Marianne Williamson had me at hello. That jumble of first impressions—her reined-in frustration (I’d forgotten to tell her where my classroom was) fading into an I-found-you relief followed by resolute eye contact, a strong handshake and a flash of acceptance—yes, it seemed to say, we are in this together—snapped decades of my inchoate antagonism toward the one of the baby boomers’ most celebrated gurus.
Anyone not under a rock for the past 20 years knows who Williamson is. Since the 1980s, she has taught A Course in Miracles (ACIM), a how-to primer on self awareness and spiritual growth that psychologist Helen Schucman claimed to have received via divine dictation between 1965 and 1972. During the 1980s, Williamson was one among thousands of spiritual seekers studying the workbook, but her lectures brought the material to a wide audience.
Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion, writes about Williamson’s candidacy, the spiritual left, and the news media’s religious blindspot.