1/09/2009

Rick Warren and the realignment crowd.

Pastor Rick Warren, who one hopes will pray a good prayer in Washington on the 20th, has kept his hand in Anglican and Episcopal affairs, mucking about as occasion requires.

Readers will remember that he wrote the Time Magazine article on Archbishop Akinola that was lavish in praise. About him Warren said, "Akinola has the strength of a lion, useful in confronting Third World fundamentalism and First World relativism." It is instructive to look at the Time Magazine 2006 list of the 100 most influential people. John McCain, George W. Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton made the list. President elect Barack Obama did not. Oh well.

Now it appears that Warren is offering help to the realignment crowd using St. James' Church, Newport Beach, and others who may loose the use of facilities they have occupied. Read the comment on the Christianity Today blog HERE.
Warren is reported to have written
"... [The Episcopal Church has] already considered me an adversary after partnering on projects with Kolini, Orumbi, and Nzimbi, and writing the TIME bio on Akinola.
But since last summer... I’ve been on Gene Robinson and other’s attack list for my position on gay marriage. ....[Our] brothers and sisters here at St. James in Newport Beach lost their California State Supreme Court case to keep their property.

We stand in solidarity with them, and with all orthodox, evangelical Anglicans. I offer the campus of Saddleback Church to any Anglican congregation who need a place to meet, or if you want to plant a new congregation in south Orange County.

Timothy C. Morgan posted this scrap of information on the CC blog and obviously edited the letter. Warren seems to be establishing his credentials with whoever he is writing. The Episcopal Church considers him an adversary, and he considers himself on "Gene Robinson and other's attack list."

His welcome to those who might find themselves without a church building is commendable. Notice, however, that he did not offer the same to the members of congregations who did not wish to identify with the realignment crowd. He welcomes perceived friends, but perceived not enemies. He seems glad to make it clear that he has no truck with The Episcopal Church. That's OK by me.


26 comments:

  1. Since I am a long-time fan of both his "Purpose Driven Church" and "Purpose Driven Life" books (though I'm not quite as rabidly evangelical as he is) I find Pastor Warren's desire to insert himself into the nasty and messy institutional divorce proceeding profoundly disappointing.

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  2. Me too, I worry about Purity Cult recruiting...best to keep a proper distance.

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  3. "That's OK by me."

    Hear, hear.

    Here in the South, we'd give him a "Bless his heart..."

    John Delmore

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  4. This confirms my opinion of Rick Warren. The fact that he aligns himself with those in Anglican Land who denounce and deny the full participation of us who are "others" makes it all the more difficult for me to join him in prayer. I hope that he can offer words in the spirit of an all-inclusive, loving God. But I somehow doubt he would welcome me or any other gay person into his "christian" community...unless I repent something that is part of the core of who I am. That won't happen, and so I guess we're at a stalemate.

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  5. Kahu Aloha9/1/09 5:34 PM

    Mark, you and your readers might be interested in the article by Max Blumenthal about Warren's connections in Africa and their loopie ideas about AIDS prevention and gay people not to mention extreme religious views. You can find it at www.alternet.org/story/118125 Obama blew it big - Billy Graham he's not.

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  6. Just this past year, Rick Warren was part of the heavily attended Sunday Forum series at the Washington National Cathedral and the Dean, who invited him, presented him as a famous evangelical who was becoming more socially conscious and made no allusion to Mr. Warren's narrower side. I grew up with Billy Graham and our families are intermarried, and I cannot imagine his saying such things, though he may have been equally as conservative. I guess Graham was more politically astute and something more of a gentleman. If Rick Warren is "The Nation's Pastor," as he was introduced by Dean Lloyd, we can do a lot better.
    Phillip Cato

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  7. Duplicitous persons eventually reveal themselves to the world. We have only to look at the great homophobes of the Fundamentalist world, who fell and fell hard.

    Eventually this man's true nature of evil will surface. The problem is the damage his kind do before their sins are exposed to the light of day.

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  8. He also thinks that women in abusive marriages shouldn't be divorced.

    He's a real something-or-other, that one.

    IT

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  9. Ah, yes, John Delmore, being from the South myself, I would also say 'Bless his heart.' I would also add that old standby, "Poor thing, he just doesn't know any better."

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  10. Profoundly disappointing, perhaps. Surprising? Not in the least, I'm afraid.

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  11. Ah, yes, I almost forgot that he wrote that piece on the "lion" of Africa, Peter Akinola...

    ...really, aren't there better things he could be doing with his time?

    Peter+

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  12. I'm cynical enough to ask: if RW were inserting himself into The Unpleasantness amongst Roman Catholics or Jews, would he still be welcome to give the Inaugural Invocation?

    [I fear that a "He's only p*ssing off those liberal Piskies", as in "He's only p*ssing of Teh Gays", just doesn't carry much truck w/ the Powers That Be. :-/]

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  13. I am one Episcopalian. I do not speak for the Episcopal Church. I'm pleased that Obama was elected, but Warren will come close to ruining the inauguration for me. If Warren wants to call me out as an enemy because of that, so be it.

    Bless his heart.

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  14. I find the orthodox way of writing to be a great fascination. The use of violent terms is strange for a Christian group of people. Attack list?

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  15. The use of violent terms is strange for a Christian group of people.

    At the risk of being labeled a defender of Rick Warren, you're wrong, Fred. Military terminology has long been used in the Church, from the time of OLJC ("let him who has no sword go and get one") and St. Paul ("the armor of God") and the Revelation of St. John (remember that sword issuing from the mouth of the Alpha and Omega) and right down to the present time.

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  16. It says something about the shift to "fun-damn-entalism" (as my preacher's wife, mother called it), that the Southern Baptist seminary in Fort Worth graduated Rick Warren, class of '79 AND Bill Moyers, class of '59.
    Warren is like so many of my old friends who drank the koolaid of "bigger is better," the guiding principle of most evangelism of the post-Graham generation.
    He might be a good pastor and obviously has collected a great staff for running Saddleback but I'm afraid he does not impress the folks at the TED lectures of 2006 (or me FWIW). Check it out at http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/rick_warren_on_a_life_of_purpose.html.
    I hope Obama gets whatever return favor he expects from the invitation. I will listen and know that I am praying with a pastor who is not always as wise as I wish he was.

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  17. Yes, Fred. Attack list? Adversary?

    How thin-skinned "America's Pastor" is! It's a good thing that Jesus, Paul, Stephen, and the others were not such delicate, trembling little souls!

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  18. I find it hard to get upset about this. Why should I care? I have no animosity for people who don't want to be in communion with me.

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  19. Actually, I am inclined to think that a good many of the orthodites would make better Baptists than they ever could Anglicans. I do have to wonder if there is time for Mr. Obama to figure out he goofed and get someone more acceptable to most Christians. Certainly an Iman could be found?

    FWIW
    jimB

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  20. Many of you have forgotten that Warren, God forbid, was also the keynoter at the ACN "Hope and Future Conference in 2005 in Pittsburgh.

    What was President-elect Obama thinking by inviting him to pray at his Inaugaral this Tuesday?

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  21. "At the Washington National Cathedral ... the Dean, who invited him, presented him as a famous evangelical who was becoming more socially conscious and made no allusion to Mr. Warren's narrower side."

    It's the fact that Rick Warren is an Evangelical who accepts that humans are causing climate change, seems able to live with health care reform, and a few other things like that, that has got him the Invocation slot. Such views mark him off from the rest of the religious right, and make him, in the view of the Obama team, an Evangelical to be encouraged.

    "Divide and conquer." I don't know that it's a strategy that works with Evangelicals -- for one thing, they are so good at dividing themselves that it almost seems wasted effort. For another, if someone does bring an Evangelical to national attention, he [sic] gets right to work and does such a splendid job of generating terrible publicity for himself that the rest of the coalition backs away fast. Rick Warren was careful to take down the pro-Creationism web page on his church's site right after it was announced he'd be giving the Invocation. Unfortunately, the Internet has a memory and word got out. And of course there is Warren's support for the explicit, institutionalized homophobia rampant at the Saddleback Church -- though those pages were taken down, too.

    The lesson here for the Obama administration is that Evangelicals are radioactive in politics. Every one of these "pastors" sits on his own throne all day, judging angels and issuing "my way or the highway" edicts from morning to night. You can't build a coalition with that. So Obama's team has merely squandered some of their good will, and wasted an excellent opportunity to build up the body of the Church in this country. They will learn eventually, I suppose. Even the Bush administration, who thought to use Evangelicals to win elections and aggressively courted them, treated them like floor sweepings afterward.

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  22. It might be good for us all to remember that Obama might have been our choice for President, but he is not an episcopalian. That's not condemnation, but perhaps a reminder that he will generally approach things from a different perspective, with a different tradition behind him.

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  23. Mr. Warren has obviously never bothered to interlocute with the Bishop of New Hampshire...

    If there's one person in this world who DOESN'T have an "attack list" (despite having ample reason to), it would be +Gene.

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  24. I usually lurk at this blog, but I wanted to step out for a moment. This is a very good profile on Ahmanson.

    http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/01/06/ahmanson/index5.html

    I found a profile on Howard Ahmanson and St. James. Though a few years old, it is very relevant to the current conversation. This is not news, but worth remembering as the epicenter of this battle. And, Rick Warren wants to give them a new home.


    From Salon:

    "Unlike other Ahmanson-funded campaigns, Mrs. Ahmanson has assumed a personal role in the Episcopal Church split. She and her husband are longtime members of St. James Church in Newport Beach, a leading parish in the Episcopal Church's Los Angeles diocese where their "good friend" and Anglican Council CEO David Anderson served as rector until this year. (Anderson refused my interview request.) Mrs. Ahmanson, moreover, is on the board of the Institute of Religion and Democracy, a right-wing Washington think tank that shares ideas -- and an office in Washington -- with the Anglican Council.

    The institute is directed by Diane Knippers, an evangelical Episcopalian and writer who also happens to be a founding member of the Anglican Council and its acting executive director. She is the chief architect of the institute's Reforming America's Churches Project, which aims to "restructure the permanent governing structure" of "theologically flawed" mainline churches like the Episcopal Church in order to "discredit and diminish the Religious Left's influence." This has translated into a three-pronged assault on mainline Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal churches. With a staff of media-savvy research specialists, the institute is able to ply both the religious and mainstream media, exploiting divisive social issues within the churches. "

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  25. In the US constitution, there is no mention of any invocation, consecration, annointing, character indelebilis or laying on of hands. There is also no mention of the words 'so help me god' at the end of the presidential oath/affirmation.
    There is no state religion in this country. Obama doesn't need to invite anyone to the inauguration. He doesn't have to show up at the 'National' cathedral (what a crock of social/historical establishment/entitlement thinking is carried in that places title!) or even go to church.
    This is a non-issue. Separate church and state.

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  26. Hey Fred, the Constitution doesn't mention the established churches of like 9 of the 13 states either. But they were there and legal - 'state religion' of a sort.
    Don't be a reverse fundie, there was much nuance and ambiguity in the founders' order. There is no mandate for a radically secular ceremony or prohibition of a religiously-tinged one.

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