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Ok, I admit it. I have Rick Warren fatigue.
It’s not that there aren’t thing to admire about the mega pastor. He is reported to have delivered my favorite slam of prosperity gospel (“the only people getting rich from prosperity preaching are the preachers”); and he and his wife have done well to wake up evangelicals to the fact that God cares about poverty and they should do something about it (duh.).
It’s just that I think he may have run his purpose. Warren’s recent interview with Beliefnet’s Steve Waldman has a lot of juicy bits and is well worth reading. But in the end, it leaves me more convinced than ever that America doesn’t need “a” pastor, and if it did, it wouldn’t be Warren. (Rabbi Saperstein would be a decent choice) The good news in this interview is that Warren is evolving as a peson of faith. But he isn’t there yet. He first needs to learn the difference between incest and consensual same sex relations. And have a little humility about the work of his church on AIDS (“my church has done more than any other chuch helping people with AIDS” – please! Try talking to Glide Church in the tenderloin in San Francisco ). Finally, as you will see in a different post of mine, Rick Warren is more of a social gospeler that he would like to admit – his shrill denial gives him away.
Here is a break up of the interview with Waldman. Enjoy! Or not.
Most Likely to Infuriate Liberals:
Gay marriage is morally equivalent to allowing brothers and sisters to marry. Watch.
He opposes torture but didn’t try to convince President Bush to change course
because “I never had the opportunity.” Watch.
A possibly veiled slap at Islam: “He could have made us all puppets. … He could
have put us on strings and we’d pray five times a day and we’d have no choice.”
“Abortion reduction” efforts are mostly a “charade.” Watch.
His historical argument that “social gospel” Protestantism was “just Marxism in
Christian clothing” and that “the mainline [Protestants] died.” Watch.
Most Likely to Infuriate Conservatives:
He supports partnership rights for gays including insurance and visitation benefit
This appears to be a similar position to that which just prompted the resignation of a
top official of the National Association of Evangelicals. Watch.
His declaration that it’s a “no brainer” that divorce is a bigger threat to the American
family than gay marriage, and that Christian leaders focus on gay marriage instead
because “we always love to talk about other people’s sins.” Watch.
Religious conservatives have misled people into thinking Christ’s message was
primarily about conservative politics and that politics is the primary way to change
The Bush administration seems to have engaged in torture, which he condemned
While condemning abortion as a Holocaust and abortion reduction as a “charade” he
nonetheless said he would support those efforts, which he equated to Schindler’s list
– a way of reducing the harm of an overall evil. Watch.
Most Likely to Titillate Theologians:
While your behavior doesn’t determine whether you get into heaven, it does determine what you do once you’re there. Watch.
His statement that “I really don’t know” whether people who don’t know about Christ
will be blocked entry into heaven. Watch.
“God’s will is not done most of the time on earth. When people go, ‘oh, that hurricane
must have been God’s will’ – baloney!” Watch.
Most Likely to Inspire and Challenge:
The story of his daughter in law’s brain tumor and its surprising lesson the family learned. Watch.
His relentless commitment to awakening Americans to African poverty. Watch.
His personal Christmas prayer. Watch.
His argument that the economic collapse comes from abandoning Biblical principles of