Some may believe the title is blasphemous, but, wow, I really do disagree with Oprah. She talks with me frequently, though briefly, every few days, and I generally just sit and shake my head in disagreement. Still, she prattles on, as if my opinion means nothing.
We meet at Starbucks.
OK, we don’t really meet at Starbucks, but I do hear from her there. Starbucks has been pushing the Teavana/Oprah effort to sell some sort of tea, and all of their “don’t burn your fingers” coffee cup sleeves have, for some time, featured little “inspirational” quotes from Ms. Winfrey.
For instance, my current cup (a saltless-salted caramel mocha, if you must know) sleeve tells me, “You are not hear to shrink down to less, but to blossom unto more of who you really are.”
Other nuggets from other cup sleeves:
- “Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world.”
- “Your life is big. Keep reaching.”
- “Live from the heart of yourself. Seek to be whole, not perfect.”
- “Be more splendid. Be more extraordinary. Use every moment to fill yourself up.”
- “The only courage you ever need is the courage to live the life you want.”
- “Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.”
- “No experience is ever wasted. Everything has meaning.”
Ugh. I have to be frank. I hate these things.
Allow me to rant just a bit…
It is fake spirituality. It sounds good, but it is vacuous and meaningless enough to be filled up with anything you want.
I imagine Hitler coming in for a latte, looking at his cup and seeing, “The only courage you ever need is the courage to live the life you want,” and feeling “inspired.” Or perhaps, “Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world.” Worse, yet — what if his cup said, “Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose”? Das ist eine gute Idee!
I know a lot of people who do not need to be encouraged to “live from the heart of yourself” — me included. “Use every moment to fill yourself up.” That just sounds weird. Families have been destroyed by some of the things that “spark the light” in some individuals.
True spirituality is that which takes you closer to the true God. Period. Anything else is a substitute and a fake. Worse, it can be anti-spirituality: Carnality and mere human vanity in disguise. These quotes aim to have a spiritual feel, but they are generally hollow and empty, finding their only “substance” in their commitment to unapologetic narcissism. And the last thing our civilization seems to need is more encouragement to be a bunch of narcissists.
I’m thankful John the Baptist didn’t wash down one of his honey & locust sandwiches with a Teavana Peach Green Tea Lemonade while reading Ms. Winfrey’s advice, “You are not here to shrink down to less.”
Rather, he understood, “He [Jesus Christ] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Perhaps one day his wisdom will be recorded on a cup sleeve. Until then, I will just hold my nose a little while getting my mocha.
UPDATE: Apparently, I am not the only person to find this irritating. Just came across this at the Houston Chronicle and, from there, this British review of the tea (ouch) where the quotes are called “vacuous waffle” and the tea, itself, is called “this absurdly precious, unerringly pretentious, wholly underwhelming ambergris spewed from the belly of a corporate leviathan.” Ah, the British. 🙂