A lot of email forwarding and blogging has already been devoted to Oprah and her “new mega-church” controversy. Here’s the YouTube footage that’s making the rounds just in case you haven’t seen it...
There. Now we’re all on the same page as far as what she’s promoting. Though I’m not completely on board with the sensationalism of this video (the "scary" music, etc.), I agree that its content is a matter of huge concern to Christ followers given the enormous influence Oprah has.
So what does a Christian brutha or sista to do with all this? Actually, let’s start with what NOT to do…
1) Don’t condemn. Sure, she’s wrong, but isn’t one of our Christian precepts to hate the sin and love the sinner? We’re sure not gonna win this war by pointing fingers, calling names, and being hypocrites. If we preach Jesus and Jesus says the greatest commandment is love…well…think it through… YES! Show love, Honey. ;-) Does there come a time to fight for our beliefs? Yep, and this IS one of them. But how we fight will either accrue casualties for the kingdom, or it will attract precious souls. Don't be like the Pharisees who brought the adulteress woman before Jesus to condemn her (and Him!). As He said, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” Anyone? Anyone? Didn’t think so. Me
2) In the same vein, don’t forward the video along with a self-righteous rant. Your credibility is instantly shot as far as fence-riders are concerned and it wins our side nothing. I agree that awareness is important, but if you decide to forward or post the video, PLEASE emphasize love (see #1). Jesus loves Oprah just as much as anyone and He hurts just as much when she doesn’t acknowledge Him as He does when we don’t (even though we may not have a global reach or a following of millions)! He would welcome her with open arms if she turns back to Him, just as He would any of us.
What CAN we do?
1) Pray! And I mean specifically. Pray that Jesus makes Himself as visible to her as He did to Saul on the way to Damascus. And that it has similar results. If those following her every move now are one day told by her, “You all, I met my Jesus face to face. I’ve been wrong…” can you imagine the fruit?! Prayer warriors, Armor up! ALL things are possible with God and He can work even this for His good.
2) Listen. At the office, club meetings, school functions, and the grocery store you may hear of people who are enjoying Oprah’s plan. If the relationship you have with this person is such that you can be frank (though sensitive), seek the Spirit’s guidance as to how you should share your concerns and follow those promptings. If you don’t know the person well or at all, lift him or her up in prayer and ask God to open a door to develop a relationship.
3) Stay grounded in the Truth. Guard your heart wisely and get your daily Bread. Wisdom comes to those who seek it if they seek it in the right place.
4) Seize this opportunity! One great thing about this whole deal is that it gets people talking about their faith. If done according to Biblical principles, this can be a great chance for you to show WHY you’re a believer and share what Jesus has done for you. For example, one of the most notable points would be the whole "empowerment" source. I see it as self-power vs. resurrection power. If I'm watching a loved one die of cancer, would I find enough power and strength in myself, or would being plugged into the same power that rose Jesus from the dead be a more reliable source? Be real, not pious. Be transparent, not arrogant. Go be the “real” light to others. And above all, pray for and hold on to the hope that God will work this for the good of His kingdom.
(An aside to Missy—I ALMOST referred to Oprah as "Okra" in keeping with the influential women/vegetable name thing! God has me thinking about her nearly all the time, just as He had you thinking about Celery. I have not yet dreamed about her and Steadmon yet, though. LOL!) ;-)