You know who is one of the most influential spokespersons in the world today on spirituality? Oprah Winfrey! Read this quote from a CNN interview which shows that she definitely sees herself and her current mission as a spiritual leader.
“. . . I’m very clear about what my role is and purpose is. This isn’t about me. I am the messenger to deliver the message of redemption, of forgiveness, of gratitude, of evolving people to the best of themselves. So I am on my personal journey. My personal journey is to fulfill the highest expression of myself here as a human being here on earth.” Hence, she is interested in fostering spirituality but not religion. She wants people to turn inward for relevant and spiritual wholeness, not to structures, theological systems or the church. In so many ways, we are talking about one of the most powerful spiritual leaders of our time–more influential and more powerful than almost any pastor or religious leader one can imagine.”
Now, personally I think Oprah is a very talented, confident woman. She obviously wants to understand spiritual things. She is articulate and intelligent. She has a way of engaging folks to talk about what is going on in their lives and wants to help them figure out ways to grow. She is a very generous woman who takes joy in sharing her wealth with a variety of people, especially those around the world who are the most needy.
Now, I also personally think that Oprah’s spiritual advice is most often–well–WRONG, and that those who call themselves Christians in particular need to ramp up their understanding of God’s word as it stands beside Oprah’s words! Let’s take the title to this post. What in the world does this statement really mean? What “nature” are we talking about? are we talking about birds and animals and fish? Are we talking about beautiful scenery and the universe? Are we talking about the nature of mankind?
And, what “spiritual” are we talking about? Are we talking about God, or a higher being, or someone or something beyond ourselves? Are we talking about the deep soul and spirit each of us possesses in this physical body? Are we talking about ourselves as we look inside and ponder what, who, and why we are?
I find it interesting that Oprah will quickly say she is a Christian, but does not talk so quickly about her relationship with Jesus. Read this description:
“Winfrey said her definition of spirituality is living life with an open heart, through love, and allowing yourself to align with the values of tolerance, acceptance, of harmony, of cooperation and reverence for life. She said she believes there is a divine thread that connects spiritually to something greater than ourselves. ‘My favorite Bible verse–because I am a Christian–is Acts 17:28. It says, “In God I live and move and have my being.”‘”
Another time, she said, “Well I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity.
And another: “Christ did not come to die on the cross but to bring Christ consciousness.”
And even another: “And God is a feeling experience, not a believing experience. And if your religion is a believing experience, if God for you is still about a belief, it is not truly God.”
Oprah has a great variety of friends in realms deemed spiritual. When she attends megachurches Potter’s House in Dallas (T.D. Jakes) and Lakewood Church in Houston (Joel Osteen) she raises her hands and amens frequently.. Currently, she is close with spirituality author and speaker Eckhart Tolle, who writes and lectures about “the inner state of your consciousness” and “your essence identify.” Oprah’s Belief TV series in 2015 explored major world religions to display that there is a deep longing inside people to find someone or something beyond themselves which will bring peace, contentment, and joy. I watched several of this series, and did not see a whole lot of peace, contentment, and joy represented there.
Well, In Oprah’s stepping onto “Christian” turf, she’s in territory I am more familiar with. When she makes statements like, “Christ did not come to die on the cross. . .” I can go to the Bible to find these words of Jesus when His death was getting closer. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No. It was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!” (John 12:27-28)
There’s so much more to say–and I’m working on more posts on this subject. On the surface, the title of this post may feel like a “deep” thought to many–and if Oprah said it, it must be true. Right? Hmmmmm. I see it as a thought which can lead us down a myriad of bunny trails which hide the way to the Truth, Way, and Life who is Jesus Christ! (John 14:6)
More scratches on the surface of this topic to come soon. 🙂