Rick Warren in debt for $900K, calls on 'flock' for cash
The United States most visible and controversial Evangelical Pastor, and alleged associate of 'The Family, Pastor Rick Warren, is in debt for $900K.
Warren, who was selected by President Obama to deliver the opening invocation at the president's inauguration in January 2009, and who has many, including Gays questioning his duplicity on Uganda's Anti-homosexuality Bill and Proposition 8, is purportedly calling on his 'flock' for cash despite economic hard-times claiming, "The cause of our financial shortfall was NOT a management issue but simply by the way Christmas occurred in this year's calendar."
Evangelical pastor Rev. Rick Warren, who is suspected of playing a role in the crafting of Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill, wrote to his followers at Saddleback Church that it was in debt to the tune of $900,000 on December 30, only to write them on New Year's Day saying a "miracle" had occurred, and "the church of God marches on, and once again God surprises all of us!"
In the December 30th email, which is posted on the church's blog, Warren wrote, "Dear Saddleback Family, THIS IS AN URGENT LETTER unlike any I've written in 30 years. Please read all of it and get back to me in the next 48 hours ... on the last weekend of 2009, our total offerings were less than half of what we normally receive – leaving us $900,000 in the red for the year."
The next day, Warren posted an email that he had received from one of his followers saying, "I was just standing above the Ministry Center entrance with tears in my eyes watching people walk up and drop giving envelopes in the door box. I received your email at home at 2:50 pm and it's just amazing watching people come up and drop off giving envelopes so soon after."
In the same post, Warren said, "The cause of our financial shortfall was NOT a management issue but simply by the way Christmas occurred in this year's calendar. After 10 packed Christmas services, and with Christmas Day on Friday, many people were out of town or too tired to come back for weekend services, so the unusually low attendance created an unusually low offering."
He added, "The media will undoubtedly report my letter, but only partially, not telling the whole story. They may get some facts wrong or even misjudge our motivations. I know this is frustrating, but don't let it bother you."
So was Warren really in debt for $900,000, or was he just squeezing his followers for end-of-year cash?
Cathy Lynn Grossman, writing for USA Today called Warren a "poor-mouthing caricature" and criticized his lack of originality in "finding a way to bring Saddleback's very typical recession season budget shortfall to the attention of the congregation." Grossman called Warren a "marketing wiz" and "atypical media star" who seized "the chance to appear as a media victim."
We may never know the real story behind Warren's claims, although it's reasonable to assume the recession is taking its toll on his church. Perhaps it's time for Warren to do some belt-tightening like everyone else instead of trying to make himself a bigger media star.