What? Megachurch Leader Rick Warren Left Behind?

What? Megachurch Leader Rick Warren Left Behind? November 20, 2014

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(Today’s is a guest post from our friend Mike Moore*; it’s an email he sent me [used with his permission, of course; links inserted by me]. Take it away, Mr. Mike!:)

John, it’s 4 a.m.-ish, and I just had a dream.

I swear to God (who may or may not be personal, but let’s not argue about that now), I swear to Jesus (who we can agree is awesome, period)—and I also swear that I am not hopped-up on cough syrup and Red Bull—that this dream is totally true.

It was a dream, so it’s frickin’ weird like dreams can be.

Fade in: I’m in a cluster of people who are all talking about God and Christianity. The cluster dissipates, and I’m left alone with a weird guy wearing tacky-but-Prada eyeglasses. He is obviously straight, but nonetheless asks me if I want to hit the bar and get a scotch.

Then the weird guy with tacky-but-Prada eyeglasses and I are at a bar getting our scotch on and chatting.

I suddenly realize that he looks very familiar, though I can’t quite place him. With no small degree of panic I also realize that we are not, after all, in a bar. We’re at the Humanum conference in Vatican City.

I see Tony Perkins, king of  the Family Research Council douchebags, looking smug and standing just a few feet away. I turn to my new scotch-drinking buddy, and ask him if he wants to blow the joint and join me for dinner at this awesome Italian restaurant down the street.

As we’re heading out, a bunch of people start saying, “I love your work,” to my new buddy with the tacky-but-Prada eyeglasses.

It clicks. I now realize that the dude is Rick Warren. [Rick Warren on gay marriage: ‘The Church must not cave in’]

So (me being me and all), I say to him, “Rick, I just want to say I’ve been married to an awesome guy for almost thirty years, and I want your respect.”

“I can’t do that,” he replies. “It’s not biblical. Scripture says—”

“Rick, stop. I know scripture. I went to Sunday school, I went to Hume Lake Christian Camp, where, if you haven’t accepted Jesus by Thursday night, they threaten you, in excruciating and terror-inducing detail, with eternal damnation and hellfire. I went to Westmont College. Do not throw scripture at me.”

So Rick holds his tongue (!).

As we’re headed out the door of the Vatican City conference on our way to the Italian restaurant, I say to him, “Dude, you need to make room for everyone, and understand that scripture can be read and interpreted in numerous ways. You’ve got to make room for everyone, Rick. If you don’t, then when the Rapture comes, you will be Left Behind.”

Warren stops dead in his tracks, an “Oh, my God, what if he’s right?” expression on his face. He’s so scared that he’s rendered speechless.

End of dream. I wake up. I’m super happy. Because I said the truth to Rick Warren, and he heard it.

When he realized that his cruel clinging to the condemnation of LGBT people would damn him forever, Rick Warren was stunned into silence.

It was only a dream, I know.

But I have a dream.


Previous guest posts of Mike’s:

A Good Week to Hate Christians

Would You Confront a Pastor as This Man Did?

A gay reader confronts a Catholic Bishop at an airport 


Image courtesy of Photoshop ninja Dan Wilkinson of Cooling Twilight and Unfundamentalist Christians.


I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Well dreamt! 😀

  • Dandhman

    “When he realized that his cruel clinging to the condemnation of LGBT people would damn him forever, Rick Warren was stunned into silence.”

    This goes to support what I was saying on belief in Hell = alcohol. Sometimes even the best of us start literally dreaming that we can righteously tell people that they are bound for Hell. Sometimes revenge fantasies are the only healthy way to process and move past hurt and anger.

    But doesn’t this also speak to the highest ambitions of Christianity too?

    I’m not a pastor, and I cannot with a full conscience call myself a Christian, but the desire to speak the truth to someone who is doing harm and to see them believe you and come back to the good, I imagine that is the reason so many members of the clergy began to minister in the first place.

  • lymis

    Stranger dreams have come to pass. Here’s hoping.

    But you have GOT to stop letting fundamentalist preachers pick you up in bars, dude. That never ends well.

  • Bill Steffenhagen

    HEHEHEHE…My chuckle for the day.

  • wvawmn

    I love it!

  • Maura Hart

    love it!

  • Lymis, “Strange Pick-ups in Bars” could be the title of my memoir. But that would be for a one of those “you must be 18 years or older to enter” blogs.

    On the upside, met my husband of almost 30 years at a gay bar … strangest pick up of all time. (No. Really.)

  • ContractionsAbound

    Dreaming a Christian pastor would go to hell. How loving! Satan has the same dream.

  • Dandhman

    Note my previous post.

    “Sometimes even the best of us start literally dreaming that we can righteously tell people that they are bound for Hell.”

  • John Masters

    If you ever want to have some real fun with a fundamentalist, look them right in the eye, and say, “You know, Paul was writing for his time, and he expected Jesus’ return in his lifetime…so what if the rapture’s already happened, and you didn’t make the cut?”

    I swear heads explode.

  • Or, as I’ve often wondered, “what if the return of Jesus was not in the form that everyone thought? In his usual fashion being a bit cryptic about all things future. Instead it happened shortly after the ascension, while one of his former friends was speaking to a large crowd during the late spring/early summer Jewish festival?

  • lymis

    Gosh, way to miss the entire point! He dreamed that he made a Christian pastor confront the blind prejudice that might interfere with his salvation, not that the man went to hell.

    He dreamed a Christian pastor would go to a bar. Not (usually) the same thing as going to hell.

  • lymis

    I hear you. The title of my memoir would be from a comment a friend made to try to explain me to someone else – “Not Quite As Much Like The Rest of Us As Most People.”

  • Guy Norred

    Lasting 30 years at least puts it in the unusual category, which is only a small step from strange, so…. 🙂

  • Reading what you sanctimoniously respond to! Oh, Lymis. How droll.

  • Nessie Siler

    ” I went to Hume Lake Christian Camp, where, if you haven’t accepted Jesus by Thursday night…” Best sentence ever!
    You were at a few of those gatherings too, huh?

    🙂 Nessie

  • lymis

    Try, “When the Rapture comes, can I have your stuff?”

  • lymis

    True. That’s a lot to expect. My bad.

  • Dandhman

    While we’re on the subject of the rapture…

    Does anyone else think that half of the self-conceited BS that the fundies throw around is BECAUSE of the traditional view of the rapture?

    Since they’re “saved” they get to watch the rest of us being fried by nuclear ordinance from a safe distance with Jesus in the skybox. They’ll enjoy the canapes and tut-tut about what a shame we weren’t saved.
    Armed with this marvelous concept, its like they salivate at the prospect of the end of the world like bond villains.

  • maryterry

    Same here…..went to Hume Lake….. a LOT!!

  • Lynne Everest

    Lymis, I think you misunderstood the guy’s comment. It was not the presence of the pastor in the bar that would have sent him to hell. Its the fact that Moore implies that the salvation of the pastor (or anyone else) could be jeopardized by what they as mere men say and do.

    Many Christians (myself included and perhaps you too, I don’t know) believe that God’s grace alone through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross (dying as payment for our sins) is the only salvation for each of us and further, that it is ‘once and for all time’. God doesn’t take it away because of what we think, say and do – past, present or future. That would dismiss what Christ did – that was a complete work by God alone. We just need to believe Him.

    If and when we believe, or even let God know sincerely that we ‘want’ to believe, and that we understand or ‘want’ to understand that we are sinners in need of His salvation, then we are gifted by the indwelling HS who, with our own spirit, works out our salvation all to the glory of God. That’s why grace, then, does not become a ‘license to sin’, as many fear (or accuse). We are made new, gifted with new desires. We will sin, but generally speaking, it will no longer be our MO. We are in His grip and “there now is no more condemnation for those who believe”.

    No two people and no two journeys with God will be alike. Some will be slower and not engaged in certain areas, but many others have already evolved.

    Sorry, I’m not trying to sermonize or ‘wax eloquent’, just still thinking all this stuff out loud myself. Cheers.

  • Mark

    But they still love us, even as they’re watching us being fried. Yeah, right.

  • Mark

    And yet, Rick Warren and, apparently, you, seem to be OK with all LGBT persons rotting away in hell. What difference whether they are pastors, or even Christians? You have more compassion for Christian pastors than for non-Christian forced child sex slaves?

  • Mark

    Ever gone to a – gasp! – BAR, John? Ever lifted a cold one with a buddy out in public?

  • lymis

    Um…. no, I didn’t misunderstand. But thanks for the sermon.

  • I recently came across a comment in which someone eloquently said that all queers should go burn in hell and leave the normal people alone (but with more expletives and grammar mistakes). I found it interesting how he didn’t even express a wish that they repent and turn to God, or what a shame it was we weren’t saved; nope, just straight to hell. It’s like he decided all LGBT people were a lost cause from the start.

  • Lynne Everest

    A sermon is not what I wanted to give you or anyone. If that is how it translated, I apologize. Like I said. I’m still working through a lot of this stuff myself and have been for years. I could have stopped after paragraph 2. Its just that people usually jump to a conclusion that involves a gross distortion of the freedom grace affords to us and I wanted to cut that off at the pass.

    Also, I wondered where you Lymis, as a Christian, weighed in on free grace for all who believe, and, to ask you, is our redemption locked down by Christ’s work on the cross, or is it a slippery back and forth cheap salvation that comes and goes based on our own failings and successes, on what we say and do (?).

    **********************************************
    Mike Moore says, “You’ve got to make room for everyone, Rick. If you don’t, then when the Rapture comes, you will be Left Behind.”

    Rick Warren doesn’t save souls, the HS does. Yeah, he can do a lot of damage, so can the rest of us. And we do hellacious crap all the time. But the fact that Rick Warren may be wrong about who will gain heaven is not going to jeopardize his own salvation, let along cause him to be ‘left behind’ in the so-called ‘rapture’. I’m thinking. (And that is based on my faith and my journey with scripture and the HS and confirmation by my spiritual leaders.)

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as a rapture, but it doesn’t matter to me either way. The outcome is the same. I purposely stay away from all that revelatory bs since few can agree on any of it. Maybe it was meant to be indeterminable.

    Again, I regret offending you.
    Lynne

  • Andy

    Yikes.

  • Andy

    Would that lake be named for David Hume, the skeptic’s skeptic? Because that would be hilarious.

  • Andy

    I would read this memoir

  • Well, I still love chicken, even while watching it being fried…

  • Sad

  • When you try to deny sermonizing, by sermonizing you lose the discussion. I still don’t think you got the point of the piece, which is not really about an afterlife scenario at all, but how we are supposed to treat one another in this life

  • lymis

    I think it’s chickens and eggs. That both parts of it feed into each other.

  • lymis

    I wouldn’t dream of guessing what goes on in their heads, but a lot of anti-gay people speak and act as though we are an alien species to whom the rules they apply to the rest of their universe don’t apply.

    You see that in exactly this idea – that gay people are inherently unredeemable, whether that’s unexamined or based on something like “being homosexual means you’ve turned yourself over to Satan so completely that even discussing salvation is pointless.”

    But you also see it in the “logic” that is used against gay people or gay rights. Things they never would dream of applying to anyone else gets applied to us without a second thought. For example, the idea that allowing gay people to marry would be an unsupportable drain on public funds, while saying all of us have the right already to marry someone of the opposite sex (at which point the money to support our marriages would magically appear.) Or that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because we can’t procreate together, but isn’t it wonderful that Grandma found a wonderful man to share her Golden Years with.

    If we aren’t even people, then they don’t need to examine their unchristian approach to us. We aren’t their neighbors, because only people are neighbors, so “Love your neighbor” doesn’t apply.

    It gets very old.

  • lymis

    Lynne, first and foremost, you are trying to read some sort of complex theological worldview into what was essentially a joke about a gay man talking to someone like Rick Warren in a bar, when Warren’s public approach to gay rights and the very human dignity of gay people has essentially been support of annihilating us completely.

    It was about joking that Matt should hang out with a better class of people, even in his dreams, not about ANYTHING relating to Rick Warren’s salvation. It’s about needing a full-body anti-nuclear skin decontamination for merely being in the same room with the man.

    As it happens, do believe that salvation is open to all, and I don’t believe in hell, with the possible exception of a temporary condition that people may be able to put themselves in, not something God condemns them to.

  • Nessie … twice … winter weekend, super fun. Summer camp, super scary. Thursday before dinner was also when the guys in each cabin got the “masturbation is a sin and God is watching you and He is totally grossed out.” Get the kids’ guilt all revved-up before threatening them with hell lateer the same evening. Learned my lesson, never went back.

  • fyi – I’d been reading the horrible things they’d been saying earlier that day in Rome about gay people, so I think my subconscious would reply to you, grade-school style, “they started it!” Plus, I don’t believe in Hell.

  • Lynne Everest

    Lymis, I thought I was just addressing your response to what a commenter (ContradictionsAbound) was saying about Moore’s take on how a man (Rick Warren) could jeopardize his personal salvation by his own errors/ mistakes/ sins etc.

    I was just puzzled about your answer to ConAbou. I’m just getting to know you a bit from some of your other interactions on this blog and I wondered if you believed like Mike about that particular point. I was not critiquing the overall piece. I could see it was offered jokingly. And, you’re right of course, that a larger point was being made by Moore about the sickening atrocities committed (by and large, generally speaking and for the most part) by the Christian community against gays. No argument there, at all… EVER. And that especially includes, I think, those abuses ignorantly, if not conveniently, covered with sugar and spice and everything nice.

    **********************************************************
    But the fact does remain that your response seemed to agree with the implication Moore was making – that salvation can be threatened by our sins:

    You said, “…He dreamed that he made a Christian pastor confront the blind prejudice that might interfere with his salvation…”

    I’m sorry if I misunderstood your intent there.

    For me, the security of our salvation by the work of Christ is significant, central really – certainly no small matter. Like you, I also believe salvation is open to all. The defining verse of the bible, John 3:16, in its entirety, makes pretty clear the who, what, why, when and how of the gift of eternal life.

    And of late, I am questioning the existence of eternal hell. An eternal state of dying and being tortured by fire and/or monsters and demons? I just don’t know anymore. It’s very hard to accept that a loving God would not have a remedy for that – even if it is eternal ‘nothingness’.

    But then again, maybe not. How often have most of us, during our desperate times in the abyss, found that the ‘nothingness’ alternative sounded like a rather attractive proposition? An easier way out of our living and contending in our own private earthly ‘hells’ or surrendering to a seeming immoral, mean, small god, or a nameless, faceless, apathetic God?

    I’m really glad there is a lot of discussion and disagreement among modern theologians about the existence of hell, frankly. I’m sure you’re aware of the bloody boxing matches happening in the evangelical circles on that one.

    Who is Matt?

    Peace,
    Lynne

  • Brandon Roberts

    I’m not going to lie I disagree with rick warren on pretty much most things (including gay marriage& the rapture) I don’t have a problem with him though he seems like a nice guy. But the fundie version of the rapture is frightfully unbiblical

  • louis

    thx 4 asking this!

    ‘Does anyone else think that half of the self-conceited BS that the fundies throw around is BECAUSE of the traditional view of the rapture?’

    “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”

    ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

    i think the ‘tradition’ is a construct of powers and principalities which have succeeded in brainwashing the whole global community of christians by persistently and earnestly repeating statements & warnings, that trigger fight or flight reactions. it’s commercial potential has been sucessfully exploiting fans for centuries. Why? b/c of the temptation, (defence mechanism? coping strategy?) of all humans, which seems to want to project the s**t we refuse to own about ourselves and seeks a convienient scapegoat to blame. this lying ‘tradition ‘ has become mantra that is passionate b/c it is on deathrow, the writting is on the wall, it’s lease has expired, it’s day has come and gone and is done. a new day dawns. i think if you or i can see this maybe it is b/c a kingdom is opening before us.

  • louis

    a tautology for the ‘traditionals’, i have noticed, is that ‘not willing that any should perish’ ‘any’ is a narrowed category only appicable to themselves.

  • louis

    ‘poor chicken!’ *tears run down cheeks* (it’s delicious!)

  • louis

    is there’s a ‘fun’ gus among us!?
    hi gus!

  • Guest

    w/respect i think i’ve read it somewhere that nothing can separate us from god’s love. does ‘nothing’ mean nothing?

  • louis

    yikes!

  • Lynne Everest

    Guest commenter, I believe that is so, yes, nothing can separate us from the love of God. And, nothing means nothing.

    I’m not sure why you are making that point here, but yes, I do agree that is a true statement.

    ****************************************
    Did I indicate somewhere in my comments that I believe something could separate us from God or His love? I was trying to do just the opposite by saying there is nothing in the words and/or actions of men (redeemed men) that would cause them to be separated from the love of God and/or from eternity in heaven.

    No one agrees on every point of doctrine and that isn’t necessary, because, again, that would make salvation dependent on man’s actions and man’s interpretation of doctrinal points; points that are often subordinate to man’s simple belief and confession in the saving grace of Christ (Romans 10:9).

    *****************************************
    That was, in fact, the very point I was making to Lymis: Mike Moore implied that Rick Warren could be left behind if he himself (Warren) did not believe there was room for ‘everyone’, including gays, to be raptured.

    So, here is my point in a nutshell: (if) Rick Warren is a redeemed man of God, a sinner saved by grace, a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Warren’s salvation is signed, sealed and delivered, protected by God for all time and eternity. It doesn’t matter if Warren thinks gays will or won’t be raptured. His believing that (error) will not jeopardize his own salvation.

    *****************************************
    I can’t be the only person reading this thread who noticed Moore’s conclusion about Warren’s ‘salvation being in jeopardy’ is without merit. Notwithstanding the fact that the entire dream-story was offered as a sort of a joke. He sorely missed the boat on that one (very essential) point. And I mean essential in a (side) discussion about security of our salvation. I thought it was important enough to note Moore’s error. That other commenter also responded to that error.

    To Moore and Lymis, I would say this: ‘Warren being left behind (Moore), or Warren’s salvation being interfered with (Lymis), is clearly impossible. imo

    I guess it was not as important a story detail to most readers as it was to me. I’m sorry for my part in getting some of us side-tracked this far. I thought, and still do, it was important to know (or remember) that unbelief is the only sin that prevents folks from being with our loving God.

    Lynne E.

  • Lynne Everest

    Not that it makes any difference, but I do say this – I personally do NOT think there will be a rapture. I think that is a very recent misinterpretation of a Thessalonians verse and elsewhere, during the last 300 years by a person(s)…now magnified (to the mainstream perhaps).

    But if there was or is going to be a rapture, I think it will be populated by redeemed believers, both gay and straight. It will NOT include non-redeemed/non-believers, gay or straight.

    imho

  • You’re quite seriously confused. If you’re not a Christian and the rapture comes, then you are not going to be able to use any stuff. It will be curtains for you.