Dr. Rick Warren, evangelical pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California, is best known for his mega-seller book “The Purpose Driven Life.”

What is confounding is that, in a society quizzically described by some on the right as rabidly anti-Christian, the vast majority of Warren’s critics are his fellow believers. The primary thrust of the criticism is that Warren misinterprets or strays from strict Biblical interpretation.

From a web site about Warren comes this description:

    “Dr. Rick Warren is passionate about attacking what he calls the five “Global Goliaths” – spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy/poor education. His goal is a second Reformation by restoring responsibility in people, credibility in churches, and civility in culture. He is a pastor, global strategist, theologian, and philanthropist.”
It’s curious that with such an emphasis he isn’t the go-to person for religionist soundbytes with the national networks and newspapers.

One guess as to why: he’d probably makes too much sense and, you know, that doesn’t do anything for grabbing viewers or readers. Better to bring on the foaming-at-the-mouth ‘fossils’ of the evangelical right who can be counted on for a ratings-enhancing soudbyte.

What struck me the most was a piece of information in the December 26-January 2 edition of NEWSWEEK. Asked about the profits from his book, Warren replied:

    “My wife and I set up three different foundations., including the Peace Fund, which fights poverty, desease and illiteracy. We gave away 90% and live on 10%. The hard part wasn’t what to do with the affluence, but with the influence. I was reading the Bible one day and I came to Psalm 72, Solomon’s prayer for more influence. He asked God to make him famous; to give him power. It sounds like the most egotistical prayer until you read his reasons. It was so that he could defend the defenseless, speak up for the poor, the disabled, the marginalized. I realized the purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence.”

Granted, the skeptical will say ‘suuurrrre.’ But I say when is the last time Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Charles Colson, Tony Perkins, Richard Land and the like ever even mentioned the defenseless, the poor, the disabled, the marginalized, let alone provided mega financial support from their own respective pockets?

No, Fallie is laser-like focused on Tinky-Winky just waiting for a gay gesture or any hint of mincing. But he still manages to find time to hate such as when he spoke after the terrorism of 9/11: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.” Of course, that’s only when he can break away from his all-seeing accusations: ” …the Antichrist is probably alive today and is a male Jew…”

Robbie been too busy and distracted diverting hurricanes, giving Hugo Chavez the evil eye and getting his hands on those diamond mines in Zaire. After all, what could he profit from aiding the defenseless, the poor, the disabled and the marginalized. The cost/benefit analysis of helping those individuals is a bit low on returns. Here’s the Robbie mindset in full flower: “…the threat posed by liberal judges is “probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings.”

Colsie is still trying to locate his kin so he can followthrough on his most famous quote: “I would walk over my grandmother if necessary to assure President Nixon’s re-election.”

Perkie’s time, when not cavorting with David Duke, is dramatized so succinctly with the following: “…”There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to take a black robe off the bench.”

Land invokes the teaching of ‘intelligent design’ as only being fair. That is when he isn’t busy comparing pro-choice advocates to 1860s-era slave owners or drafting a letter to President Bush in 2002 stating in which he wrote: “we believe that your stated policies concerning Saddam Hussein … are prudent and fall well within the time-honored criteria of just war theory.”

Rick Warren is putting HIS personal money, time and effort into what he believes. I salute him. He also recently broke ranks yet again with the above evangelicals to sign on with a campaign to reduce global warming. The others are still trying to determine how to personally and politically profit from this burgeoning calamity, even though they have yet to ackonwledge it.

Anyone want to take a guess on what is the end game in whatever purpose can be derived from the lives of Falwell, Robertson, Colson, Perkins and Land?

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