Last week our church started the series based on what God would say to a number of celebrities. We started with Oprah. To listen to the podcast go to: www.godfirst.co.za .
I was surprised to hear that Oprah started off very strong in the church and actually used to be teased about her preaching tendencies. Yet somewhere along the way she turned from traditional religion and started following the New Age way of believing. Somewhere along the way Oprah decided that there are many ways to God and the inner truth is inside you. Beliefs that remove Jesus from the equation, for the Bible says He is “the way the truth and the life”.
Oprah’s rise to fame must have been something of a wonder to watch and behold. Nearly overnight she became a worldwide phenomenon, a household name and billionaire. Her influence was so intense USAToday is quoted as saying "a spiritual leader for the new millennium, a moral voice of authority for the nation.".” She became in herself a movement that professes that, "at the “church of Oprah" there is no sin, no need for salvation, no heaven, no hell - YOU are God”
So what happened? Did the church forget about her, or did the church not keep up with her? Why is it that so many celebrities walk the journey of their lives WITH the church but heavily IN the world? They attempt to find solace in the church but look for answers and some form of healing in the world? Why are Christian celebrities the exception and not the norm?
The cry we hear from many people is that the church has lost relevance and is out of touch with the needs and situations facing celebrities (and singles). This may be true but are we expecting too much from the church or has the church, as a body, hyped itself up to such an extent that people believe it has the answers to all life’s issues? And if it does, why does it lose so many along the way?
As I see it celebs (much like single people) find themselves a little bit out of their element when it comes to traditional churches. Their lives are not the norm, they face different set of circumstances that sometimes people in the church are unable to relate to. This can leave people feeling frustrated and in turn out of place when they realize the very place they have turned to for answers has no idea how to handle them.
Another reason could be the church has been criticized to submission and they are no longer assertive enough in their mission. New Age teachers were constantly on Oprah’s door, filling her with their teachings. Shifting her focus. Changing her mind. Where was the church? Sometimes prayer and love isn’t enough. Do as the Jehovah’s Witness do and knock on that door!
There are many questions stemming from all this and I don’t have the answers as yet but hopefully at the end of this Celeb series I will.