Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March 26, 1997

If you came looking for an American Idol Re-cap, I'll be all about that tomorrow.

But on March 4, I wrote about Oprah's new raison d'etre, Eckhart Tolle, in this post. I said that I would have more to say on March 26th, and here we are. The date is significant, and I'll come back to that at the end of the post.

Before you balk at the sight of three videos embedded in this post, let me say that while I don't think anyone would want to watch every minute of any of these three videos, I wanted you to be able to do a quick comparison of three spiritual leaders, maybe a few seconds of each, so that you can see the obvious connection. I can't believe how uncanny their messages and mannerisms are. If you want to compare/contrast these men and their belief systems in a more serious or scholarly way, go right ahead. I just wanted to make a quick point here. So don't be overwhelmed. It will only take a few seconds of each to see my point.

The first video is of Oprah's new guru, Eckhart Tolle. To learn more about Oprah and Eckhart, go to this USA Today article on Oprah and her enthusiasm for Eckhart Tolle's book, The New Earth. Take a couple of seconds to look at this video to see what all the fuss is about. Then move on to number 2 for a few seconds.



The second video is Harold Klemp, the leader of a spiritual movement called "Eckankar," or "Eck," as is sometimes abbreviated. In 1981, Klemp became the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master, who gives inner guidance through dreams, Soul Travel, and the Spiritual Exercises of ECK. So check out Harold Klemp for a few seconds.




Finally, here is a video of Marshall Applewhite, leader of the Heaven's Gate cult which committed mass suicide on March 26, 1997. Heaven's Gate believed that Earth was about to be recycled (wiped clean, refurbished and rejuvenated), and that the only chance to survive was to leave it immediately, hitching a ride on the Hale-Bop Comet, of all things. If it weren't so pathetic and evil-laced, it would be comical. I used to laugh at Marshall Applewhite--partly out of disdain for his false teaching, partly because he was just weird. But after I learned more about the members' confusion and utter lost-ness, my heart broke for these people who were only searching for truth and meaning. Haven't we all searched for truth and meaning at one time?

I'm not bashing Oprah. I don't despise Oprah. She's done a lot of wonderful, generous work in this world. I'm not saying that Oprah is waiting in line to buy a ticket for the next world.

I'm just saying that as believers, we owe it to people to ask spiritual leaders, "Who do you say Jesus is?" and if they reply, "The (or "A") Son of God," then dig a little deeper to ask, "Do you believe that He is the only way to God, to enlightenment, to "the now," to self-actualization, to eternity, to fulfillment, to the Creator, to peace, to purpose, to truth?"

If the answer is no, then let it be no, but a CLEAR no. Then Oprah and her millions can decide whether it's time to leave the fold ... while they can still make that choice clear-headedly and of their own volition.

As unbelievable as it seems, intelligent, articulate, wealthy, compassionate people load their spiritual shopping carts with a little bit of Deepok Chopra, a little bit of TD Jakes, a little bit of Rhonda Byrne, and a little bit of the flavor of the day Eckhart Tolle because they can find some truth in each one. It just seems right. And even though they are also gullible enough to fall for the lies of a simple novelist like James Frey, they cannot conceive of being deceived.

Somewhere today, family members of those who died for Heaven's Gate are mourning the tragedy. This date is a signpost for all of us to remember that spirituality is real thing affecting real, everyday people like you and me with real consequences. And the gravest note is, there are also many people this very day hitching rides on a bright star who's always looking for the next big comet.

35 comments:

Mocha with Linda said...

So disturbing and heartbreaking.

It's easily tempting to dismiss the first two videos as "flakes" and weirdos.

But when you see the third one with the covered bodies and realize the impact made on the people who bought into their lies, it is sobering.

Clear evidence that people are indeed desperately searching to fill the God-shaped hole in their lives.

Carol said...

Amen, Linda! Very well said and intelligently written. Thank you.

Coach J said...

My filter isn't letting the videos come up, but I think I can still comment.
I haven't been able to watch Oprah for a while now. Even when I think I might be able to stomach a show with someone I want to see as a guest, I end up changing the channel. It's so very sad to see a woman who, in worldly terms, seems to have it all, but is so spiritually lost. So lost.

Melanie said...

The sadness is overwhelming. What hits me is their eyes. When you look deep into the eyes, you can tell something is very wrong.

Believe it or not, our pastor preached on Oprah's New Age endorsements on Easter Sunday! He showed the false teaching and then gave The Truth.

samurai said...

Well done Linda. The Bible is clear that there will be false prophets (and not just in the end times).

We must be diligent to be on our guard at all times. Weighing everything we hear by the Word of God.

There is nothing more scary than a congregation, and not an open Bible to be seen.

Teresa said...

It's so sad to see these comparisons and realize how far Oprah has gone down the wrong path. I've always admired her, but it's been sad to see her change these past few years as she has gotten "enlightened." I pray that she will realize what is happening before she leads too many people astray.

Mommy, the Human Napkin said...

Now, more than ever, we should be watchful and on our guards against all this false teaching. Discernment is hard, I know, but I think too often, we as Christians (myself included) aren't as skeptical or critical as we ought to be. Especially now with all the false prophets who are using "Christian" language and trying to confuse people.

Excellent post, Linda! Thank you for taking a stand on this issue.

DidiLyn said...

It is so sad that all these people are getting led down the primrose path that leads to ..., hell. Don't we just hate to say the word? I guess we've all been "Oprah-ized" to a degree.
We need to be bold AND loving in our faith. (It would help to have a talk show that a kajillin people watched....)

Susanne said...

What is incredibly scarey to me too, is how many Christians I know that are jumping on this latest bandwagon just because Oprah endorses it. The power to influence so many this one woman holds is very sobering and scarey!Just shows how much we need to know and study the Word of God so that we recognize deception when it comes. The bible speaks of teachers who come with teachings to tickle our itching ears. And I'm with you, my heart breaks for those who are searching and get caught up in falsehood.

annie said...

The saddest part of this to me is that my own SIL who really admires and loves Oprah is into this guy and reading the book and talking to us about it like it is some kind of answer. Scary. Scary that people buy this bologna and hold the opinion of OW in such such high regard.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I worked for the NBC station in San Diego when the Heaven's Gate suicides happened. At first, it was weird. Then, it was achingly sad for me, as a believer. The lengths people will go to to find meaning. Those lost lives echo in my head and my heart.

Bravo, Linda. Shine the light, sister.

Heth said...

You are so right Linda. It all comes down to the question. "Who do you say that He is."

Queen B said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this.

It is so sad.

Tina said...

Very impactive. Very well written. It is heartbreaking to think that so many follow this, and do not realize that there is a Savior who adores them so very much. It's a reminder that we - the hands and feet of Jesus - have so much work to do still.

Debbie said...

I agree with Samurai - we need to ever be on our guard for false prophets. As time goes on there will be more and more of them. So sad that Oprah has hitched her wagon to one. The "New Earth" terminology is particularly disturbing to me. It is sad that so few people understand that there will be a New Earth, but only after Christ returns. It is certainly not something we can create.

Good job on a tough topic. Thanks for having the courage to address it.

Marsha said...

Terrific post Linda. It is so easy to forget about tragedies like this one and the one in Jonestown.

Thanks for making me think today about what I truly believe!

Jenny said...

Amazingly written, Linda. So sad. And, you're right, they DO have very similar affects, don't they?

I remember Josh McDowell coming to my church when I was like 12 and saying that very soon, the world will be preaching that there is no absolute truth... a little bit of this and a little bit of that will rule what's popular to believe in. It seemed ludicrous at the time. But... it's been a trend, and it's getting more and more popular... and it sneaks in, like a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Thanks for speaking the truth.

Lois E. Lane said...

I really like your shopping-card analogy. It's such a convenient way to think, isn't it? Too bad once you get all the shopping bags home to make your recipe, the ingredients are too different to work together.

Amydeanne said...

weirdly enough I remember when there was the big craze of eck in the 80's. a few friends of my mom's were involved in that and being the kid i was I dug into it and found out about it being a cult.. thanks for putting out the information.. it's sad really.

Melissa Radke said...

Linda,

When I watched the post regarding the mass suicide of the "Heaven's" clan I remembered how I felt when I first heard the news of that tragedy. Horrified. It seems unreal that people in this day and age would resort to this when the TRUTH is out there. And I have to ask myself if I am doing enough to send His truth around this world, when people are desperate in my own backyard.

Thanks again.
Melissa at www.reallybadhairday.blogspot.com

Cyndy said...

I just picked up a book called A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen. I've only gotten a few pages read but he is discussing the inroads that these new age philosophies are making into churches under such labels as, contemplative prayer, the emerging church, "Christian" yoga, spiritual formation, and sacred space. The verse he starts the book with is 1 Timothy 4:1, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. I think what you are discussing here looks alarmingly like what Paul describes in this verse. It breaks my heart that little by little we in the church have been lulled, desensitized and caressed into accepting these spiritual philosophies because sound doctrine is no longer taught.

Keep preaching it sister!

Roxanne said...

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. . ." That is the only answer or enlightenment that we need.

Mama T said...

What a great post!! I stopped being a fan of Oprah's a few years ago. I could never put my finger on the reason, I just felt like something wasn't right. I don't seem to go for all the new age stuff and she seems to be all for it. All I need to do it watch 5 minutes of Dr. Phil to know that all good things do NOT come from Queen Oprah!!! :)

Ann said...

We were just talking about Oprah in Bible study yesterday, I didn't have a clue about her new spiritual guide since I don't watch the show. Watching that Heaven's Gate video was absolutely heartbreaking, especially the part where they were saying goodbye and explaining that they were going of their own free will. So so sad.

Tammy said...

I keep thinking of that verse (sorry that I may not be quoting it exactly right here..."there is a way that seems right, but in the end is not."
And as Roxane above quoted, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life...no one comes to the Father but by me."

Back years ago I watched a lot of Oprah...but about ten years ago I noticed this trend towards new age which bothered me, and so now I rarely watch her at all.
Thank you for this post, Linda!

Susan said...

A very sad thing, indeed. It was odd that this happened at the same time that our local radio show began discussing this. It prompted me to go ahead and post. I wanted to share more "intellectual" thinking, but I found myself so very sad all day when I really thought about it.

Hugs,

Susan

Kimberly said...

Thanks for your clear, well articulated post! New Age and Eastern religions have so infiltrated the church today that unless you're well grounded in the Word and solid doctrine, it's all too easy to get sucked in by false teaching. Our pastors became so concerned by what they were observing they decided to take a whole Sunday School quarter and focus on de-bunking these false teachings that are so insidious. They had several of the men in the church who are in the education and medical fields join them as the group team-taught on how this has entered so many areas of our life and what the Bible had to say about it all. We have a lot of newer Christians who really needed this (and maybe a bunch of older ones who did, too!).

MoodyBlue said...

Very well written Linda!

(on a side-note..re: your comment..looking forward to your review of AI..thanks for making me feel better about my guilt issue too! Also, what are we going to do without Lost for a month. Like I've said before, it is more off than on the air..we are used to it. LOL!

Cyndy said...

Hi Linda,
The book was in the donate bin of our church library and since I'm one of the book screeners at our church I snatched it up. I found it and some other interesting sounding books by the same author at CBD and Amazon. Here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/105-1330573-5211613?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ray+yungen

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Ntk=keywords&Ntt=Ray+Yungen&action=Search&N=0&Ne=0&event=ESRCN&nav_search=1&cms=1&Go.x=23&Go.y=10

I haven't had a lot of time for reading today but I'm almost done with chapter one. He is very readable so I'm hoping that it won't take me too long to get through and then I'll do a review on my blog.

I'm sensing that in the very near future this is going to become a critical issue in the church. There is a wolf in sheep's clothing infiltrating and if we don't know our Bible we won't be able to discern the truthfully laced lies the enemy is using to deceive the sheep.

claudia said...

Linda, There is nothing else I can add to the many heartfelt, faith filled sentiments and well written words expressed by those ahead of me, except to say that I so wholeheartedly agree with them all. I am so glad to see you writing and speaking out on this as it has been on my mind for a long time, and also for posting and noting the videos showing the similarities of the others, something I had not been aware of or noticed. I cannot watch or listen to Oprah and her misguided endorsements and agenda, without getting a very disconcerting feeling , and I have also recently had to speak to some friends and try to discuss with them , their eagerness to quote and praise this "gospel of Oprah" and her false doctrine, which sounds so deep and "spiritual" . To see so many believing this and looking to it for answers in their soul searching quest for the truth is really a very sad thing. Hopefully, more speaking up will make more aware. I am also going to get a copy of the book mentioned here . Thanks to all, claudia

Sarah said...

SO well written! Its another reminder of why we need to be in God's word...so we can discern truth from lies! Also, love the coffee thingy in your blog header, so cute!!

Sarah said...

SO well written! Just another reason why its so important to be in God's word...so we know the truth from lies! Also, love the coffee thingy in your blog header, so neat!

signon77 said...

What can I say about Sri Harold Klemp? Only this: there is no need to either accept or reject a single thing he says? Why? Because the Spiritual Exercises of ECK he talks about will prove the reality of ECK for you one way or another.

They certainly have for me

A Stone Gatherer said...

Scary People! There are so many that can be duped by just the right talk and words! We need to KNOW scripture, and preach it boldly to attack all these lies!

Lisa writes... said...

All the more reason to know the Truth in order to recognize the false.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things..." (2 Tim. 4:3-4)