Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sigh. @RickWarren Doubles Down

If you're coming into this, mid-stream, well, welcome. I've already done two posts (here and here) about Rick Warren's recent twitter activity, so you might want to catch those posts to know what's going on. So you don't misunderstand, this was the original tweet that started all of this. It has since been deleted.

His follow-up tweets treat this as a teachable-moment for the rest of twitter. Here they are in the order in which they were tweeted.

He defends the original tweet and does not say the original tweet was out of line. In fact, he claims it was exactly the right thing to say. I have two problems with that.

1) If the original tweet was such a good and edifying challenge to other churches and church leaders, why delete it? 

Maybe he feels it was the right thing to tweet, but lost it's meaning in the constraints of 140 characters. Only Rick knows the reason he deleted the original tweet. Maybe he'll comment here and tell us!

2) The Biblical references he cites do not support his original tweet very well.

Let's break down 2 Cor. 8:1-8 first. Paul challenges a church that he has an intimate relation with to compare themselves to the Macedonian church. The equivalent would be if Rick Warren saw that Irving Bible Church was doing cool things to serve their community and challenged Saddleback to look at what IBC was doing and do likewise. That's not the spirit of his original tweet.

The next passage is 1 Chronicles 29:2-5 in which David describes his donation to the work of the temple. Here, David shows the people that he too has given sacrificially to the building of the temple and encourages them to do likewise. It's not a challenge to see who can match him in either the gift or devotion. David leads by example. The equivalent here would be if Rick tweeted that Saddleback was sending missionaries and encouraged other churches to also send missionaries. (I use the missionary example because Pastor Rick has also tweeted about that recently.) David wasn't throwing down a competition, he was leading by example.

I've said it before, but I love the work that Rick Warren does to encourage pastors to move beyond their normal boundaries. He teaches us to trust God to do amazing things through us and our churches. Please don't take these last few posts to indicate that I'm a Rick Warren-hater or something, because nothing could be further from the truth. 

I just wanted to point out what one commenter called "twitter-gate" to help us remember that communication in social media is far-reaching and lasts forever. We, Rick Warren included, need to learn that in order to use it as effectively as possible. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for breaking down Warren's weak defenses for us.

I followed @rickwarren myself and have noticed some other self-righteous tweets about his or his church's deeds. I can understand him being excited about his church and what he has done. I hope this "twitter-gate" incident will remind him to have a Christ-centered church and not a Rick-centered place.

A friend of mine has been attending Saddleback Church for 15 years and I was speaking with him about the Bible and he had nothing. I do not think they use the Bible in that church, which could be part of the problem.

I understand that Saddleback church does a lot of great things, don't get me wrong, but this tweet may have opened up the eyes of many and hopefully the eyes of the church congregation.

Gabe Smith said...

Like I said above, I have a lot of respect for Rick Warren and Saddleback Church. I don't know Rick's heart; that's between him and the Lord. But I do wish he had handled this particular misstep differently.

I'm glad he is excited about his church and what the Lord is doing through them. I think a lot of churches could use this kind of energy boost from their pastors and within their congregations. This is probably a case of that energy going beyond certain boundaries. I had hoped for are more humble series of follow-up tweets from him.

Thank you for reading Digital Worshiper and for the comment! Knowing someone is out there reading keeps me motivated! :)

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