Will the real Rick Warren please stand up?

Who is Rick Warren? What is his purpose?

In this internet age it’s hard to tailor your message to your audience. Everyone has ears. And even if you don’t intend for a message to be public your audience may find it convenient to make it public. (And who’s to say you didn’t mean it be public rather than belatedly regretting your words?)

Who is the real Rick Warren?

Rick Warren 1 [Jan. 9]: In this email,

[The Episcopal Church has] already considered me an adversary after partnering on projects with Kolini, Orumbi [sic], 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.

Rick Warren 2 [Jan. 12]: As reported by the OC Register,

Because of his heavy schedule, the pastor of the 22,000-member Lake Forest-based mega church has declined all interviews until after both events [the inauguration and his sermon on at Ebenezer Baptist the morning of the inauguration] despite the recent controversy surrounding his participation in offering the invocation. He hopes that his prayer will speak for itself.

In a statement released Tuesday Warren said “he is honored at the invitation from President-elect Obama to deliver the invocation, and is humbled at the prospect to offer a prayer of unity and hope during this critical time in our nation.”

On Monday Gene Robinson – a gay Anglican Bishop – was selected by Obama to give the opening prayer at festivities to kick-off the inauguration in a star-studded event broadcast on national television from Lincoln Memorial in Jan. 18.

[Referring to Robinson,] Warren praised Obama’s “genuine commitment to bringing all Americans of goodwill together in search of common ground.”

“I applaud his desire to be the president of every citizen,” Warren said.

Rick Warren 3: Most recently in, this email,

In our first 13 years as a congregation, Saddleback was forced to use 79 different meeting places, so we understand the difficulty of finding space. So, as standard procedure, anytime an evangelical congregation loses its place to meet, we offer them space, out of gratitude, to the churches that helped us before we got our own building.

It’s just one of many quiet ways we support the Body of Christ behind the scenes.

It is what the Purpose Driven Network is all about.

When I read in the paper that another local congregation has lost its place to meet, I send a private email to the leadership offering space. It certainly wasn’t a reaction to anyone or any group. I cc’d Tim Morgan because he’s a personal friend who has traveled with me to Africa twice and he knew the folks I wrote to. The letter wasn’t intended to be a public statement, just an offered kindness.

He’s referring to the email sent by Rick Warren 1. Tim Morgan of Christianity Today explains ” a ‘mea culpa’ from me that this offer was done on a private basis and I misread this message as part of a public gesture. … So CT staff agreed to take the posting off the CT site. But, of course, it lives on via RSS feeds and elsewhere. This story has taken on quite a life of its own. So since Liveblog has been silent on this subject for days, I asked Rick for a brief clarification. He’s given permission to release these comments [above].”

And then there’s the Warren who travels with Martin Ssempa:

In August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. “Arrest all homos,” read placards. And: “A man cannot marry a man.” Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. “Homosexual promoters,” he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa.

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