Oprah Deigns To Literally Bless The People With Her Acting Presence Once Again
Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey tweeted a teaser video about her next big role.
Following her success in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Winfrey is returning to acting to play the recurring role of Mavis McCready in Greenleaf, a 13-part series about the lives of a family running a megachurch.
Oprah has always been spiritual if not explicitly religious, so her decision to take on this role is interesting. Megachurches have such a specific role in our current culture; the fact that they bring in so much money and pay out such large incomes is a bone of contention for anyone who feels like the point of religion is to be more pious.
Churches across America–like shopping malls, houses, corporations, hospitals, schools and just about everything else–have erupted in size in the last few decades. The number of megachurches in the U.S. has leaped to more than 1,300 today–from just 50 in 1970.
Featuring huge stages, rock bands, jumbotron screens, buckets of tears and oodles of money, as well as the enormity of the facilities, pastor personalities and income–over $8.5 billion a year all told–these churches are impressive forces flourishing at staggering rates.
Joel Osteen, recently in the news for deciding to support Donald Trump’s presidential bid, is the pastor in charge of a megachurch, the Lakewood Church in Houston. It looks pretty chill:
Lakewood leased the center from the city of Houston in 2004 for 60 years, paying $13 million in cash for the first 30 years rent. Then they threw $95 million more in on top of that to try to make the 650,000 square foot building feel like an intimate church. There is wall-to-wall carpet beneath the 14,000 seats. The largest of three jumbotron screens is 32 feet by 18 feet. Twin waterfalls book-end a stage that rises and falls before a circling gold globe and a pulpit, where Osteen, often lambasted by critics for being light on theology, preaches about staying positive. He says he doesn’t want to be “too religious” in hopes to reach the “everyday person.”
Sure, the “everyday person” who expects their church to have TWO WATERFALLS.
Greenleaf will debut on OWN on June 21.