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January 10, 2009


Eric Adams

I just read Tipping Point in December and had a similar reaction as you. It was a fascinating study of how trends move. I have been thinking about how this applies to theology, parenting, and church planting.

While his evidence was interesting, I thought some of his conclusions were overstated. Besides, it is impossible to completely reject meta-narratives. Looking forward to reading Blink in the next month or so.


Hey Eric -

Both macro and micro perspectives are important and we need balance, but the small levers are pieces I tend to overlook. I need to use this lens much more...



Completely off topic, but (while we're staying tuned) have you heard the latest on Rick Warren?



Does this book contradict Richard Koch's 80/20 principle? I've read 80/20 but not Malcolm Gladwell.


Not at all, Lisandro. 20% matters - the small stuff.


Splash -

Boy, I don't know if I can go there now. I have to give Rick Warren props - although I certainly have trouble with some of things he says / does. Not sure this episode is all that surprising. Have to chew on it...


Maybe I'm too hard on Warren. He's got a great sense of the "true religion is caring for widows/orphans" aspect of the faith. But I don't know... I just get this negative, "something's amiss" vibe every time he pops up.

Like I said in the comments on my blog: Rick Warren strikes me as "a real nice guy who likes to remind you of what a real nice guy he is. Because how else can we reach people with the gospel of nice guy Jesus Christ, right? He can feed all the poor people he wants, but if he can't even hold the line on sexual morality in the face of a hostile public, he's just a younger version of Robert Schuller."

I guess that's the only way I can put it. Though I daresay he's a more godly man than I regardless of my spiritual Spidey Sense on the matter.


Splash - I've been thinking of doing a post on Warren b/c I share some of your same feelings - and b/c I live in his backyard and know countless folks who go to his church.

No doubt it is the "kinder, gentler Gospel," and yet, Warren is reviled by almost all the right people, if you know what I mean. I think he's doing more of the right things than the wrong things - and I think we have a lot to learn from him.

A good friend I work with goes to his church and told me Warren was going through the great confessions of the faith in church - and had actually went over Westminster. By buddy started rattling-off parts of the Larger Catechism. All that to say... Warren is a more complex and substantive figure than you are giving him credit for.

I started to become a fan when I attended the Obama - McCain debate at Saddleback. Warren was simply brilliant.


Man. Did we see the same Saddleback forum? Unless they edited it for TV, I thought Warren was set dressing.

He had them both in the crosshairs and totally failed to press either on the issues. It was three and out on everything.

What, he gets points for tastefully, oh so gingerly bringing up abortion in the most neutral, Tom Brokaw-esqe way? Can you imagine Spurgeon or even Billy Graham letting "above my pay grade" go without lowering the boom, let alone a follow up? And he could have done so in a kindly manner.

But those are the times we live in, and I fully believe Pastor Rick did the bare minimum out of fear of cheesing his relationship/status. D James Kennedy never got invited to stuff like that because he wasn't one to kiss ass or fret over burned bridges.

And we wonder why church-goin' folk flocked to the most radically Left candidate this country has ever seen.

Rick Warren would have earned my undying respect if he had come out publicly and urged people to stand for righteousness against the man who has vowed, at a bare minimum, to "correct" the anti-abortion direction of the Supreme Court.

The Church (Protestant, anyway) was all but silent this election season. And as a perceived leader of this drive-up institution we call the American Church, Rick Warren did nothing but smiling photo ops with "my friend" Barack Obama.

He wussed out IMHO. Maybe out of good intentions in a naive hope he'll influence Obama down the road (think Bill Clinton and Tony Campolo, who was shocked, SHOCKED, to learn Bill was gettin' jiggy with it in the Oval Office after all their heart-to-hearts). But that's not Warren's call to make as proclaimer of a gospel that used to get its leaders thrown not to the MSM but the lions.

I'll take your word for it, but I'm telling ya, something significant doesn't pass the smell test.


Splash -

Warren didn't need to pound Obama for the "above my pay-grade" comment. Obama hung himself on that one. Warren's role was simply to tee-up the issues so we could get a better grip on the candidates - and he succeeded.

Warren's prayer at the inaugural was totally awesome. Totally. Awesome. I'm now solidly in this guy's camp.


My point on Warren at the Forum is that as a leader of Christians, it's his job as a proclaimer of the gospel to proactively, explicitly influence the body of Christ, which apparently is us.

Yes, if all he represents is a national moderator of American churchism, his unbiased performance at the Forum was acceptably functional.

But I personally know of Christians who were confused about how to vote on Obama. This type of person interpreted Warren's warmth and lack of condemnation AS AN ENDORSEMENT of the man.

That is Rick Warren's failure. And the failure of the vast majority of our spiritual leaders this go around.

How can you dispute this?

P.S. Dude... Nothing about the inauguration was awesome. Even the faithful were bugging out early. Looked like Dodger Stadium in the sixth inning.

And the prayer I heard from the Rickster played pretty much to the crowd -- heavy on the "thank God we can elect a black man," light on tying to impress our new leader with the importance of following biblical principles. (But hey, he had the boldness to say "Jesus!" In multiple languages!)

Clearly you have a Seinfeldian non-sexual crush on the man. :-)


Splash - ok, you've been begging for it. Guess I will have to just do a blog on Rick Warren. Stand by.


Sweet! I'm open to the possibilities.

But be forewarned, I just found your boy on YouTube saying "you need more than faith" to be saved. (Let's see ya squirm yer way outta that one!) I assume he was riffing on the faith-without-works passage, but ouch... (These things are bound to happen when you earn your pastoral credentials with boxtops.)

Sadly, this YouTube video also comes with a cheesy soundtrack of the Emperor's March from Star Wars, so please don't force me to use it. I probably look like a spazzy Bible-thumper enough already.


...and now here's Splash, with your Rick Watch hourly update!

So I'm watching the parade on DVR delay here, and Cokie Roberts is gushing about Rick, about how he's "grown," about how he's taken down all the "anti-gay stuff" from his website. How he's "going to be able to bring a lot of evangelicals into the tent" for the Democrats.


My wife popped her head into the room at that line and went, "What?! The Purpose Driven Life guy scrubbed his website for these people?!" (She's beautiful when she's pissed!)

The ABC moment was all part of a larger discussion about the glorious pluralism of Barack's America -- with a quick detour to the days of the Founders "who were largely deists," of course.

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