According to an AP (Associated Press) report out of Washington DC, “Rick Warren is calling for reconciliation in politics and the church.” Warren spoke at Washington’s National Cathedral on Sunday. The report also stated that Warren said “the nation needs both liberals and conservatives, and he lamented that evangelicals are often viewed as only ‘right wing.'”1 Warren’s ongoing message has been that “right winged” Christians against gay marriage and abortion need to come to a middle of the road place with liberal “Christians” who want to do something about the environment and AIDS.
An article on Christianity Today’s blog by Stan Guthrie asks the question: “But with the persistent push in our culture toward both abortion and homosexual marriage, what would these critics have Christian conservatives do? … Are we not allowed to answer [our critics]?” According to Rick Warren, the answer to that last question is no – there should be no resistance.
Rick Warren’s talk on Sunday was titled “A New Century: A New Reformation”2 and called “a very special conversation.”
The National Cathedral is an Episcopalian church with a focus on interspirituality and global peace. In October of 2007, the Cathedral held the Interfaith Peace Prayer Practices festival which included: monks from the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery in Dharamsala, India, a labyrinth, the Holy Catholic Eucharist, Kabbalistic (Jewish mysticism) prayer practices, Sufism (Islamic mysticism), and contemplative prayer from the panentheistic Shalem Prayer Institute (where Ruth Haley Barton was trained).
While many may think Rick Warren is out of his element in a place that honors the various mystical traditions of the world, in reality, he fits in well. Warren has promoted the contemplative prayer movement for many years and is partly responsible for the huge success of Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. Warren has also been an evangelist for the emerging church movement, which is a catalyst for mysticism and interspirituality in Christianity.
Warren’s statement of the need for both liberals and conservatives and his view of bringing together religion and politics fall in step with the three-legged stool concept that Warren derived from people like Peter Drucker. The three-legged stool is the unification (and reconcilation) of religion, government (politics) and business (economics).
Quotes from Rick Warren’s talk at the National Cathedral:
“[F]or the last 50 years the hands and the feet of the body of Christ have been cut off and we’ve just been a big mouth … and usually we’re known more for, at least evangelicals are known more for what they’re against than what they’re for. And I’m just tired of that, and I intend to change it.” (14:09 minute mark)
“People ask me all the time, Are you left-winged or right-winged? … I’m for the left wing and for the right wing…. the fundamental truth is Washington needs both wings.(14:45 m. mark)
“Just because you disagree with someone doesn’t give you the right to demonize them.” (15:30 m. mark)
“A two-legged stool with fall over. In order to solve the world’s greatest problems, it takes three sectors of society … it takes government, it takes businesses, it takes churches … all three legs of the stool work together (19:45 m. mark)
Other Quotes by Rick Warren:
Personal computers have brand names. But inside every pc is an Intel chip and an operating system. Windows…. The Purpose Driven paradigm is the Intel chip for the 21st-century church and the Windows system of the 21st-century church.” Rick Warren, Christianity Today, Oct. 2005
“[W]e are possibly on the verge of a new reformation in Christianity and another Great Awakening in our nation … The signs are everywhere, including the popularity of this book.” Rick Warren, Baptist Press, Sept. 2004
“I really do feel that these people are brothers and sisters in God’s family. I am looking to build bridges with the Orthodox Church, looking to build bridges with the Catholic Church, with the Anglican church.” Rick Warren at Anglican conference, 11/05
“Today there really aren’t that many Fundamentalists left; I don’t know if you know that or not, but they are such a minority; there aren’t that many Fundamentalists left in America.” from RW talk at the Pew Forum on Religion
“Now the word “fundamentalist” actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity” … Pew Forum on Religion