The Rickmeister holds court...

Rickwarren (Tim) A friend just left me a voice message about the presidential forum being held tonight by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church. My friend was angered by Fox News reporting this afternoon that the forum will steer clear of divisive issues such as sodomite marriage and the slaughter of unborn children. Instead, Pastor Warren will focus on "human rights."

This is news? I'm not the brightest bulb in the room, but I knew this many months ago--long before the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary. That Pastor Warren would do anything else is inconceivable.

No, I'm not watching Rick Warren build his name and fame tonight. Wracking my brain for something better to do, I think I'll see if I can find Bill Hybels interviewing Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren.

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Warren has just asked Obama about abortion and is currently talking to him about homosexual marriage.

Well I'll be a monkey's uncle. If the trend continues, Tony Campolo will soon be telling his wife to stop defending sodomite marriage, Bill Hybels will move to Oklahoma, and Brian McLaren will become John MacArthur's personal assistant.

We were as surprised as anybody to hear the questions about abortion and homosexual unions. Earlier today, CNN was all over how this was going to be a "common ground" discussion, that hot button (i.e. important) issues were going to be avoided (they specifically named abortion and same-sex marriage) for the sake of a more "civil" atmosphere.

I will say that it seemed that Warren played "buddy-buddy" with Obama, while seemly remaining aloof with McCain. Almost appeared as if he was trying really hard to make sure that the viewer knew how above the fray he was with regard to his own views on these issues. After all, he doesn't want to be viewed as a pastor, right? That would be too uncool.

All in all, we were surprisingly happy with the event. The right questions WERE asked, and the way that both candidates answered (and dodged) them was more revealing in this format than any other within this entire campaign season.

>The right questions WERE asked, and the way that both candidates answered (and dodged) them was more revealing in this format than any other within this entire campaign season.

I was wrong. Hats off to Rick.

I watched the whole thing and couldn't tell that Warren preferred one candidate over another. He asked the same questions (with the exception of an extra question for McCain at the end since there was extra time) and his body language did not change.

My attitude about the whole thing was very negative. I wanted to watch it, but even up to the minute before it started I was complaining to my husband that I wasn't sure this was "right" or "good" for America that Warren do something like this. I was very pleasantly surprised by the end, though. Warren asked some good, relevant, and tough questions. And the forum offered an opportunity for each candidate to speak without interruption and without the feeling that one had to "win," as in a debate.

Overall I think Warren did a good job. Even the news media mentioned how their views contrast sharply. These questions never would have been asked by the news reporters yet, they are important to many citizens including myself. While I don't always agree with Rick Warren I applaude him for trying to flesh out this campaign election. I know some believers will be angry with him for doing this but I have come to the conclusion that you can't please everyone. Finally, Warren did ask some tough questions and every christian should know where the candidates stand.

I was pleased, having watched the forum. Reading the chatter, across the blogosphere, I don't know that any voters' minds were changed, but lots of bloggers more confirmed behind their guy.

As a Californian, I was glad to hear McCain respond clearly and directly to Warren's questions regarding marriage and abortion.

"I think I'll see if I can find Bill Hybels interviewing Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren."

LOL

(1 KINGS 22:7, 8)

7 BUT JEHOSHAPHAT SAID, “IS THERE NOT YET A PROPHET OF THE LORD HERE THAT WE MAY INQUIRE OF HIM?”

8 THE KING OF ISRAEL SAID TO JEHOSHAPHAT, “THERE IS YET ONE MAN BY WHOM WE MAY INQUIRE OF THE LORD, BUT I HATE HIM, BECAUSE HE DOES NOT PROPHESY GOOD CONCERNING ME, BUT EVIL. HE IS MICAIAH SON OF IMLAH.” BUT JEHOSHAPHAT SAID, “LET NOT THE KING SAY SO.”

(1 KINGS 18:17, 18)

17 WHEN AHAB SAW ELIJAH, AHAB SAID TO HIM, “IS THIS YOU, YOU TROUBLER OF ISRAEL?”

18 HE SAID, “I HAVE NOT TROUBLED ISRAEL, BUT YOU AND YOUR FATHER’S HOUSE HAVE, BECAUSE YOU HAVE FORSAKEN THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD AND YOU HAVE FOLLOWED THE BAALS.

(LUKE 6:22,23,26)

22 “BLESSED ARE YOU WHEN MEN HATE YOU, AND OSTRACIZE YOU, AND INSULT YOU, AND SCORN YOUR NAME AS EVIL, FOR THE SAKE OF THE SON OF MAN.

23 “BE GLAD IN THAT DAY AND LEAP FOR JOY, FOR BEHOLD, YOUR REWARD IS GREAT IN HEAVEN. FOR IN THE SAME WAY THEIR FATHERS USED TO TREAT THE PROPHETS.

26 “WOE TO YOU WHEN ALL MEN SPEAK WELL OF YOU, FOR THEIR FATHERS USED TO TREAT THE FALSE PROPHETS IN THE SAME WAY.

(WWW.RICKWARRENNEWS.COM) (TRANSCRIPT EXCERPT)

I HAVE TO TELL YOU UP FRONT, BOTH THESE GUYS ARE MY FRIENDS. I DON'T HAPPEN TO AGREE WITH EVERYTHING EITHER OF THEM TEACH OR BELIEVE BUT THEY BOTH CARE DEEPLY ABOUT AMERICA. THEY'RE BOTH PATRIOTS AND THEY HAVE VERY DIFFERENT VIEWS ON HOW AMERICA CAN BE STRENGTHENED IN AMERICA. WE'VE GOT TO LEARN TO DISAGREE WITHOUT DEMONIZING EACH OTHER AND WE NEED TO RESTORE CIVILITY. WE NEED TO RESTORE CIVILITY IN OUR CIVIL DISCOURSE AND THAT'S THE GOAL OF THE SADDLEBACK CIVIL FORUM.

… SENATOR THANK YOU. NOW, WOULD YOU STAND – WOULD YOU STAND AND THANK SENATOR BARACK OBAMA. THANK YOU.

…I JUST WANT TO REMIND YOU THAT ONE OF THE GREATEST FREEDOMS WE HAVE HERE IN AMERICA IS THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, EVEN THE FREEDOM TO PROTEST THIS MEETING. THAT'S A GOOD THING, BUT WE HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO HAVE CIVILITY IN OUR CIVILIZATION. HOW TO STOP BEING RUDE, HOW TO STOP DEMONIZING EACH OTHER, HOW TO HAVE A DISCUSSION AND A DEBATE BECAUSE WE ALL WANT AMERICA TO BE A GREATER PLACE. GOD BLESS YOU.

What did we learn from this interview?

We learned that it is important to curry Rick Warren’s favor.(He is, after all, the heir apparent to the evangelical throne)

Aside from this, we learned nothing about the candidates that we didn’t already know.

Oh yes...

We learned that Rick Warren is capable of asking someone a question about abortion.

We also learned that Rick Warren has restored civility to something… but to what?

To civil discourse or to evangelical Christianity?

Obviously, it is to evangelical Christianity.

See how controlled and reasonable the Saddleback crowd was.

Surely, we evangelicals Christians are seen as being more reasonable now.

We evangelical Christians have finally been understood.

The powerful must see now that we are a force to be reckoned with.

I was not impressed.

I would have been impressed if at least one of the (professing faith in Christ) candidates had refused the interview and had further labeled Rick Warren as the hated troubler of America.

Also,

the day for all citizens to give a friendly standing clap of thanks to each of the candidates is long past. How reasonable/civil we are as we thankfully applaud the champion of partial birth abortion.

It was all a hideous façade.

All that I see are woes…

Wonder if either of them would be willing to recognize Jesus' dominion and Kingship?

King Jesus

In this photo at least, Warren bears a striking resemblance to Jerry Falwell, if you can imagine him without the beard. Or perhaps Warren is the alternate-universe Falwell.

Thank you, David Curell. I wasn't able to articulate well what was bothering me about Warren, but you did it quite well.

Pastor Dave,

You are one of my heroes! This dousing with cold, clear, biblical insight is so very needed.

In reading the snippet of transcript you quoted here, I think it is instructive to juxtapose the praise of "freedom of speech" and the request for everyone to stand. Sometimes the most civil act of disagreement and disobedience to the gliterati's demands we can perform is to sit quietly with our hands folded. It says more than a thousand shouting matches, a hundred calls of "boo!"

Kamilla

This is thephony, insufferable sophistication of the moderate. What else should be expected from Mr. PDL?

When I first heard about this debate, I thought: Am I more embarrassed to be lumped in with Rick Warren or Joel Osteen? I guess Osteen, but not by much.

Well said, Pastor Curell.

What's more, the mutual civility envisioned by Warren and others is not only an affront to God's truth, it's also historically uncharacteristic of American political discourse. Read the rancorous exchanges among the colonists prior to the Revolution, or (even more so) later in the debate over the Federalist papers; see the many (sometimes personal) attacks between supporters of Jefferson and those of Adams; look through the political dialog of Americans all through the nineteenth century--it becomes quickly clear that civility as construed by Rick Warren belongs to a fantasy vision of America.

How ironic that men of the past discoursed so uncivilly about taxes and the gold standard, while Americans today are far too "civil" to let internecine murder ever intrude on the tone of our political discussions. It seems the more men talk today of "civil discourse," the less their discourse is truly civil nor (for that matter) even discourse. And how American is that?

> "I HAVE TO TELL YOU UP FRONT, BOTH THESE GUYS ARE MY FRIENDS."

No need to read further. (I guess we can't be civil unless we're everyone's friend.)

> "...WE ALL WANT AMERICA TO BE A GREATER PLACE."

Are we also supposed to be the good friends of the feminist and sodomite activists, because they all want the church to be a greater place? I don't think I want Obama's "greater" America)

> "WE'VE GOT TO LEARN TO DISAGREE WITHOUT DEMONIZING EACH OTHER AND WE NEED TO RESTORE CIVILITY."

"Can't we all just get along?" It has a feminized tinge to it: "Be nice, and don't talk with your mouth full!"

Listening to the folks on NPR today and found it interesting that they have made the connection that Rick Warren has replaced Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as the new leader for the evangelical movement. I am not sure many evangelicals would have noticed that passing of the evangelical scepter. I don't think it is any coincidence that when Falwell ruled, we WERE Republicans. But under our new management we have been given the blessing to vote Democrat if we so choose. Abortion and homosexuality are no longer moral issue rooted in scripture, but political issues rooted in secular humanism. Whether Rick Warren asked the hard questions or not, truth is the evangelical world has finally breathed a sigh of relief as we've been given the permission we so desparately wanted! Our great phophet Warren has spoken - and all of us including the pagans were thrilled in our hearts!

Jeremiah 5:30-31 -- "30 An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?"

I blogged back in 2006 on Pastor Rick Warren, whose words range from pandering to liberals to the fatuous to the perceptive. He did a good job with the Saddleback interviews of Obama and McCain, I think, choosing some good questions for them. I came across something else to count in his favor in a 2008 New Republic article by Alan Wolfe (my boldfacing):

I have yet to let Jesus enter my life, but I admire Warren. We once appeared on a panel together along with Harvard's Peter Gomes at the Aspen Ideas Festival. When it came time for questions, a woman stood up, proclaimed her Judaism, and asked Warren if she was going to burn in hell. He paused before responding--and then answered her question the only way it could be answered. Yes, he said to audible gasps. My reaction was that either you believe that Jesus is the savior or you do not, and I found myself impressed that Warren remained true to his convictions, knowing full well that the audience would not like what he said.

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