Well, I got my new issue of TIME magazine today, and guess whose mug is plastered across the front of it? None other than Rick Warren. Apparently, "America's most powerful religious leader," as TIME titles him, is doing some incredibly charitable acts in nearly every corner of the globe. It seems that he has a good start, as well; but he has also encountered some roadblocks. TIME has the complete story (what they've covered of it, anyhow) here: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1830147,00.html.
As I skeptically began reading this article, I expected to find more ecumenically condemning snippets than I did, but I must say that I have finished more disappointed than anything. The disappointment, maybe to your surprise, is not what you may have guessed. The article relates Warren's plans of setting up (Purpose Driven) churches in every country in order to meet the needs of the…needy. I heard previously that Warren was teaming with many different non-Christian religious leaders in order to accomplish this aspiration of his, but I didn't hear much about that in this article. Rather, Warren seems to be gaining popularity with political leaders.
Athough Warren is rubbing elbows with the likes of Barack Obama and the president of some African country, he maintains his allegiance to his pastoral role. On the other hand, Warren has invited America's two presidential candidates to discuss the issues at hand on August 16th in his church. I really don't see anything wrong with this; as a matter of fact, this is normal historically. The topics are what concerns me: according to TIME, Warren plans to shy away from "'sin issues'—like abortion and gay marriage" in order to focus on "questions that he feels are 'uniting,' such as 'poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate change and human rights…'"
To sum up, the reason why I have come away from this article in disappointment is not because Warren is accomplishing these kind acts for mankind all over the world. I do, however, believe that he is being rather political in his approach in order to be successful, and he probably is enlisting the aid of non-Christians to accomplish his goal. I just don't condone this unification with unbelievers from someone who calls himself a preacher of the Gospel. But the disappointment I feel is that someone like Warren has initiated this movement to reach the world in order to meet their physical needs when someone who would be more likely to have a focus on meeting their spiritual needs is not.
All in all, I think it's nice that someone is taking the initiative to gets these things done, and I pray that—no matter how flawed Warren's methods—God will use those associated with this movement to reach those others for whom Christ died. Brings to mind the thought of God raising up rocks to bring Him glory...