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Saturday, May 13, 2006

It could have been worse. I could have gone to Lewis and Clark. 

Found this comment linking my alma mater with The All Powerful Oprah Winfrey:

When I read the article on usatoday.com placing Oprah Winfrey on the Golden Throne of Heaven, I did not know whether to laugh, scream or just vomit. However, today’s winning quote came very close to sending me through all three in a millisecond.

Kathryn Lofton, a professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon provides us with proof that even a college degree doth not bestow immunity from stupidity. Ms. Lofton’s spiritual summation:

“She’s a really hip and materialistic Mother Teresa. Oprah has emerged as a symbolic figurehead of spirituality.”

Right. Ms. Lofton, can you show me the newspaper clipping or video footage of Mother Teresa throwing a hissy fit outside a department store because they would not open the door for her after hours?

One characteristic I never hear anyone ever use in regard to Mother Terersa is “self-righteous.” The same can hardly be said of Ms. Winfrey … especially when her image is at issue.

Here is an eye opener - Ms. Lofton has written two papers analyzing the religious aspects of Oprah Winfrey. Can you believe it? Think about it. Is this where those ever increasing tuition fees are going? To pay professors to write such absurd drivel?

What's weird is that I think Professor Lofton may be right. There are people that worship Oprah. Remember when she said that she would stop eating beef due to a fear of mad cow disease? The beef industry was afraid that her disciples would follow her words and lead the beef industry to bankruptcy. And her original book club "boosted book sales so dramatically that Winfrey quickly became the most important book marketer in any communications medium." If Oprah told her followers to implant a microchip in their forehead to assist in buying and selling, I suspect that thousands would do so.

And not just on this planet:

The current edition of WEEKLY WORLD NEWS reveals that extraterrestrial aliens all over the galaxy actually worship Oprah as a deity.

It's true - or the fact that the Weekly World News ran the article is true:

WEEKLY World News sources have confirmed that a professor at Webster University -- the birthplace of the world-famous English dictionary -- is in possession of a book that was printed on another world. What's more, the thick volume isn't a cookbook.

"It's an alien bible," said 41- year-old linguistics professor, Dr. Emmanuel Johnson, whose skill with foreign languages has earned him the nickname "Magic." "And wait till you hear who their god is!"...

Dr. Johnson found a small, thick book. The cover illustration showed a constellation that bore the unmistakable likeness of Oprah Winfrey. Stunned, he opened the book, which consisted of multicolored, cloth-like materials. The writing glowed when the professor looked at it.

"It was an illuminated manuscript," Dr. Johnson explained. "I was immediately able to translate the title, which is called Their Eyes Are Watching Me. The book was comprised of two sections: A Sacred Alien Testament: Written and a Sacred Alien Testament: Oral."

"The Written Testament is the shorter of the two. Apparently, the aliens didn't like to read much," said Dr. Johnson. "The text explains that Oprahs exist on many worlds. There are probably colonies of them throughout the universe, possibly a Planet of the Oprahs. They all spring from the Oprah who wrote the alien bible. It is likely that Earth's own Ms. Winfrey is descended from these beings.

"The Oral Testament actually speaks to the reader," Dr. Johnson revealed. "Naturally, it talks in the authoritative but reassuring voice of Oprah."

But Oprah is not omnipotent. Here's what the anti-Fox News crowd wrote in October 2004:

Good Job Bushie, you went and got Oprah pissed off you idiot! I don't think they realize that there are about 10-20 million women who worship Oprah in this country and when she talks her audience is very loyal to her.Just let these idiots keep talking, the more they talk and yap their gums the more they get people who don't normally vote more committed to vote. I truly think that on Nov 2nd you will see a turnout of people that you've never seen before. There will be lines hours long at the polling places. The GOPers won't be abe to handle this one. Tune in early on Nov 2nd because it may not last long, once the entire Northeast, Marylnad, Delaware, and DC go for Kerry then Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin go Kerry it's gonna be over and then the only thing to do will be to turn on Faux and get a good laugh... I can just see it now
Hannity" I hope you people know what you're getting into" then he cries....
From Nov 3rd to Jan 20th it'll be a funeral at FOX...

And one person believes Oprah is Antichrist:

Despite the distain of elitist 20th century Feminism, regardless of how one views "the Church," Jesus Christ Himself reached out to women 2k years ago, against the customs of the times....

"Feminists" and soccer moms don't get it though. They view God as oppressive to women, so they'd rather worship Oprah instead, which alarms me.

Christianity Today examined her beliefs:

Oprah's public theology reflects a trend among some African Americans to compile a belief system from several philosophies, [Brenda Salter] McNeil says. "There's a blending that's happening in the African American community now of this kind of New Age, Afrocentric spirituality that has a measure of truth but never forces people into a clear relationship with Jesus Christ."...

[W]hat core beliefs is Oprah turning to now?...Several principles emerge...from a close reading of her show, guests who speak on spiritual matters, and other interviews she has given.

Through her discussions with New Age author and thinker Gary Zukav, for instance, Oprah emphasizes that we are more than physical beings. "I believe that life is eternal," she has said. "I believe that it takes on other forms."

She told Zukav, "I am creation's daughter. I am more than my physical self. I am more than the job I do. I am more than the external definitions that I have given myself . …Those are all extensions of who I define myself to be, but ultimately I am Spirit come from the greatest Spirit. I am Spirit."

Through a succession of guests with eclectic religious ties, including Zukav, Carolyn Myss, Marianne Williamson, Iyanla Vanzant, and Deepak Chopra, Oprah's show has normalized a generic spirituality that perceives all religions as equally valid paths to God. The show also presents an á la carte blend of religious concepts, from karmic destiny (Zen Buddhism) to reincarnation (Hinduism).

"There's this assumption [in Oprah's spirituality] that whatever is really true can be found in many different paths," says Elliot Miller, author of A Crash Course on the New Age Movement (Baker, 1999) and editor in chief of Christian Research Journal. "Out of that, there is an effort to create a contemporary spirituality that is suitable to the postmodern temperament."

Miller, who taught a seminar at last year's Cornerstone Festival that analyzed Oprah's beliefs, calls her a representative of the new spirituality that defines postmodernism. "What we're dealing with is sort of amorphous," he says, "because it isn't some religion that is coming in and displacing Christianity. In fact, a lot of people who embrace the new spirituality would say they draw most heavily from the Christian tradition."

So where does Christ fit into the Oprah brand of spirituality? While Oprah herself makes few references to Jesus, if she shares the views of many of her guests, "she would believe that Jesus is like an ascended master, a God-realized teacher, someone who completely expressed God in their life," Miller says.

Consequently, Jesus Christ is not seen as a personal Savior or God incarnate but as a good teacher who shows us how to achieve what he has achieved. This view renders Christian distinctives such as salvation by grace, redemption through the Cross, the Trinity, and the Last Judgment irrelevant.

Still, it is clear that Oprah retains some elements of her Baptist upbringing. Her show has a "churchy" feel, the theme music has a gospel flair, and gospel artists such as Yolanda Adams, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Wintley Phipps, and Donnie McClurkin are occasional guests. Christian professionals such as Stephen Arterburn, author of several books on therapeutic issues, and relationship experts Les and Leslie Parrott have shared their expertise. In her O: The Oprah Magazine monthly column, "What I Know for Sure," Oprah refers frequently to the Bible, her church background, and lessons God has taught her. In earlier interviews, she has spoken about reading the Bible, praying, and meditating daily. She has also said that her faith has sustained her, and spoken of "the absolute responsibility to live our lives as a praise." A People magazine article about Oprah's Personal Growth Summit tour last summer noted that while she refers to a "higher power" on television, at a Raleigh, North Carolina, summit she spoke "with a preacher's confidence of 'the Creator,' 'the Lord,' even 'my blessed Savior.' "

Oprah's Christian heritage informs her show and magazine in more than cosmetic ways, some observers believe. "She has come to understand some deeply biblical principles about life," McNeil says. "In Proverbs it says, 'As a man (or a person) thinks in his heart, so is he.' I think that she and others have come to understand that we participate with God in creating reality. That we can limit ourselves by how we think, and we can also begin to expand our potential by how we think and what we believe."

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

If Oprah told her followers to implant a microchip in their forehead to assist in buying and selling, I suspect that thousands would do so.

I suspect you’re right. And that is definitely scary. As for her personal spiritual beliefs and the incorporation of them into her show, I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing. She has given millions of dollars to relief work around the world, including Darfur and New Orleans, and inspires others to do the same. She pushes people to love and forgiveness, and thinking of our lives in terms of more than flesh and blood. That can never be a bad thing, in my opinion.

I also agree with the philosophy that “whatever is really true can be found in many different path.” The truth is always true, and it demands that truth be revealed, wherever it is.

The problem I have with Oprah is the fact that she brags about how much she has given, and the same self-righteous narcissism that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for. But if Christ-followers put forth as much effort as Oprah to love and help our fellow man, Jesus Christ would be elevated to his rightful position. And people would be more concerned with getting heaven than getting into the Oprah show. So, in summary, it's our own fault that she has risen to her present status.
Ah, works proceeding from faith again. :)
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