The Rev. Bacon: Yeah. They have mystical experiences in nature, in the arts and in ritual. For you to take your children and expose—and just be with them on a walk in nature, or to take them to an art gallery, or to flip through a book of art or—or the theater or any kind of ritual and then—it's very important, and then to ask them what's going on with them and observe them. I had a turning point in my parenting once when I realized that I was trying to lead my children and I was trying to show them the truth, and I realized that I needed to stay a step behind my children and watch where truth was already calling to their hearts and to their true selves and engage them in a conversation and just be a midwife or a facilitator of this thing that's blooming inside of them. I remember your metaphor. Because spirituality is going to blossom. And what your job is, is to be there and to affirm them in having this direct connection with the spirit.
Oprah: You get that, right?
Victoria: I do. I do. I get that. I—I think I'm just so used to, you know, every religion has a church that they go to, and the spirituality doesn't work like that, so I'm struggling—
Elizabeth: There is a loneliness in that. There is. And I think that's—that's a problem, actually, that we will address as this sort of freer spirituality begins to take root in our culture because, as you said on our show last week, we can't do it alone. We yearn for community. We want to help. We don't want to be our—the only teacher of our children. So do you have friends, parents of—of children—your children's friends who share this kind of open spiritual thinking?
Victoria: My—my parents have come to—they have a very strong spiritual path. They live in Washington. But most of my friends, honestly, are more in the organized religion, and that's how I've come about experiencing several different religions, and it's just a judgmental path that I don't want to pass down to my children. I'm struggling moving off that path on my own. I would prefer not to have them start that way and then find the right path later, so that's what I'm looking for and I mean I respect all of you very much just—it's been a long time since I've heard anyone, you know, even like the reverends sort of talk about acceptance rather than God is judgmental, because I've never believed that and I think that's why I'm struggling. And I guess I just need to get out more and maybe look for being more open in talking to people and finding out if they're following religion or spirituality and try and connect on that level.
Oprah: And I'm sure that—
Victoria: What you said about finding a book and reading that with my children and let them know that I'm seeking and that I don't actually know it, that's sort of a—a relief. I mean I feel like I'm supposed to know it for them. I'm supposed to have the answers.
Elizabeth: Most of us don't know it.
The Rev. Bacon: No, no, no.
Elizabeth: Most of us up here, we don't know it either.
Elizabeth: We're all seeking. We're more seekers than finding. Human life is about seeking.
Oprah: And in Elizabeth's book actually it's called The Seeker's Guide. On page 51, she talks about the old spirituality of authority: "Hierarchy has the authority, the church has the authority, and then the new spirituality, you are your own best authority as you work to know and love yourself. You discover how to live a spiritual life." And she goes down the list of the old versus the new, and I think there is a new sense of being in control of our spirituality emerging.
The Rev. Bacon: And actually it's a very ancient idea. The priesthood of all believers has been in Christianity for a long time, which said you really ultimately are your own priest. You have to listen to your inner voices. One of the greatest turning points in everyone's life is to listen to, trust and obey your inner voices. And for you to do that for yourself as well as equip your kids or empower your kids to do that, they will thank you forever and ever, and you will save them a lot in psychiatric bills.
Oprah: I will say I was one of those people who used to go to church every—I grew up, as I was sharing with the last caller, you know, in the South and so going to church every Sunday, Sunday School, Baptist Training Union, Wednesday night prayer service, the whole thing, choir, all of it. And when I moved to Baltimore, I was in my 20s, and I remember sitting in a church, you know, one of those big churches where you have to get there at, you know, 6:30 in the morning to line up for 8 o'clock service, and the minister was preaching about—it was a really good preacher—and he was preaching about how God—"the Lord thy God was a jealous God and the Lord thy God would condemn us for whatever," and I remember I—I had a spiritual aha! There. And I was in my late 20s, and I suddenly thought, "How can this God who is all loving and all powerful, why would God be jealous of me?"
Oprah: "How could that be? It just doesn't"—it didn't work for me. Something happened in that moment. And prior to that, I was just sort of by rote doing what I'd been trained to do in the church. And that's when my spiritual path began. Yeah.
Elizabeth: But if you miss the congregation.
Oprah: When I started to ask the questions. Yeah.
Elizabeth: If you miss the—the fellowship of fellow seekers and you want that, there are— you're not going to find the perfect church.
Oprah: You might. Agape, man. Agape.
The Rev. Bacon: It is perfect, isn't it, Michael?
Oprah: Agape, come on. All Saints. These are pretty good churches.
Michael: I think what she's saying, though, is there are places.
Elizabeth: There are places.
Michael: That teach this new thought ageless wisdom all over the United States, all over the world.
Oprah: How do you find a church like yours? Maybe not with a choir as good, but—
Michael: We do have a magnificent choir.
Michael: You know, you can look up the Science of Mind, there's Unity.
Elizabeth: Unity Church.
Oprah: Unity Churches, yeah.
Elizabeth: Unity Churches are all over the place.
Elizabeth: As are Unitarian Churches.