Our local newspaper recently ran this article on Oprah as a kind of spiritual teacher in our age. My first reaction to these kinds of religious realities in our day and age involves a knot in my stomach and a growing sense of depression and inevitability. I find it extremely telling that many people find someone as religiously uncommitted and yet spiritually so public as Oprah to be their best spiritual guide. How did we get here?
I would not be surprised if the church has brought some of this upon itself. We have become so “relevant” to pop culture, I wonder if most simply don’t see a substantial difference between their local mega church and Oprah. Add to that the dismal statistics on the church’s trust level with the general populace, and you have a recipe for invisibility.
Additionally, it speaks to how shallow our culture at large has become. People no longer grasp the depth of spiritual and eternal issues, and they feel perfectly comfortable learning about them in the same places they learn decorating and personal hygiene tips.
UPDATE: Some further thoughts on the big O and the "theological stupification" of American christians can be found at the ever-thoughtful Culture Watch.