Last night Rick and Kay Warren appeared on the Hannity and Colmes show. They were interviewed about their current crusade to help AIDS victims. It’s a laudable goal. However, the way it came to Pastor Rick and Kay’s attention leaves deep questions about the ingrown nature of these Purpose Driven leaders and their movement.
Kay said she originally thought AIDS was just a gay disease and since she didn’t know anyone with that disease it had nothing to do with her. She said she didn't know its wider impact on the rest of society. She first became aware of its significance after reading an article about how AIDS is devastating Africa. She talked to Rick and helped him see the importance of the problem.
Alan Colmes pointed out the first problem: Kay Warren didn’t think that gay-related health issues would be of concern to her. Kay agreed that she was wrong on that and has had a turn around in her views. That’s positive.
But, one wonders what kind of closed view the Warrens had that they would think that a devastating disease for any segment of the population would not be important.
The second problem is the apparent cocoon that the Warrens lived in--maybe still live in. Didn’t they ever read the newspaper or even watch television news? The knowledge of the growing AIDS crisis in Africa has been around since the mid-1980's.
Even more specific to their church leadership role, in all their years at Saddleback Church did they never have a part in sending missionaries to help Africans? Did they not talk to those missionaries about major problems Africans are facing--including AIDS?
The good news is that the Warrens, and hopefully other Purpose Driven leaders, are becoming aware that human need is more central to the Gospel than comfortable worship style. What’s not so encouraging is that this was a recent major discovery as regards AIDS.
One is left to wonder if this is only a small distraction for the Purpose Driven movement from its general direction towards making Christianity simpler, more comfortable and more appealing to middle class America. Is it throwing easy surplus dollars and spare time at a problem and then going back to comfortable everyday life? Or is it the beginning of a call to transformation from a lifestyle of upscale multi-million dollar church campuses and comfortable homes, cars and blingy do-dads to a simpler, sacrificial lifestyle that really cares about pleasing God and helping people in desperate need?