(Cross-posted at The Point)
The most successful television show in history is off the air.
Last month, after 25 years of dominating television, Oprah Winfrey signed off. It’s hard not to be impressed with her accomplishments, from her humble beginnings to a media empire. But for Oprah it wasn’t just a show. She had the largest church in America. She didn’t offer entertainment; she offered a way of life -- a spiritual experience, complete with holy books, liturgical techniques, and salvation. As Sally Quinn wrote in the Washington Post, Oprah is America’s high priestess and she ended her show with a sermon:
“You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others. God is love and God is life and always speaking to you." Oprah's message was that we are in control. God is inside us, not above us, judging us. This was her sermon.
And Oprah could get away with a sermon on her last show. After all, she’d been doing it for 25 years, and America learned this other religion right at her feet.