Ranked as the world’s most influential woman, Oprah Winfrey is undoubtedly a woman who has inspired millions with not only her wisdom, her wide circle of connections, but also with her very own rags to riches story. Although much ink has been spilled over her questionable influence in matters of spirituality, this post is not about her, instead it is about the church.
In 2005 a national survey of pastors was conducted, asking each of them to name the books that have most influenced them. The Purpose-Driven Life was the most frequent response. Authored by America’s pastor, Rick Warren, the book which has sold the most copies of any book in print, excepting only the Bible. Warren, who has amassed significant wealth as a result, retains a significant level of influence including the ear of the President of the United States.
Here is where we play the game regularly found in copies of the children’s magazine Highlights: circle the differences in these two pictures.
It is often curious to people why I would wish to engage in dialogue with atheists, especially when I emphasize that my intention is in no way to convert or subject them to Christianity. It comes at even a greater curiosity on both sides of the table for me to suggest that these conversations help me to actually strengthen and enrich my own belief. In reading the book Christless Christianity by Dr. Michael Horton of the White Horse Inn radio/podcast, I ran across a few passages that may begin to help answer that question:
The search for the sacred has become a recurring cover story for national news magazines for some time now. Although this search is often identified as an encouraging sign of interest in God, it may be more dangerous than atheism. At least atheism makes arguments and shows an interest in a world external to the feelings of the inner self. Furthermore, after each round of this quest for the holy grail, evangelicalism itself looks more and more indistinguishable from the ooze of pop spirituality more generally (page 159-60).