"I believe in Oprah"

Laraine Bennett

When Oprah Winfrey recommends a book, it shoots to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. When she tries a new face cream, it sells out in the stores. If she touts a non-traditional medical cure, such as “bio-identical” estrogen, millions believe.

Evidence of her “special brilliance,” as the Newsweek cover story puts it. Though she recently dropped to second place behind Angelina Jolie as the world’s most powerful celebrity, there are 40 million women who believe whatever Oprah says.

Newsweek authors Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert are scandalized. Oprah could easily “summon the world’s most learned authorities” on any of the wide-ranging topics she pursues—from cancer cures to busting cellulite—but she doesn’t. Instead, she welcomes wacky celebrities gushing over chelation therapy and quack medical advice from unreliable sources. Kosova and Wingert solemnly warn us that sometimes these “miracle treatments” are “questionable or flat out wrong, and sometimes dangerous.”

What? You were expecting a dispassionate CNN?

Isn’t that precisely Oprah’s appeal? She is just like us: a little overweight, a little low on self-esteem, a little gullible. Despite all her millions, she too is seeking a miracle cure for cellulite, wrinkles and menopause. She is seeking the meaning of life, and perhaps Suzanne Somers has found it!

Oprah is helping women everywhere to lose weight, look more beautiful, become more fit and healthy--and even, perhaps, reach transcendence. In a recent issue of “O” she offers us “those shots of real transcendence that restore you, take you deeper into truth.”

The deeper question here, beyond Oprah’s putative responsibility to provide balanced reporting, is: why do so many women turn to Oprah to help them “live their best life”?

Like Naaman the leper (2 Kings 5) we want our cure dramatic and powerful, from a king. We don’t want to get it from a backwater prophet in Israel. We want flashy, dramatic, preferably delivered by a celebrity.  Like Naaman, we want to believe that the world, with all its wonders and complexities, can answer our deepest longings.

Naaman is told to wash seven times in the Jordan. He is angry that there is no fanfare, that he has to wash in an inferior river. But the true prophet delivers his message and his cure humbly, simply. The rest is up to us. How many times do we complicate our lives, when what we really need is the Divine Physician? He came as a humble babe, to a backwater town, with the good news of salvation. His message is simple, his voice a whisper. Our cure is to wash in the waters of forgiveness, to trust in his love.

Like it or not, Oprah is a messenger of our times.  But it’s not always the right message, at least in my view.  So tell me…what’s your feeling on Oprah and her influence on women?

Topics: Culture , Current Events , Women's Health

Laraine Bennett co-authored, with her husband Art, The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse and The Temperament God Gave You, published by Sophia Institute Press. Their new book, The Emotions God Gave You, is due Spring 2011. Please visit their website at http://temperaments.sophiainstitute.com/.

View all articles by Laraine Bennett

Ads by Google
(What's this?)


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)



Abortion (42)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (2)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (14)  Church teaching (28)  Contraception (22)  Culture (119)  Current Events (85)  Dating (15)  Death (4)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (12)  Eucharist (3)  Exercise (3)  Faith (213)  Family (86)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (12)  Fertility (2)  Fitness (1)  Food (2)  Forgiveness (17)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (2)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (14)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (12)  Liturgical Year (9)  Marian devotion (8)  Marriage (33)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (1)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (4)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (55)  Movies (1)  Music (4)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (44)  Personal Growth (105)  Politics (3)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (31)  Pro-Life (26)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (4)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (10)  Saints (9)  Scripture (6)  Service (8)  Sexuality (18)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (2)  Suffering (13)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (3)  Women's Health (20)  Workplace (12)  Writings of the Saints (8)  Young Women (39) 


Liturgical Calendar

April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Gen 1:1-2:2
Gospel:: Mt 28:1-10

Saint of the Day

Blessed James Oldo »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: