sure you agree with based on your post. God is jealous of any others claiming to be Him. But he is not jealous of them in character but in "claim". Even the Bible says there are other gods humanity worships. But he is The Original and is jealous of any usurper who claims to be so.

Jer 23:30-32 (NIV) "Therefore," declares the Lord, "I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,.. I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, 'The Lord declares.' Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,.. They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least," declares the Lord."

Wouldn't you be jealous and pissed if someone claimed to be you, said a bunch of things that you did not like, and then had a bunch of people follow them and what they said with all of the followers believing that person was you? It's the worst kind of identity theft. I believe the jealousy of God is one of the many things that is poorly understood by Christians and non-Christians alike.

As in all things your blog is a medium to communicate truth...or untruth. I agree with you that all these things whether said by Oprah or your pastor should challenge us to study the Bible. This past Sunday my pastor preached a WONDERFUL sermon on apostasy, and promptly challenged us to be Bareans. The Church in Barea was commended for studying the Bible to find truth in what they were being told, versus just believing it because a person of authority said it. There are many false teachers out there with a HUGE following.

I believe that if you open the Bible to study what Oprah and a Class in Miracles is teaching you will find false doctrine slapping you in the face.

I perceive you personally are not advocating Oprah teaching these things, but it does not look like you are condemning her teaching either. Note that I'm not saying condemning "her". You and I should love her and everyone that watches her, but we as Christians should most absolutely be challenging and openly saying that what she is teaching is flat wrong.

Oprah has proven to be smart, witty, kind, generous, and admired by many. For these reasons she will be followed by many. As Christians both of us should be openly saying she is wrong and what she is having taught through her media empire is wrong. Denying either the true humanity or true deity of Jesus Christ is denying Jesus Christ. And he is the ONLY way to Heaven.

Mat 24:25 (Phi) "False christs and false prophets are going to appear and produce great signs and wonders to mislead, if it were possible, even God's own people. Listen, I am warning you."

Be on your guard and give no credit to these people. Do love them, but give them no credit.

In Christ,


John said...

@Kevin : : : do you blog? I'd love to visit it.

Yeah, man. Agreed. Jesus is God. Heaven and Hell are real. Truth is God's and truth is truth.

I "think" you get what I am saying but then again . . . kinda not.

I want to spend more time in conversation with not-yet believers (everyone will believe some day-eh?) about Jesus. That's how I want to spend my time.

I most definitely would tell anyone about biblical truth as opposed to anything they hear to the contrary on TV. But, I will do it through relationship and love with them.

Not dumb YouTube videos that make Jesus lovers look like idiots who just want to tell everyone to turn off the TV and pray.

Plus, I don't hear Oprah "preaching" as much as I hear her asking questions and exploring. Some of the stuff is crap. No doubt.

What a great opportunity to love our neighbors over dinner and talk about the real Jesus.

You are right. Be on guard.

Thanks for your contribution.

Kevin Sturm said...

I do get exactly what you're saying, and I "think" you and I have the same position on Christianity (it's about relationship) and the Church (there is only one) based on your blog.

I don't know who reads your blog, by the comments it appears a lot of Christians (with interpretation of that word differing among many). But I got to your blog via Ya-ttitude blog who linked to InWorship blog who linked to your four posts on Oprah. I read all four posts, and understood exactly where you were coming from as a Christian who believes there is only one Church (regardless of denominations, buildings, or bodies) and one God who is Triune in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. And that all the hate, dogma, and politics that happen within Christianity make me sick and I'm pretty convinced would make Jesus deny association with many churches around the world. If we spent as much time loving and sharing as we do hating and taking people would think differently of us.

But, what if I wasn't a Christian and only read those four posts? What if I didn't "get" where you were coming from and read them independent of any other post on your blog?

It would be easy for me to read those posts and say you may not agree with everything Oprah says but you definitely support her message. My concern lies there. Make the message clear lest your opportunity to witness is shrouded in sarcasm perceived as truth.

I support the effort and point, just question the entire message. On a side note it looks like you are a musician. Do you know Ross King? Not that you all know each other...

Kevin Sturm said...

Oh...and I do blog. If you click on my profile link it will take you to my profile to which will take you to my blogs.

I love new visitors!