Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Mega-influence of Rick Warren

I did a double-take when I heard a snippet from CNN saying that the only time that Barack Obama and John McCain would appear together in public before their conventions would be at Rick Warren's church. Then they went to commercial. So I looked it up online and it was true. Rick Warren is going to host his own presidential forum at his church in California.

Rick Warren is approaching mythic status. Seriously. This is unprecedented. He scooped CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and yes, even FOX news. What makes the man so influential besides authoring one of the best-selling books of our time? Well, there is that. But I also think there are a few other things to consider. Here are some of my thoughts.

1. He is a hero among progressives (both Republican and Democrat) for among other things taking on the once evangelical taboo of AIDS and many issues facing Africa.

2. He is the anti-religious-right figure. (i.e. humble, apolitical, loving, giving)

3. He is the guy next door (or at least the one you wish you had).

4. He doesn't take himself too seriously.

5. He stays focused on his mission without getting distracted.

These are all qualities that seem to be lacking in today's leadership right across the board. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that the man seems to have no ego, he'd probably make a good presidential candidate.

I am looking forward to what this Warren-forum is going to look like. If it reflects the man, this could be the most civil and constructive gathering that our two candidates take part in until November.