Out of Context: Rick Warren

"The American church as a whole needs to move from selfish consumerism to unselfish contribution. Those are poles apart. To start with a woman who's most interested in how many diamonds she's got in her tennis bracelet, and move her to sit under a banyan tree holding an AIDS baby- that's a giant leap. People in this culture are trained to think about me, me, me; I've got to do what's best for me. Even when we go to church we have this consumer mentality."

-Rick Warren serves as pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Taken from "It's Not About Rick" in the Summer 2007 issue of Leadership journal. To see the quote IN context, you'll need to see the print version of Leadership. To subscribe, click on the cover of Leadership on this page.

October 10, 2007

Displaying 1–4 of 4 comments

John O'Hara

November 02, 2007  11:16pm

I applaud Rick's course-change. Sometimes people need to climb a mountain of money in order to see how far they have to fall. I only hope this shift in philosophy filters down to the way the American Evangelical Church does its' daily grind.

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mike rucker

October 11, 2007  6:50am

something seems to be gettin' to ol' rick lately, dudn't it? he's actually talkin' about livin' this stuff, 'steada debatin' it and parsin' it and exegetin' it it hit me like a ton of bricks the other day, how this western-vs-eastern thing with the gospel seems to really, truly be the key for the times we are in. salvation from hell is a linear, western thought that can only promote a gospel that, in the end, is selfish - *i'm* saved, everything else is *your* problem. and it isn't worn on the sleeve that loudly, of course - a lot of stuff still gets done by churches. but in the end there's really one big check box, and once it's checked, we're done. romans - and i'm seeing this more and more - is the time paul wrestled with this western / eastern thing. he had to deal with the tension between law and grace, heaven and hell, doing not what he wants to do but winding up doing that which he doesn't want to. either/or only takes us so far...it's somehow both/and now, yin/yang, and i really sense that we've got to see the old solutions as part of the problem itself. just my thoughts for the day.

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October 10, 2007  9:16pm

Rick's right. The solution? More and more Pastors to point out her (and my!) selfishness, narcissism, consumerism and the demand that life work ("God owes me a certain standard of living and ease this side of heaven"). We need to use the same passion, creativity, and focus that built mega-churches and start mega-movements. The cynical world thinks it knows our message (they've even turned it into a cliche on tv and in popular entertainment.) But they can't argue with radical acts of love–done with a long-term commitment. In fact it may be the only "apologetic" we have left. Our churches give lots of opportunities to hear great messages, but do they give lots of opportunities for their people to go out and love radically? If they programmed, budgeted and staffed for that then both the church and the culture might be changed.

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October 10, 2007  6:06pm

The medium is the message. I wonder which medium or "model" of church, forms and continues to form people in such a way that their greatest worry is how many diamonds are in their tennis bracelet? My biggest fear is that the Church in America which is now "waking" up to the gospel as a global reality–beginning with the least of these–assumes it can hold AIDS babies for two weeks in some remote African village and still think he or she can keep buying diamonds, more diamonds.

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