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Divine jealousy, Divine love, Echart Tolle, Oprah

>Oprah on Divine Love and Jealousy

>Apparently a bit of an internet buzz has developed over a video clip of Oprah and her spiritual adviser/colleague/”?”, Eckhart Tolle. (I’d provide a link but I’m lazy. Besides, you’ve already received no less than five emails with it anyways.) In the video, Oprah explains to a viewer that the point at which she broke away from Biblical Christianity is when she heard a pastor proclaim that God is a jealous God. “Jealous of me?” a dumbfounded Oprah asked. I could go into what a colossal ego it takes to hear the phrase “God is a jealous God,” and to automatically assume that it means that He is jealous of YOU! I mean, I understand that Oprah is, indeed, the most powerful woman on the planet, but even she could manage some humility. But, that’s not really my point in writing. Oprah further responded that she rejected Biblical Christianity because she believes that God is love, but not jealous. This comment struck me on a couple of points.

First of all, it is a perfect illustration of what I’ve come to call the “buffet spirituality” that is prevalent in American society today. You know how a buffet works. You load your plate down with the stuff that you like, but you stay away from the stuff you don’t. Like the idea of a loving God? Then pile some of that on your plate! Don’t like the idea of a jealous God? No worries, just move down the buffet line to the next “item” awaiting your consideration. Let me just say, before I move on, that if God is truly God, then you and I are not given the privilege of defining Him by our personal preferences! And if we can define Him by our whims and desires, then He is not a God worthy of worship and devotion.

(It’s interesting that, in the same video clip, Oprah quotes a section from Tolle’s book in which he proclaims that religion is the product of men “making God in their own image.” There is certainly truth to this statement, but what is ironic is that neither Oprah nor Tolle recognize that they are doing exactly that. But, enough about that. On to my actual reason for posting this.)

I began to think about the tension between love and jealousy that Oprah felt, and in that I could initially identify with her. As I thought about the fact that 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “love is not jealous,” and 1 John 4:8 says that “God is love,” I began to wonder, “then how can God be jealous, as the Bible clearly states in many places (including Exodus 20:5,34:14 & Deuteronomy 4:24,5:9,6:15)?” Initially, this appears to be a great contradiction. So, how are we to reconcile this?

The apparent contradiction begins with a limited definition of “jealousy.” When we think of jealousy, we instinctively think of being envious “of someone or their achievements or advantages.” Using this definition, it is correct to state that someone is jealous “of” the other person. This clearly is an ugly trait and is, in fact, sinful. Thus, we can state with absolute certainty that God is, without any doubt, not jealous “of” the phenomenon that is Oprah.

But there is a fuller definition of jealousy. Jealousy can also mean to be “fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions.” It is interesting to note that every text in Scripture that describes God as “jealous” is in the the context of asserting God’s exclusive claim to the devotion of the people who have entered into covenant with Him. In addition, most of these statements are accompanied by warnings against allowing one’s heart to be inclined toward another god. So, the meaning of God’s jealousy is clear: He is jealous “FOR” our love and devotion. His jealousy is not the antithesis of His love, but the expression of it! In the same way, I am jealous for Katie’s love and devotion. I’m not content to just have some of her most intimate love and devotion while allowing her to share it with others. As the man who has entered into marital covenant with her, I have a right to her fidelity and devotion, as she has a right to mine. I am jealous FOR her because I love her so greatly and I wish to honor her and the commitment that we have made to one another.

Thus, the tragic irony is that in trying to preserve her idea of God’s love, Oprah has rejected the very expression of God’s love for her by refusing to accept the wonderful reality of His jealousy for her.

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Discussion

22 thoughts on “>Oprah on Divine Love and Jealousy

  1. >Praise Report!!!Prayerfully, through the grace of God, I finally got my wife thinking about what she watches on TV. Particularly, her TV time spent watching Oprah. She and her Opraholic bible study friends from church are now re-evaulating what shows they watch and are considering dropping Oprah’s TV slot for something else. Methinks it will be a LMN (Lifetime Movie Network) show, which is fine with me. So, Praise God that the Mrs and her loving friends are beginning to filter out the chaff and fill it with something perhaps more redemptive. Peace

    Posted by hylander | April 27, 2008, 7:28 pm
  2. >Hylander, Ah–you meant trance-like. That makes sense now.And thank you for the humble apology. On behalf of women-hens everywhere, I accept. HA! See, it’s OK if I use that kind of language about women, because I am one. It’s like Polish jokes–you can’t tell them unless you’re Polish.I do seriously accept your apology. I am also the kind of person who goes for the joke and often offends.And BTW, I am not an O fan AT ALL. Quite the opposite. I just like to argue principles.And finally, here’s my shameless plug to all you CRM thugs: please visit my blog and start some trouble in the comment section. My most recent post was about Jesus and the Avon Lady: http://greenroomthoughts.blogspot.com/E. Peevie

    Posted by E. Peevie | April 16, 2008, 4:27 am
  3. >”Who you callin’ “narrow”??!!”Not narrow-minded but narrow as far as content. 😉

    Posted by Jeff Wright | April 16, 2008, 1:34 am
  4. >Thanks Peevy,I agree, but my sinful flesh thought it more fun to blast and poke fun. But, on a serious note, I like to take the long road around things to make my points. I understand your liking Oprah, not just because you are from Chicago, but for the mere fact that Oprah is a very intelligent person, regardless of her “gender”, and she is one of America’s eloquent speakers. One would have to be an idiot not to recognize this. Again, my beef is not so much with Oprah, or her beloved followers, but with the messages she espouses and the many New Age practices she reads and endorses. I apologize for my incorherent word “de-masculized”, ’twas merely my personal attempt to modify Merriam Webster and add yet another and belaboring term for “wimpy” 🙂 The trans-like reference was merely a metaphor for those, who like an audience at a magic show, who stare and are absolutely captivated by the slight-of-hand and hypnotic speech. My sincere apologies to you Peevy, I did not intend to insult or offend you. I ask for continued prayer that I may be a more sensitve (not de-masculized):), but a sincerely passionate man of God who thinks twice before he speaks and writes. Blessings to you

    Posted by hylander | April 16, 2008, 12:43 am
  5. >Dwight Watson said…Who you callin’ “narrow”??!!Actually, I’ve become much less narrow over the years, but I think that’s due to a combination of lack of PT and my wife’s cooking. Of course, the more than occasional stop at Pancho’s Mexican Buffet has certainly helped me shed “narrow” as an appropriate label.

    Posted by GUNNY | April 15, 2008, 8:33 pm
  6. >Who you callin’ “narrow”??!!

    Posted by Dwight Watson | April 15, 2008, 7:54 pm
  7. >”I suspect it’s because your target audience is relatively narrow.”That’s true.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | April 15, 2008, 4:22 pm
  8. >Jeff, re: not winning any battles–I suspect it’s because your target audience is relatively narrow. But I voted for you! And BTW, I loved the office reference in your earlier comment.And Hy: I don’t disagree with anything you said in your most recent comment. I agree that not agreeing with Oprah does not make you misogynistic or intolerant.You said, “To those who wait on every word and believe it as gospel, I would recommend that what Oprah says be weighed with Scripture and Scripture alone.” I totally agree with this. And if you had phrased it this way the first time, I would have had no problem with it. Do you see the difference between your second statement and your first, and why the first might cause offense?E. Peevie

    Posted by E. Peevie | April 15, 2008, 4:16 pm
  9. >You are right Peevy, Jesus probably wouldn’t talk about women that way. But, I thought we were talking about what she believes and/or espouses to be “her” truth, or should I say, “The Gospel of Oprah?” Really, what we have here, is the lost conception of the term “classical tolerance” versus “post-modern tolerance”.Just because we disagree with what Oprah says does not make us “intolerant”, or “misogynistic”. It does not mean we dislike her or are being, “unjesusy”. All it simply means, in the classical sense of the term “tolerance” is that we do not agree with her new-age version of christianity that she espouses on the television airways. To those who wait on every word and believe it as gospel, I would recommend that what Oprah says be weighed with Scripture and Scripture alone. If, as Oprah says, that there are “many” paths to God, then surely we will find it in the Holy Scriptures.Peace,

    Posted by hylander | April 15, 2008, 1:16 pm
  10. >So, E Peevie, what’s up with CRM never winning on Battle of the Blogs? We might not the best looking blog ever or the greatest content out there but this blog is waaaaaaaaay better than so many of the blogs on there? Is it just a bias against conservative blogs in general or what?

    Posted by Jeff Wright | April 15, 2008, 2:02 am
  11. >Dwight, Ah, that makes sense. E.P.

    Posted by E. Peevie | April 15, 2008, 1:23 am
  12. >faith and discernment don’t really correspond to intelligence, do you think? Plenty of brilliant people reject faith in God.Certainly. I was drawing a direct connection between Oprah’s intelligence and her missing the nuance of the word “jealous,” not between her intelligence and her rejection of Christianity. This is why I followed up the statement with the phrase, “and then so easily reject the faith because of it.”

    Posted by Dwight Watson | April 14, 2008, 4:37 pm
  13. >Hi men’s club–I’m back. Yes, I know what misogyny is. I think it’s reasonable to assume a general dislike of women when you refer to millions of them as “women-hens” (or was that a compliment?) and imply that they are brainless and unthinking because they watch Oprah and agree with her.And I suggested that the comment was incoherent because I don’t think de-masculized is a word, and I don’t know what you mean by “trans-like authoritative powers”.I don’t think I lashed out at you personally, Hy–I only commented about your words. I really believe that Jesus would not be talking about women in such a derogatory way.It’s also a tiny bit condescending of you to suggest that if I were honest, I’d agree with you, or that I’m taking it too personally.And finally, it’s my experience that people who really love other people rarely need to make statements about how much they love other people. I’m just saying.

    Posted by E. Peevie | April 14, 2008, 5:01 am
  14. >Reminds me of a great Office episode:Karen: What you’re saying is extremely misogynistic.Michael Scott: Yes. Thank you. That was not necessary, but I appreciated it. And it proves my point. Women can do anything.Karen: I’m saying that you’re being sexist.Michael Scott: No, I’m being misogynistic. That is insane, I am not being sexist.Karen: That…is the same thing.[from Women’s Appreciation episode]

    Posted by Jeff Wright | April 13, 2008, 3:49 pm
  15. >Thanks Wizzle for the props. Ya, I don’t think I hate my wife or have distrust for her, not yet anyway, lol. 😛 Peevy, let’s just say that I tend to come across straight forward. Rarely will I equivocate and I speak from the hip. That is not to say that I do not have love, because I do. I have nothing but the love of Jesus for you, everyone on this blog, and yes, even for the beloved “Oprah”. Some nicknamed me “the little hammer” in Seminary in remembrance of one of my theological heroes, “Luther”.I don’t understand what you see to be incoherent. But what I think is most definitely obvious, is that you have taken this a bit too personal. This is a blog by the way, and I am merely voicing my opinion. If you do not agree with my opinion, that is fine, as I do not always agree with others opinions either. That is just life. But, to lash out personally is an entirely different matter. If you are honest, you know in your heart of hearts what I am talking about too! Peace,

    Posted by hylander | April 13, 2008, 8:11 am
  16. >Hylander, I found your comment to be mysogynistic and un-Jesusy, not to mention incoherentI might not have said what he said the way that he did but I don’t think it was misogynistic. That is one of those words that is often misused and abused. The definition is misogynist is “hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women” and I don’t think that fairly describes Hylander. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t/don’t have a legitimate beef with what he said but I think to throw out the misogynist label is a little much.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | April 13, 2008, 3:01 am
  17. >E. Peevie said …”Plenty of brilliant people reject faith in God.”So true. In fact …The Lord is known to have chosen not many wise ones for His service.He seems inclined to use the foolish to confound the wise.;-)

    Posted by GUNNY | April 13, 2008, 1:15 am
  18. >Hylander, I found your comment to be mysogynistic and un-Jesusy, not to mention incoherent. I don’t convey this with the intent to slander, but with sadness.

    Posted by E. Peevie | April 13, 2008, 1:05 am
  19. >Excellent post Dwight!I have found from the years of overhearing or reading her quotes, that Oprah is nothing more than what you call, a “smorgasbord spiritualist”. She indeed picks and chooses what she likes from the various faith systems of the world and discards what she does not like. What makes her religious philosophy dangerous is that she has so many millions of women-hens that sit on the edge of their couches sucking in every word she said and believe it as if it was gospel. Sadley, some de-masculized men have also succomed to her trans-like authoritative powers.I’m glad that I am not the only one who has constructive critical thoughts regarding Oprah’s false religiosity. Of course, I don’t convey this with the intent to slander, but with sadness because, she like many unbelievers, need our prayers to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    Posted by hylander | April 12, 2008, 9:56 pm
  20. >Great post. I was wondering where The Great O was in regard to orthodox Christianity lately, and was suspecting she’d drifted. I haven’t watched her in a long time, but I remember that she used to sound like a Christian. Regarding your response to Gunny, faith and discernment don’t really correspond to intelligence, do you think? Plenty of brilliant people reject faith in God.E. Peevie

    Posted by E. Peevie | April 11, 2008, 5:33 pm
  21. >Thanks Gunny. I was actually a little shocked that someone of Oprah’s obvious intelligence would miss the distinction, and then so easily reject the faith of her upbringing because of it. I would presume that she was already drifting away from Biblical Christianity when this event occurred and it simply provided her with a proverbial straw…

    Posted by Dwight Watson | April 10, 2008, 4:01 am
  22. >Well said.I was not aware of Oprah’s rationale for abandoning the faith and appreciate that insight very much.

    Posted by GUNNY | April 10, 2008, 2:05 am

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