16 August 2008

Out of Touch

Training is over and our new office opens on Monday. My schedule will be changing and I am hoping it will soon change again to allow me to attend church on Sundays. I am grateful that sermons from my church are available on-line and I will still get to hear the sermons and learn from the pastors. I really hope that my work schedule changes quickly.

Working certainly has kept me out of touch. Once I am more confident in my abilities there and I have settled into my schedule I am hoping I will be able to catch up with things. I am missing a lot now and while I don't want my hours of boredom back, I would like to stay current with events. Imagine my surprise to start reading online this morning and finding that Rick Warren will be interviewing presidential hopefuls, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. (I flipped a coin just like Warren to see whose name I would type first.)

OK, I just have to say it. When did Rick Warren become the spokesperson for "Evangelicals?" Or does the ability to use brilliant marketing tactics to propel your purpose driven books also launch your career as spokesperson for Christians everywhere? Before I go much further, I want to lay out some ground rule facts. Yes I have read his book The Purpose Driven Life and yes there are some good and godly principles in it. As I recall I liked the first sentence, "It's not about you." After that, I had some problems with his material. Not all of it, but enough of it that I wouldn't recommend it. Warren's focus on things like self-esteem and fulfilling un-met needs or anything beyond worshiping Almighty God are among reasons I cannot recommend the book. Warren tries to balance between some fictional place of "It's not about you" and "You are going to find your purpose." If it's not about me, why am I worried about meeting my un-met needs or finding purpose in the first place?

Yes, you did see me say the marketing tactics used to promote the book were brilliant. I mean it too. It did sell lots of books without dumping money into advertising. Using the vernacular of today, the book went viral. It took off just like Amway did in the 70's & 80's. That doesn't make it theologically sound or above criticism. Nor should it make Warren the spokesperson for Christians. Now, do I think that getting McCain and Obama together in this format is brilliant? Sure I do. But if the people behind the marketing of The Purpose Driven Life had been less brilliant at their jobs, what would commend Pastor Warren to the position of interviewing presidential hopefuls? Does fame and celebrity count for enough? Does an unholy melding of popular psychological terms and poorly exegeted scripture make him a spokesperson for Christians or a Christian worldview?

Not that I have a ton of readers here on my blog, but I can imagine there will be those who are Warren supporters. I do not know the man personally. I only know him by what he has written and by seeing him on television. I am not trying to say he is the devil incarnate, a pagan or that he dresses funny. While I do criticize his book and question if the book hadn't gone viral if either McCain or Obama would so much as return a phone call from him, that does not mean I wish him ill or want to defame him. (Yes I know Warren has called both men his friends. How and when did those friendships begin? Before or after Warren's fame?)

And finally, yes I am interested in the results of the interview regardless of Warren's qualifications in conducting it. I do hope that it will be enlightening. I trust God in this matter, I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. No man, not even a purpose driven one can usurp that.

Here are some links to read about the event in case you've been under a rock or working like me.


Ms Darla said...

I couldn't have said it better myself, and I agree whole-heartedly. I didn't even know this meeting was in motion until one of my non-christian friends asked, "Who is this Rick Warren?" Like I know him because he claims to be a christian. All I said was, "Don't listen to him; he doesn't speak for real christians."

rosemarie said...

Thanks, ms darla! It's always good to know that there are like mined believers ou there!