Note: Christianity Today editor in chief David Neff and Prophet of Purpose author Jeffery Sheler will discuss Sheler's new biography and the life and ministry of Rick Warren in a special online seminar Wednesday, December 2. Registration is free.
Like many teenagers, the adolescent Rick Warren wanted to be a rock star. Living in Mendocino County, California, in the sixties, he actually met some, working as a volunteer stagehand for the Golliwogs, a precursor to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, whose lead singer was Janis Joplin. According to Jeffery L. Sheler's Prophet of Purpose: The Life of Rick Warren (Doubleday Religion), the future megachurch pastor and best-selling author looked the part: "tall and thin with long blond Beatle bangs swept across his forehead."
But the young Rick Warren never really fit in the drug-laced Mendocino rock scene. He was interested only in the music, and he also felt the call of politics and preaching.
Although he never got to be a rock star, he now gets to do rock-star things. He talks with Bono, gets invited to the Davos World Economic Forum, and meets with world leaders like Barack Obama, Tony Blair, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Paul Kagame.
Like Billy Graham in his heyday, Warren is able to meet with just about any public figure he wants to. Indeed, Sheler writes, Warren hired a staff member in May 1998 for the express purpose of expanding his range of contacts with "movers and shakers in business, government, and the philanthropic world."
The invitation to draw comparisons with Billy Graham was heightened when Barack Obama invited Warren to pray at his inauguration. Warren had attended George W. Bush's second inauguration, and knew just how cold it could be. ...