Thursday, December 31, 2009

At least he isn't telling everyone God will call him home

Oh noes. Now it's Rick Warren who needs money for his ministry. Like, 900 large. And he needs it by, oh, tomorrow.

Warren said the church managed to stay within its budget, but "the bottom dropped out" when Christmas donations dropped. "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 letter reads....

Warren's appeal presents an opportunity for those who haven't been hit by the recession to step up and help, Ross said.

I got the impression Warren himself hasn't been hit especially hard by the recession. I bet some of his royalties from The Purpose Driven Life would cover that shortfall pretty handily.


  1. This is absurd.

    Like Martin said, Mr. Warren should be able step up and fill in the gap, especially since it is likely the case that the cause of the financial gap is due to his own failure(s) to sucker his flock out of their money.

  2. Well, he's probably right that a huge chunk of his congregation are unemployed and less able to donate. But the whole point is that a megachurch run by a millionaire celebrity preacher who gets invited by the president, no less, to deliver an invocation at the inauguration shouldn't expect the hoi polloi to be the ones to keep it propped up financially.

  3. The way i see it he was using money that he had not had in his pocket. He was relying on his poor following to give him more than $900,000. he is a prick and i hope his church goes under and becomes a parking lot! I currently live in the bible belt and they have so many churches here. I mean literally you can drive down any road and find at least one church across from another one. They are worse than Starbucks! at least Starbucks coffee and pastries are good!

  4. Yet another megachurch that doesn't seem to be getting quite as much help from god as they might hope.

    Growing up, I was told that "god helps those who help themselves". Yet we see a lot of highly suggestive evidence that god doesn't do much to help himself.

    A number of these mega-ministries have proven their belief that the actual phrase is "god helps those who help themselves to the till". Yet they always seem to be able to find the suckers.

  5. It's interesting that Saddleback is so badly managed that they couldn't anticipate that donations would be way down in this horrible economy. How is telling the flock "we need $900,000" going to do anything, when they clearly don't have the money?

  6. When I first saw the "900 large", I thought you were making up a gangsta name for Oral Roberts. What a coincidence that Warren's Church is 900 million in debt.

    I guess Warren's "purpose" is to find a better accountant.

  7. Warrne is not taking a salary from the church. He gives away 90% of what he makes.

    Do a Google search next time before you post.

  8. Maybe god wants Rick to close down.

  9. How wonderful of him to provide such an "opportunity" for some lucky folks.

  10. Warrne is not taking a salary from the church. He gives away 90% of what he makes.

    And it's still not enough to keep the church afloat?

    Then the answer is simple. The church needs to scale back. Sell property, move to smaller facilities. It's not like other businesses haven't had to do the same.

  11. Well, at least with either outcome, they'll still be able to justify that God loves them:

    Outcome: Church fails.
    Justification: God's mysterious, this is a test, blah blah.

    Outcome: Money is raised.
    Justification: Clearly God has given us a miracle!


  12. Warrne is not taking a salary from the church. He gives away 90% of what he makes.

    So fucking what. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet gave away 90% of their ENTIRE wealth and they are both secularists. Why do religious leaders who share a measure of wealth that places them in the most elite circles of this world always need to broadcast just how generous they are. One might argue effectively that it is a requirement of the ultra-wealthy to give away the vast majority of their wealth -- and without the fanfare telling everyone what generous people they are.

    When 10% of your income or wealth still maintains a lifestyle most people would define as wealthy -- as it clearly does for the likes of Rick Warren -- no one cares what percentage of his book sales he donates. What distinguishes a philanthropist as generous, kind, caring, and good is what they ultimately DO with their generosity. Bill Gates (did I mention he is an atheist?) is attempting to rebuild the economies and societies across the continent of Africa, and to stem the spread of AIDS there as well. What has Rick Warren done with his generosity -- I mean besides spreading his particularly pernicious form of Christian Dominionism through his self-serving ministry?

  13. As to the idea that Warren gives away 90% of what he earns, that's all well and good, but if he's so generous with his earnings, it's reasonable to assume that he'd devote a significant amount of it toward his own church, right? If he has been doing so, then why this massive financial crisis? I'm not going to criticize the guy just to be mean, but come do you sell however many millions of copies of a book (or books?) like his and not have enough to support your own church?

  14. In stark contrast: The RDFRS, also just ending its fund-raising season, somehow managed to raise over 150% their target number this year despite the current economy. Though $100K (the original target of RDFRS' fund-raising efforts) is a tiny fraction of the budget of Warren's Saddleback Church, I hope that this illustration of overall success and failure becomes representative of future trends in this country.

  15. This guy lies for a living. Just because Warren says he gives away 90% of his income doesn't mean it's true. When he opens the books then I'll believe him.

  16. Many businesses of all kinds, and governments too, are having difficulties because of the recession. Since his business relies heavily on donations, it only seems natural that he would make an appeal for more.

  17. Several posters raise the important question, 'how come this huge amount amount of money ostensibly can't keep one church afloat?'.
    My answer is, money needs to be squeaky clean before the IRS stops looking for a share. Hovind tried the 'no salary' scheme, but he blundered by adding 'my salary is belong to God' instead of just making the money disappear and then reappear out another channel.

  18. /Snark I'm sure his friends in Uganda can lend him some gold teeth /snark.

  19. >Growing up, I was told that "god helps those who help themselves". Yet we see a lot of highly suggestive evidence that god doesn't do much to help himself.

    It's funny how when I was a kid growing up in Christianity, I also heard this a lot. But as an atheist--I still appreciate the phrase. It's sort of like saying: "God and a couple aspirin will make your headache go away." When I read it as an atheist, the statement itself seems to take on a much less theistic, and more skeptical tone toward god. Along the lines of "if you want something done you have to do it yourself." The idea being that you're the one who has to do it, because there's nobody going to help you--you're on your own.

    Why doesn't Warren consider that god is angry at him for something? Or that god is giving him a sign he should wind things down and retire? It's funny how when things go well it's "blessings" but when they go badly it's "trials" not "punishments"--unless it's bad things happening to people you disagree with. Then it's punishments.

    Austin Cline posted a blog about a recent study showing that people's brains map to an area that imagines how others think, when they're asked to consider what others think. But when asked what "god" thinks, the brain maps to the same area they access when they're considering "what _I_ think" about this or that.

    Surely nobody wants to think they're a disappointment. So, anything that happens to them must be for a "good" reason. So, their "god" (they) is happy with what they're doing, and any negative reaction to it (such as a drop in support) can't possibly mean what they want to be doing isn't exactly what they should be doing.

    I'm glad neurologists are studying this, and I hope they go full bore to figure out what is going on in these people's heads.

  20. It's a "miracle" what he can get people to do.

    I wonder if there's a way to stage something like that.

  21. 2.4 million in donations?
    Why didn't Warren just stop when the donations had reached 900K?


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