Monday, October 10, 2005

Fully Repentant?

I think that today I would like to add my name to the list of people who publically need to appologize for being a jerk about Rick Warren. Jake made mention of this a while back, but there is some amazing things being said by Rick Warren, and not just being said, but also done.

Christianity Today has a cover article this month that 3 years ago I would have said was written by the guys over at Lark News, but it's actually true.

I was at a confrence in Atlanta last week called Catalyst, and Rick Warren paid for satalite time just to tell us about what he was up to. I thought "self promoter". Of course I'm a huge jerk, and he said some things that blew my mind.

Here's the (rough) quote from when I saw him...
"I remember being in prayer, asking God what was next in terms of the Purpose Driven Life because we had made such huge progress, and God said, "but Rick, your not doing anything for the people that I care the most about."

Here's some more quotes from the CT article
[after an encounter in africa...]
Around this time, Warren says he was driven to reexamine Scripture with "new eyes." What he found humbled him. "I found those 2,000 verses on the poor. How did I miss that? I went to Bible college, two seminaries, and I got a doctorate. How did I miss God's compassion for the poor? I was not seeing all the purposes of God.

"The church is the body of Christ. The hands and feet have been amputated and we're just a big mouth, known more for what we're against." Warren found himself praying, "God, would you use me to reattach the hands and the feet to the body of Christ, so that the whole church cares about the whole gospel in a whole new way—through the local church?"

[Kay Warren on why she cares...]
"12 million children orphaned in Africa due to AIDS."

"It was as if I fell off the donkey on the Damascus road because I had no clue. I didn't know one single orphan." For days afterward, she was haunted by that fact: 12 million orphans.

Unable to block it from her mind, Kay began to get mad at God, praying, "Leave me alone. Even if it is true, what can I do about it? I'm a white, suburban soccer mom. There is nothing I can do." But that did no good.

After weeks, then months of anguish, she realized she faced a fateful choice. She could either pretend she did not know about the HIV/AIDS pandemic or she could become personally involved.

"I made a conscious choice to say, 'Yes.' I had a pretty good suspicion that I was saying yes to a bucket load of pain. In that moment, God shattered my heart. He just took my heart and put it through a woodchip machine. My heart came out on the other side in more pieces than I could gather back up in my arms.

"It changed the direction of my life. I will never be the same. Never. I can never go back. I became a seriously disturbed woman."

[Rick on who we should partner with]
"Find the man of peace. Bless him. He blesses you back. Who is the man of peace? He's influential and he's open. He doesn't have to be a Christian. Find a non-Christian who's influential and open—a Muslim or an atheist."

There 2 things that blow my mind about this whole thing.
1. The Warren's are incredibly candid in this article. Rick saying he had missed half the Bible blows my mind. I think most guys of his stature would probably either act like they hadn't been convicted or slowly start to talk more and more about it and act like they always cared about the poor, but he's just honest. Crazy. Kay Warren also says "I pretty much thought that anybody who had HIV was gay. If they were gay and had HIV, they probably deserved it, because they had lived a lifestyle of risk. Therefore, I didn't really have to care very much about them. Not a pretty attitude. I'm not proud of it, but it is where I was." It takes alot for people of this kind of "celebrity" to be this honest. It shows true conviction.

2. If you talk about this kind of thing with most "mature" adults in the church they often say, that in reality there's nothing we can really do, so we should just do our best to effect what we can. Warren is ok with the fact that this seems like an impossible problem, in fact he says this "God, what are the other problems that you want to tackle? God gets the most glory when you tackle the biggest giants. When David takes on Goliath, God gets glory. What are the problems so big that no one can solve them?"

I know that Rick Warren will never read this, but people who are down with him probally will. I am a HUGE jerk. I know that. I thought I knew better than Warren. I thought jokes about his book were so funny. I thought I cared more about people who weren't white or rich than Purpose Driven people. I was wrong.

Warren provided a link at the confrence so that we could check it out for ourselves.
Read the article, check out the link, see for yourself.

What's even crazier is that tons of evangelical pastors across this country are remembering what they used to be passionate about before they found out the only thing that mattered was how many people came to their church. I mean, maybe we should figure out how to do this at our church, Rick Warren's doing it, and his church is huge, right?


At 10/11/2005 9:10 AM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

I just want to add that I give super thanks to my friend Beth for putting me straight about this a few months ago so I could be on the front end of stopping talking bad about Warren. Here's the deal though, we are jerks for writing them/him off but I don't think there is anything wrong with calling people like Warren who aren't doing this out. I mean, this is all part of it. But, then when Warren starts getting things right I think we should go ahead and get behind him and find out how we can help. It will be fun to watch the churches that follow and the churches that condemn him for bad eschatology, thinking we can actually make a difference in the world.

Also in the line of people we used to talk about, I think we may want to rehash some McClaren issues. Mainly, I was looking for my old review of Generous Orthodoxy and found the best/worst reviews ever. More on this to come.

At 10/11/2005 2:31 PM, Blogger Dusty said...

For the record I have defended Rick Warren and suggested Pat Robertson and Falwell to be the ones left open to Public Scrutiny...

Andy, I am glad you were at Catalyst. I wish I could have been there. It sounded like it would have a been a great time to think about things that matter a great deal.

I am going to hear Don Miller speak a couple times over the next couple weeks!


At 10/11/2005 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a friend that went to Catalyst. He said it was really good. It is funny you wite about Warren in regards to HIV/AIDS, because just today I too have felt very convicted about this epidemic and what the Church is or is not doing. I'll have to check this blog out more often!

-Adam Hann

At 10/11/2005 10:45 PM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

hey andy you should tell dusty about your don miller story...

At 10/11/2005 11:26 PM, Blogger *thelongbrake said...

I was at Catalyst, and I also agree about Warren. I am guilty in regards to making fun of The Purpose Driven Life, going as far as to create a little club with my friends called 'I knocked up Dating and had a kid named Jabez who is Purpose Driven'.

I will say that, even though I don't always have the greatest view of mega churches, I really respect Warren for what He's doing and his honesty in doing it.

I'm still not going to kiss dating goodbye.

At 10/12/2005 8:09 AM, Anonymous Molly said...

Andy, I'm so jealous went to Catalyst! I saw that CT article on their website first, and devoured it, then the hard copy of the magazine came and I read it again. I just love that he's doing this--like you said, his comments demonstrate his humility and honestly, I am so excited to see how God will use him in Rwanda. The stuff about his wife in that article was fascinating, too!

At 10/12/2005 1:33 PM, Blogger adam said...

Andy (and in part, Jake),

I benefitted largely from Jake's article a while back. Like many, I trashed the mega-church. Along with your articles, I also started to soften my opinion of the RWarren, because of my position here in Libertyville. Overwhelmed by the size of the church I found that the some of more idealistic ministry practices I held onto in the past failed drastically, and if nothing else the structure offered by Warren and Fields helped a lot. Anyhow, both your reports are helpful in getting me off of my snobbish pedestal.

With all that said, and with no pre-judgements implied, I hope RWarren continues to grow in this area of his ministry. I've not heard if he already is saying this or if he has not, but I hope that he moves past just the charitable in dealing with HIV/AIDS and into dealing with the rooted injustices wholistically.

(plank: I don't do jack concerning HIV/AIDS so I even need to get to where Warren is currently)

At 10/12/2005 4:06 PM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

So i just got done talking to my friend beth and she just got done talking to Kay Warner who said she accepted our appologizes. Well, alright, Kay didn't mention us, but she did just talk with Beth on the phone and, just to update, she is still totally awesome.

And Adam articulated what I was trying to get at in my first comment, that everyone should still be calling everyone to the practice of truth telling and right living.

At 10/13/2005 2:37 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Watch this video.


Post a Comment

<< Home