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Feb 28 2008

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Obama, Oprah, and the “New Age Christ”

 Andy,

Maybe I’m naive, but the “New Age” stuff doesn’t alarm me all that much.  It seems to be just another of those sleazy red flags that get waved to demonize a candidate.  This is just my take on things, but all this alarm over religions and philosophies and lifestyles that compete with organized Christianity only reveals a profound (and probably willful) ignorance about the historical realities of those first centuries of Gospel wildfire.

 Unchallenged Christianity (as we find in much of mainstream America) is a weak, effete, often silly thing.  It is too preoccupied with personal wealth and wellness, too easily entertained by fanciful doctrines, especially endless end-times speculation, and too uncaring about the poor and sick and disenfranchised in their midst and beyond.  All you have to do is wave the banner of “New Age” or “Family Values” or “Anti-Christ” or “Transcendental Meditation” or “Rock and Roll” (not to mention “Neegro” or “Mooslim”) and these comfortable Christians will mindlessly follow the hell-bound path of pursuing a see-no-evil, whitewashed (pun intended), homogenous religiosity.

 We find a vigorous, victorious Christianity most often in pluralistic, even hostile societies.  When it is pressed on all sides by forces intent on advancing their own ideologies, Christians rely less on themselves and more on the Source of their faith.  I think Christianity thrives when challenged, because Christians then have to examine the merits of their faith and weigh them against the alternatives.  So bring on your “New Age” mumbo-jumbo, erect a mosque or a temple next to our small chapels and our behemoth megachurches — it’s the best possible medicine for America’s anemic Christianity.

 Now, Barack Obama is NOT a pro-life candidate.  But what I like about him is that he is able to talk to people who disagree with him on the subject of abortion rights, without turning the conversation into a spittle-spraying shouting match.  I’m attaching an excerpt from his book “The Audacity of Hope” that I think illustrates this well (read the first two pages).  The second attachment showcases his legislative skills (although not at the national level, so I guess that doesn’t count!).  The third attachment is an e-mail to my pastor in which I more or less answered my own question about Barack’s Christianity while I was writing it.  The fourth and final attachment is a response to a former co-worker seeking a retort to a bit of blatant racism she had received.  And then there’s that post from a few days ago that reveals more understanding of Middle East issues than I have heard from any other candidate, and all in front of a Jewish audience!

Hope your willies subside soon,

PS — I am personally indebted to Oprah (can the boogey-man anti-Christ of bad-exegesis eschatology be a female?) for introducing me to the neti pot.  I had never before heard of the practice of nasal irrigation, even though it is a daily practice, as common as brushing your teeth, for millions of people in India and South East Asia.  But be warned!  It is based on the ancient Ayurvedic technique known as Jala neti (Sanskrit for nasal cleansing), so I may be unknowingly flooding my sinus cavities with demonic Tibetan deities…

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2008/02/28/obama-oprah-and-the-new-age-christ/

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