No one who is paying any attention could fail to notice the vast impact which Oprah Winfrey has exerted on the discussion of spirituality, religion, and traditional orthodox Christianity in particular. Having been raised largely in the “Bible Belt South” under the direct instruction of its Orthodoxy, she has personal experience with the associated theology. Unsurprisingly, many religious traditionalists have attempted to thwart Oprah’s efforts to influence the national religious consciousness, by openly “trashing” her program and its spiritual debate.
For these “Christians”, Oprah’s optimism, benevolence, and promotion of unity and community outside the structure of the traditional church are anathema. To them there is no room for demonstrating the spirit of Jesus’ message to humanity unless the activities are vetted and approved by the established church and consistent with its dogmas. Altruism and a compassionate nature and manner, separate from strict promulgation of traditional theology, must be viewed as threatening and therefore vehemently opposed. Such activities obviously divert attention from one’s eternal destiny and the importance of the church as God’s instrument for instruction, correction, and supposedly transformation.
As I ponder the impact of Oprah’s religious discussions, I am reminded of the recent best selling book, The Shack, in which the author depicts God as a black woman. I’d almost have to conclude that the author had Oprah in mind as God’s representative when he chose that particular character to represent the Creator. The “challenge” this depiction represents to Orthodoxy is just too obvious. What an irony it would be if God would use a black woman, born and raised in the South, as His instrument to finally destroy the spiritual illusions perpetrated by the church for so long.