Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A New Purpose for the original "Purpose-Driven Life"

I've met Rick Warren several times in the past year, first at Billy Graham's L.A. Crusade last November and again at the New York Crusade. Each time he's come across as genuine, approachable, and generous. Thanks, DJ Chuang, for linking to the transcript of a recent forum Pastor Rick held with various mainstream media figures. The entire piece is provocative (for various reasons, ranging from the myths he claims about mega churches to insights about managing a local church with global impact to the number of cynical questions he fielded on theocracy and right-wing politics). My favorite was his "turning point" discussion:

"And that was a turning point in my life two-and-a-half years ago, where God basically said to me ... 'The purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence. ...' And in religious terms I had to say, 'God, I repent, because I can't think of the last time I thought of widows and orphans.' I live in a very affluent Southern California neighborhood. There aren't any homeless people lying on the streets where I live. And I said, 'I can't think of the last time I cared about the homeless.' "And so I went back and I began to read scripture, and it was like blinders came off. Now, I've got three advanced degrees. I've had four years in Greek and Hebrew and I've got doctorates. And how did I miss 2,000 verses in the Bible where it talks about the poor? How did I miss that? I mean, I went to two different seminaries and a Bible school; how did I miss the 2,000 verses on the poor?"

- The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Discussion: Myths of the Modern Mega-Church. May 23, 2005

We need more old-fashioned repentance like this. Thanks, Pastor Rick, for your candor and willingness to draw attention to global poverty, AIDS, and economic justice.


Post a Comment

<< Home