Oprah will finally vacate the daily afternoon TV landscape but her presence will certainly not be lost. Her goal of success was never JUST about money; it was about much more than that. It was about clout. Clout, clout, let it all out in a Tears for Fears sort of way. That’s what she did.
Clout can be used for good. And in a common grace (she’s made in the image of God and will do some culturally good things because of that) sort of way, she did. She had wells dug in Africa, she gave away cars to people in her audience. She did some nice things.
Clout can be used to make others’ famous. Oprah brought us Dr. Phil, and I can’t imagine where our world would be without Dr. Phil. Or Rachel Ray. Or Dr. Oz. Although I think we would be just fine without their celebrity.
Clout can also be used for personal gain (the aforementioned probably had some of this mixed in as well) in promoting propaganda. Oprah could arguably-and I don’t even know it is arguable-be the most influential person in America, and perhaps that may be one of her goals. She describes herself as “messenger” with a “message.” And that she is indeed. Below is an article snippet where she discusses her spiritual quest.
What I believe is that Jesus came to show us Christ consciousness. That Jesus came to show us the way of the heart and that what Jesus was saying that to show us the higher consciousness that we’re all talking about here…”
The content of her spirituality remains largely gnostic (though she has obviously spruced it up with other bits and pieces of existential philosophy, religions, opinions), a heresy which popped in the church not too long after Jesus folded his own crucifixion clothing. If general history doesn’t repeat itself, church history sure does.
Some folks want to rule the world with nuclear power. Some folks want to rule the world with their false spirituality. Regardless, the motive is still the same. Oprah and Kim Jong Il aren’t all that different. And honestly, sometimes Christians need to recognize that the same tendencies “freely” dwelling in these folks also dwell in us. They are not our masters, but they often do become counselors.
When we have been given clout or any kind of social influence, we need to take pains that in the end, our goal is that Christ rule in our hearts (Col 3:15) and rule in the world. It would be foolish to think that just because you are a Christian and want to teach, or have any sort of influence in the church, that your motives are pure. Mine definitely aren’t. Here are some questions which might prove helpful in your areas of influence, particularly within the local church setting.
Is your desire to rule or control (Col 3:15)? Is your goal that everyone would have the same convictions you do (Rom 14)? Is your ultimate goal that folks would follow you or follow Jesus (I Cor 1). How angry do you get when someone doesn’t believe something you teach or take the advice you’ve given them? The amount of anger can sometimes indicate you’re mad because you “lost” more so than righteously frustrated over someone else seeking a beverage from a broken well.
Like all idols, power is fleeting and is ultimately an allusion. Looking to Jesus and pointing them to Jesus and His gospel is not only freeing, but it is effectual. If you look to Him, you’ll change. If you point people to Him, and they look, they will change. They may look different than you expected, but ultimately Jesus is molding them in HIS image, not ours. And that’s good thing.
Never forget that you’re more like Oprah than you think, but Jesus loves us more than Oprah thinks. And that too is a comforting thought.