Friday, May 27, 2011

Oprah’s Testimony of Sorts...

“...Nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me...I know I have never been alone...I have felt the presence of God my whole life.” -Oprah Winfrey

In full disclosure, I didn’t actually see Oprah Winfrey’s final TV broadcast and haven’t really watched her show per se (but I’ve caught an episode here or there over the years on rare occasion).

Still, I’m a big fan of Oprah, probably not in the same league as Amy Harmer’s reverence for Oprah, but it’s hard not to respect a woman who has climbed so far and done it the old fashioned way, by hard work. Plus, I love both commencement speeches Oprah delivered at Stanford (’08) and Duke (’09) and I read Oprah’s “O" Magazine, so just because I’m not a daytime TV viewer, I’ve always championed Oprah as a celebrity who sets high standards for herself and advocates them for all of us.

Sally Quinn has a Washington Post column titled “On Faith” that I read and this week Quinn praises Oprah’s last show as a compelling and inspirational sermon. Regarding the last twenty five years of the Oprah show, Quinn applauds it as “ministry at its best and something that more religious leaders should pay attention to.” Quinn believes that Oprah "managed to touch something in a lot of people and changed countless lives by giving her audience a spiritual message that they could apply to their own lives. Her message was inclusive and pluralistic rather than exclusive. Everyone belonged. Everyone had value.”

In Oprah’s magazine (which I assume will still be around despite the TV show’s departure) she frequently extols her values and while I’m not always in 100% agreement, for the most part, I admire her position. One constant theme running through her interviews with others is holding people accountable for their actions. In Oprah-speak she persuades all of us (via those she interviews) to "be responsible for the energy you bring into this space.” I like the pro-active, save yourself stance Oprah emulates and she’s clearly been a force for good for lots of people.

“You will receive in direct proportion to what you give. You have the power to change somebody’s life...Not everybody gets paid for it, but everybody gets called.” -Oprah Winfrey