Jesus the Guru: Oprah Web Events

So Christine and the kids are away today . . . they’re down in the city visiting friends and going to show for Haley’s birthday.  I’ve been working around the house today – kinda nice doing stuff around here with just me and dogs.  We have some friends coming over tomorrow so I was given instructions to clean the house from top to bottom so I’ve been vacuuming, and moping around our place. 

I decided to download the Oprah Web Event podcast that she has been doing for the last couple weeks. I thought it would be good preparation for the upcoming series we’re doing at Connexus called Jesus the Guru. Always "fun" to hear what Oprah is up to when it comes to spiritual matters!  Have you heard about these classes that Oprah is doing online everyweek?  Oprah and author Eckhart Tolle are hosting a 10 week virtual "class" using Tolle’s book "A New Earth" as the foundation.  As a tech geek I find it somewhat fascinating.  The pure web content is streamed out of Harpo Studios in Chicago to people all over the globe.  It’s available the following day for free in a series of formats.  Users can connect directly with Oprah and Eckhart via Skype to ask questions.  The response to the "class" has been overwhelming . . . two million people logged on to participate in last week’s class.  Many cultural commentators are drawing the conclusion what we we are seeing born is some new form of "church" with Oprah as the pastor.  The normal "dooms day" voices of Christian-blog-world are calling this latest development with Oprah the sign of the end.  So what were Oprah and Tolle talking about on the episode I listened to today?  . . . .

Jesus.  That’s right.  In the midst of the spiritual self help talk was a pile of talk about Jesus.  It was again a vivid example from our culture of people being incredibly curious with Jesus.  They discussed what Jesus meant by "poor in spirit".  A caller wanted to discuss what was meant by the illustration used by Jesus that if someone steals your shirt you should give them your coat too.  Near the end of the event they talked about the "peace that passes all understanding" and how people might be able to attain that.  I had to smile at these multiple references to the teaching of Jesus on this hugely popular web event.  There is no doubt a bunch of other stuff mixed in with the approach to life presented in "A New Earth" but why is it that people like Eckhart Tolle are still so fascinated with Jesus?   Why are people who are interested in eastern spirituality but are unable to shake the appeal Jesus has for understanding life?  I look forward when we’re going to tackle these issues head on in just a few short days when we launch "Jesus the Guru".  Who can you invite to this series? 

Rich Birch
rich.birch@connexuscommunity.com
Executive Director of Operations
Connexus Community Church

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2 Comments

  1. bill says, March 17, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks for your post, I listened to Oprah's first webinar with Tolle and posted on how Oprah has transcended from talk show host to uber-evangelist.

    you can go to my blog Provocative Church to get the link for the article:

    http://www.provocativechurch.com/2008/03/is-oprah-next-billy-graham.html

  2. Joan Parker says, March 18, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Just wanted to say that it's my experience that The New Earth is not a sign of the end (although I'm not finished yet). Yes, for me the best lessons, guidance, teaching, support, love etc. are to be found in the Best Book – the Bible, with Jesus as the main focus and the Bible was way ahead of Eckhart's ideas. As long as I keep this in mind, I am comfortable with what the Eckhart book can impart. Once again, today, it stimulated conversation that may not have taken place without it. I heard of people who are talking and questioning what else there is, couples are talking together when they weren't sharing such deep thoughts before. I emailed a friend who was going through a bad time, (and who is not a Christian)that the book might help, but at the same time I told her my book of choice is the Bible. I'm not saying Eckhart's book or Oprah are the "answer", but not all people read the Bible and if The New Earth can lead them to the ultimate Truth, Jesus, then it's not so bad. I know there is evil disguised as good, but I have trouble believing this is the case here. I will put my faith in God and trust that He will lead me through the thoughts I have, since I did pray about the book. 🙂 Perhaps God has many different ways to lead us to Jesus – church, pastors, friends, books, teachers…..
    Those that find themselves "worshipping" Eckhart, Oprah or other false idols have not found the answer and we can continue to pray for them.
    Looking forward to the series and being open to other perspectives.

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