The reason I chose to read this book, by author Stephen Mansfield, can be summed up rather nicely in the subtitle of the book itself, "The Religious Influence of the World's Most Famous Woman". I am fascinated by how people (famous or not) come to their conclusions regarding things of a spiritual nature. I am especially interested in people who influence millions for or against the cause of Christianity and how they came to hold fast their own conclusions and beliefs. The fact that this book is about Oprah Winfrey, is secondary to me as I am not a fan. However I am hard pressed to ignore the impact and influence she wields over many as she opens her stage to the various "teachers" of the day.
Mr. Mansfield has, however won me over to his writing, in this excellent pilgrimage through the life and times of Oprah Winfrey, from her childhood on through her current spiritual stand, he sensitively and thoroughly searches the heart, mind and soul of this modern day mystic. He writes with the pen of a journalist, and the heart of a truth seeker. He writes systematically and seeks to be both objective and yet honest in his presentation. He has interviewed Oprah's family, friends and colleagues as well as those she considers her closest spiritual confidantes.This includes those teachers she has sought to set on pedestals of gold, or at least allow the famous midas touch of being associated with Oprah. This touch sends millions flocking to the bookstores and outlets and secures financial "blessing" and security for those who receive Oprah's kiss of approval.
If you are a Christian who loves everything Oprah, you need to read and examine the philosophy she truly embraces. I encourage you to read this book, as it shows the tumultuous rise of a faith based young girl to the self-made, deity she believes herself to be today. She has taken herself far from her early roots, and she continues to take many along with her, where she is going is the question and answer to be addressed in this excellent read. Personally, I think swimming in Oprah's spiritual waters can be likened to swimming with seals in the shark filled waters of False Bay, South Africa, where Air Jaws is filmed. Deadly if you are in the water, potentially dangerous from the boat, yet fascinating to watch from a safe distance.
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Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze!
Book Information: An evocative exploration of Oprah Winfrey’s religious beliefs, from her rejection of her Baptist upbringing to her controversial rise as “an icon of church-free spirituality.”
Born into poverty in Mississippi in 1954 and rising through talent, hard work and despite tragedy—she was raped at the age of nine and lost an infant son at 14—Oprah Winfrey has become one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and most popular women of her age. These facts alone would make Winfrey worthy of study, yet what makes her of even more profound impact on American society is her decision to champion the cause of “New Age Christianity.” She is, as Christianity Today has proclaimed, “a postmodern priestess—an icon of church-free spirituality.” Rejecting her Baptist roots, Winfrey has become a champion of the Course in Miracles, a seminar in which Christianity is reinterpreted in terms of self-actualization, personal divinity, and self-empowerment. She has also become a disciple of Eckhart Tolle, the increasingly popular teacher of a form of spirituality that blends Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Christianity.
Author Stephen Mansfield explores the Winfrey spiritual phenomenon—much as Mansfield has with figures like George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, and Winston Churchill.