Monday, January 25, 2010

Rick Warren : Everybody's Preacher

Jeffery Sheler of the FreeLibrary has an interesting article on Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of the many books on the Christian faith. According to the article, he seems to be all things to all people. Sheler writes:
Like a man with a pathological need to be liked, Warren has a habit of shading his comments to agree with whomever he's speaking to at a given moment. The practice may come from his pastoral experience, but even more from a desire to prove that he's not one of "those" evangelicals. He's California casual. He has an easy laugh. He hugs people. A lot. As Sheler describes him, "Here was an evangelical leader--a Southern Baptist, no less--who simply did not fit the stereotype of the dour Religious Right activist or of the money-grubbing TV preacher that so often seemed to dominate media portraits of evangelical Christians and their leaders."

As a result, when he's talking to Larry King, Warren mentions his gay friends and says he "never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going." And when he's talking to Sean Hannity, Warren voices his agreement when the Fox News Channel host advocates assassinating the president of Iran. When he speaks with scientists, Warren assures them that he believes in a biblically informed theory of evolution. But when he talks to the intelligent design devotees at the Discovery Institute, they leave with the impression that he believes in intelligent design instead.
Of course, one wonders what a "biblically informed theory of evolution" means, exactly but he has not joined the anti-evolution chorus of church organizations that have become increasingly vocal in recent years. This is probably a shrewd move on his part, since I suspect a backlash against the anti-scientism of the conservative wing of the evangelical church will occur.

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