One of the things that makes my life a little more worth living (if we had to quantify it, it wouldn't be too much, of course) is the fact that at 10 AM on Wed. mornings, the Montel Williams show comes on. Well, it comes on every weekday at 10, really. But Wednesdays are special because it's Sylvia Brown's day to come on! Woo-hoo! We get to explore some aspects of the New Age together, figure out "who really killed so-and-so's brother/friend/great-aunt twice removed," etc.
Let's get some things clear, first of all, about where I come from around the whole issue of psychics, anyway. I believe that there are events that appear extraordinary to us, probably because we haven't the science to explain them just yet. I also believe that there is great potential within humanity, within the earth, with every molecule and beyond. The state we're in now, we have yet to reach our potential, to discover what it means to be "truly human." So I believe in vast possibilities and in many unexplainable things. That's my theory.
Then, we hit reality. Are the psychics out there capable of doing what some of us would like them to do - give us answers to the questions that have caused us so much grief and pain and heartache? Can they give us factual answers to solve cases and such? I don't know; I haven't done any scientific studies, nor have I read any that exist.
I watch Sylvia on Montel with great interest, because what she does is so fascinating to me. It's not only that she's a psychic, she's also called to act as counselor, physician, confessor and pastor, to a certain degree. She answers the outward questions that people bring to her, but also works to answer their unasked, subtexted questions. "Do the dead that I grieve for so much still hear me? Am I a good person? Does God love me? Has my (dead) sister forgiven me? Am I known by the universe? Am I loved?" In seeking answers to the outward questions that one would ask a psychic, much of what one really seeks is the kind of knowledge that can only come from within and is generally hard-won.
It seems as if she takes her many roles seriously. As someone who does psychic readings (some would say cold readings), she is well-versed in talking to a great variety of people, in some sense prepared for any question that could come her way. (Of course, most of the questions that people ask her fall into about 3 or so categories.) The number of books she has written is a profound one, and as of late she has come out with a couple that go right into the territory of Christian theology.
I have read The Mystical Life of Jesus: An Uncommon Perspective on the Life of Christ
; it is of course a subject that I am very interested in. As I was reading through the book, I read it as a theologian might - with an eye toward critical scholarship. That might be too much to expect of a book written by a popular psychic, but ya never know, right? I was fascinated by it, of course. It was interesting to line up what she was saying with what I have learned in my own studies. I didn't recognize most of the theologians that she consulted in preparation of the book; I thought it could've benefitted with a little JD Crossan, or some other radical theologian. She makes some rather outlandish claims. As someone who has studied Christian history and theology, I am well aware that there are plenty of good reasons for making outlandish claims, but is it responsible to make those claims based upon what one's guide tells one, rather than perhaps spending more time with the history available?
Her very newest book, Father God: Co-creator to Mother God
was talked about on this morning's show. Of course, the title from the very beginning irked me. On the show, there was no mention of Mother God, and so I was appropriately pissed off. I'm slightly less irked, now that I see there is a "Mother God" in the title (and hopefully in the book) - what would someone who describes herself as "Gnostic Christian" be doing writing a book solely about Father God? ;-) I haven't read the book, but might find it interesting skimming material some bored night at Borders.
Anyone who is such a huge public figure like she is, I believe, has some kind of responsibility to uphold. Sure, people need to be able to have the ability to discern for themselves between right and wrong, good and bad, but in a culture that doesn't do a great job of teaching that, where do we learn the lessons, and who do we turn to as figure to look up to and teach us? I think that since Sylvia takes on the above-mentioned roles, it would do her well to receive real training for those roles. And if she's gonna try and be a biblical scholar, I think seminary, or some classes at seminary, would help.