By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – In a stadium filled with 8,000 evangelical Christian women, one person near the stage stands out.
Sporting short salt-and-peppered hair, broad shoulders and a high-collared shirt, the man sits calmly as ballerinas flutter across the stage, women tell jokes about menopause and the event’s emcee announces that almost all the men’s rooms at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington have been converted to female restrooms for the night, provoking a round of applause.
For Kurt Warner, former quarterback for the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals and two-time National Football League MVP, this is about as far away from the testosterone-driven world of the gridiron as you can get.
Onstage is the reason Warner’s here: Brenda Warner, her angular face and close-cropped blonde hair radiating in professional lighting, telling the audience about God’s plan for her life.
For years, Brenda was known as Kurt’s uber-supportive wife – a woman whose unflinchingly defense and championing of her superstar husband sometimes made news in it its own right.
Today, two years into Kurt’s retirement, those roles are changing.
My Faith: What people talk about before they die
Brenda has become what some call "Christian famous" - a renowned evangelical speaker who tours the country with the likes of the 2012 Women of Faith tour, which will reach tens of thousands of Christian women with a message of hope and faith. As one of the tour’s headliners, Brenda will travel the country each weekend until November to tell her story – one of heartbreak, love and growth.
Through much of it, Kurt will be there with her, sitting in the audience as his wife does her thing before throngs of adoring fans.
“Brenda Warner is no longer Kurt Warner’s wife,” one awestruck woman says after listening to Brenda’s story at the Verizon Center. “Kurt Warner is now Brenda Warner’s husband.”
‘We need each other, we all have a story’
Brenda Warner’s story is a tear-jerker, whether or not you accept the God part.
When she was 18, she joined the Marine Corps, a job that took her from her hometown of Parkersburg, Iowa, to bases in Japan and in Virginia Beach, Virginia – where she would marry another Marine and give birth to a baby boy.
When Brenda begins to explain her life to the crowd in Washington, women applaud for the lines about joining the Marines and having baby Zachary.
Then the story takes a dark turn.
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While working one day in Virginia Beach, Brenda got a phone call that changed her life. Her husband had dropped Zachary on his head, an accident that would leave their toddler legally blind and developmentally disabled. Speaking in Washington, Brenda recounts the scene at the hospital.
“Zachary had a seizure – they worked around him trying to stop it,” she says. “I did all that I knew to do – I called out, ‘Jesus, Jesus, let this be the last seizure.’”
A hush has fallen over the stadium. Women wipe tears from their cheeks; one has pulled her pink T-shirt over her eyes.
She and her husband struggled to make things work with Zachary, Brenda continues. She got pregnant again, she tells the audience, but when she was a month from her due date her husband told her he had feelings for another woman. “I got out of bed, I called home and said mama come get me,” she says. “He doesn't love me, after all that we have been through.”
Brenda became a registered nurse, largely to learn how to better cope with Zachary’s condition. To make ends meet, she stood in line for food stamps and moved out of her parent’s basement and into low-income housing.
Then, another bombshell.
One night in 1996, Brenda’s sister called to report that their mother and father, who had retired to a cabin in Arkansas, had been killed in a tornado. Their house had been wiped off the map.
“They were always my soft place to fall,” Brenda tells the crowd.
At this point, the woman with her head in her T-shirt is a sobbing headless body. But as quickly as she has just dropped the mood, Brenda builds it up by telling the women that God brought her through it all.
“I married that football player,” she says, gesturing toward Kurt. “He adopted my two and we have five more.” Tears are giving way to applause.
Kurt and Brenda Warner first met when Kurt was playing college football at University of Northern Iowa.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Near the end of the speech, Brenda brings Zachary out to say hello to the crowd.
“If you have ever felt like life has cheated you, stand up with me,” Brenda says. “If you have ever felt disappointed in life, stand with me. If you have ever received a call that changed your life forever, brought you to your knees and took your breath away, look around, we are all in this together, we need each other, we all have a story.”
Afterward, many women say they saw themselves in Brenda’s story.
“She is just a normal everyday mom raising a family just like everybody,” says Sena Hohman, her two daughters accompanying her to the event. “Hearing these stories, you find out she is just like me, with ups and downs in life, with peaks and valleys.
“To be able to see somebody has overcome” what she has, said Judy Gerlitz from Centerville, Virginia, “shows me that I can do it.”
Super Bowl champion, philanthropist
When she’s offstage, Brenda and Kurt often operate as a team in their faith-based work.
On the recent Friday morning before Brenda addresses the Women of Faith conference, the couple find themselves in a small, bland conference room in downtown Washington.
Kurt takes notes while Brenda’s eyes stay fixed on the architect who’s briefing them. The topic: plans for a multi-apartment home for developmentally disabled young adults that the Warners want to build in their hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona.
The project is inspired by Zachary, now a 23-year-old high school graduate.
“Zach has probably impacted more people than all of us combined because there is something unique and special and honest about these individuals that see it like it is and call it like they see it,” Kurt says.
Zachary lives in a group house in St. Louis. The Warners are modeling the group home they’re building in Arizona, called Treasure House, on the St. Louis Life concept for independent living for those with special needs.
At the meeting in Washington, Kurt is very much in control, with the architect and a consultant urge the Warners to use Kurt’s celebrity to help raise funds. “Leverage your history,” the consultant says, looking at Kurt and talking football.
Kurt’s story, like Brenda’s, includes some letdowns. After going unselected in the 1994 NFL draft as a quarterback out of University of Northern Iowa, Kurt became a Hy-Vee grocery store stock clerk to make money. While stocking shelves, he signed with the Iowa Barnstorms, an Arena Football League team in Des Moines, Iowa. With his big arm and accuracy, he became an AFL star.
After a short stint with NFL Europe, Kurt became the third -tring quarterback for the St. Louis Rams for the 1998 season. In 1999, after an injury to the Rams’ starting quarterback, he got his chance. Leading the Rams to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory, Kurt won both the league and Super Bowl MVP award that year.
Kurt Warner drops back to pass in Super Bowl XXXIV, a game his St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans, 23-16.
Brenda was there through all of it, from AFL to NFL. She and Kurt met while Kurt was attending college in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at a country bar where she was taking line dancing classes. She worried he wouldn’t be able to handle the fact she was divorced with two kids.
When he showed up the morning after their first date and said he wanted to meet her kids, Brenda says, “I feel in love with him before he fell in love with me.”
When Kurt led the Rams to their 1999 Super Bowl victory, not only was Brenda there - she became part of the story.
Brenda was vocally defensive of her husband when he had a bad game, even calling into radio stations to criticize the Rams coaching staff. That zeal and her on-camera postgame kisses for the star quarterback had some fans calling her the Yoko Ono of football.
Throughout his 12-year NFL career, Kurt was known for both his skill and overt faith. “Well, first things first,” Warner told a reporter after his first Super Bowl victory. “I've got to thank my Lord and Savior up above — thank you, Jesus!”
The interview provided a name for Kurt’s foundation, First Things First, which is “dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, sharing experiences and providing opportunities.” The group raises money, taking advantage of Kurt’s NFL connections, and organizes events for ill and developmentally disabled children.
Today, Kurt spends much of his time on such work. It’s why he’s talking building schematics instead of defensive schemes.
“My retirement isn’t quite like what people think about with retirement,” Warner says. “I am very busy and have a lot of things that I am active in. It is not a complete 180 from being gone every day to being home every day.”
But talking about civil engineering in a drab hotel conference room is a long way from the National Football League. The common thread: Brenda and their religious faith.
Bonded by faith
Kurt says he had wanted Brenda to pursue her speaking career for years. But while he rose to superstardom, Brenda was a stay-at-home mom.
Now that Kurt is home more, he says, Brenda is free to pursue her dreams.
“What we have realized is there are seasons in all of our lives and dreams take sacrifices but they become family things,” Kurt says. “Dreams are family dreams.”
Brenda and Kurt now work closely together planning the couple's newest philanthropic venture – Treasure House.
Armed with her story and the star power that comes with her last name, Brenda has carved her own path on the Christian speaking circuit. Asked about the Warners at the Verizon Center’s Women of Faith event, only a few of the attendees know about her famous husband.
The tour is marketed to evangelical women to “celebrate what matters,” and also features appearances by female evangelical authors and media personalities. The tour is like a conference, with sessions on different challenges women face.
Kurt and Brenda see their changing professional seasons as part of God’s plan for them. “I don’t think that is the way that I would have written it, but I see that God has worked it out for good,” Brenda says. “I can see how he has been faithful. I can say now I am grateful.”
Telling her story has become second nature for Brenda. She has become expert in pitching God as the cure to heartache.
“He called me by name, he loves me and he won’t leave me,” Brenda repeats in her speech. “God was true to his word that he wouldn’t leave me.”
And neither, it seems, will Kurt.
Blech! This article sucketh.
yuck, keep your vile little beliefs to yourself (christuns believe that all of those people who do not even KNOW of their religion, will burn in hellfire for eternity, what a bunch of twisted sickos)
If Jesus was present surely he would lick her awaiting butthole.
What I took from this article is the difference between being a ranting Jesus-freak trailer park divorcee with multiple children and being a motivational speaker at evangelical gatherings is marrying a Super Bowl winning QB.
I"m l;etarded an I needs me some barins! braines,.,brains!
Copying is the sincerest form of flattery. I have a fan!
I love myself! I flatter myself daily.
Much ado about nothing.......
Soooo....the message is, if you're not happy, God can give you a rich and famous husband and make you famous! Awesome! Totally in line with "blessed are those who mourn...". Soooooooooo sick of this type of message! "we need each other...". How about, we need Jesus?
I love Atheists. If I had the brains, I would join them, but they are far to intelligent for christian-kind.
to the tune of "Love Shack"]
Hitch slap in a little old face will
Get you satisfaction.
Hitch slap ba-a-beee ...
(Hitch slap, baby)
Hitch slap, baby, hitch slap!
Htich slap, I don't believe crap!
Hitchj slap, shut your big yap.
Actually, c h, you are too backwards in your thinking to even hope to qualify to beeing an intellectual, let alone become an atheist.
I need anger management classes and a tight jacket with no arms. Then I need to be put into a padded room before I harm anyone...
I obviously already have harmed you mentally, if you stoop as low to take my handle and try to speak for me. Someone has thin skin and a open nerve. Lol!
I am a freak. Prayer won't change that.
A horrible lie posted under an amazing Truth.
Prayer changes things .
You are right, prayer changes otherwise sane people into lunatics talking to figments of their imagination for which they have no evidence.
I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:
I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
by the Alzheimer's Disease Society
Funny – I keep praying your posts will change....
I am unfulfilled in life. My misery contends that I must attack everyone to build myself up. I am mentally ill.
Not from the original Reality.
Who is Reality?
I am the original Reality.
But am I mentally ill or is Reality mentally ill?
Why are you arguing with me? Why question Reality?
If you don't question Reality sometimes, you are led down a path where you are told to believe what you think IS Reality. Then you are lost. Reality cannot dictate what faith or religion is right or wrong because each person experiences his or her own Reality and in doing so, they can ignore the ignorance of someone else's Reality.
The reality is that no gods exist, have ever existed or will ever exist. That's the reality. If you can't grasp that your not living in realty, the fact is your fvcking delusional.
your qualic experiences alone do not dictate reality. There are methods for studying and determining reality, such I know that color does not exist but is formed by the parsing of my visual system to help me navigate the natural world. To deny that anything about reality can be known is both insanity and Asinine. If you doubt you can know reality then step off a 10 story building's roof. You will not try it, because you know from experience and observed evidence that you can with strong certainty predict your death will result from falling 10 floors to your death.
This video will help build your logical deduction skills
This will help as well
From the original Reality:
(Unfortunately, the blog moderators still have not figured out how to restrict commentators' names to one no matter what the email address is. This is strange because such restrictions are in place on most blogs.)
The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(References used are available upon request.)
Scotty! you are beside yourself! Too much learning has driven you mad! If this 'philosophy' of yours has caused you to
'reason' like dude (you?) in this video, it explains your obsession with those lame videos of Dawkins (& alike) you keep posting. Oh mercy me! .........and that's what's teaching our future generation!? Did someone said fried brains? Get a load of it!
@Reality- "Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion." Non sequitur, much?
1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482
“New Torah For Modern Minds
Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.
2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.
The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".
Current RCC problems:
Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!
2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).
Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,
3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.
This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.
And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.
The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.
4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."
The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."
The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.
5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."
"However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"
Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.
Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.
Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!
Hey Women of Faith Tour ... here's your Bible:
Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.
Or how about this gem,
If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
Your Bible reduces women, not lifts them.
Yes, Dd... and that does not even include all of the misogyny from Paul of Tarsus.
Here come all the Christian apologist who will try to explain away obvious misogyny with quotes like "you've misinterpreted it wrong" or the classic "we don't follow the old testament" and don't forget "you don't know the light of God therefore you don't fully understand". What a bunch of crap.
Read all about Brigham Young and Joeseph Smith as an up and coming lazy guy that thought living off of the avails could be a lifestyle with a lot of benefits (Irma La Douce was also a major influence). When I heard that they changed the laws in Utah, I headed down to Nevada to get into chicken farming. Rather odd that a lot of sales go to the guys that come from Utah. Dyslexic, have you perfected your cun*ning linguistics skills
We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.
All this talk becomes much simpler if people recognize and accept the psychological mechanisms at work here. Religion fills basic human needs for companionship, belonging, ego-reinforcement, and freedom from fear. Some folks even derive a false sense of self-esteem as a result of their faith. Atheists need to recognize this, and stop generating all these intellectual fact-based arguments, and I'm guilty of doing this myself. It's not about facts. It's about feelings and deep-rooted human needs. I guarantee that if Atheists had gatherings, songs, events, clubs, etc., we would see a lot more of them. And until that happens, we will continue to be a minority group.
Dear Kurt and Brenda,
As you requested, some added details:
Putting the kibosh/”google” on religion:
• There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
You made me rofl my pants off.
I have re-read three of the gospels of Gods true word the bible just today, you atheists should take the time and join me in seeking the salvation of Jesus Christ, read the good book and pray with me. Looking at Brendas picture have made my nip*ples get hard even though my t*its have sagged down below my knees. There is a way to make Satan let go of your cojones, you must get on your knees and pray with me to the son of God, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
PS: If you are an old girl like me, watch you don't crush your t*its.
Hey HS, if you read the three gospels, then perhaps you can tell me why there are three different Jesus characters in the three books. Why he did such different things in the Garden of Gesthemene(sp)? I have read them all, in fact I have read the entire bible several times. I have read nearly every book written, some of them hundreds of years old, and I have debated the idea of a god with many people. There is nothing in the bible that inspires, in fact most is drivel, and the rest is stolen from much older texts.
@the...gur...long handle that, are you an endowed male, just asking.
You must interpret your readings with your heart and soul and understand that the Lord thy God works in mysterious ways and appears in different forms to weird people, using logic and reason is just not on, it is all about faith. Take me for example, I have the three faces of Eve, sometimes I like to let the cats lick my female parts, sometimes I like to just use my double penetration dil*do and sometimes I like to invite the guys in the trailor park in for some fel*atio, all depends on my mood. If you find no inspiration in Gods TRUTH, the bible, you are a son of satan and will spend eternity in the flames with the worms eating your flesh.
Fake heavenscent is hilarious!
Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
To Pump N Dump, Clearly you are a very unhappy person. I feel sorry for you!!! it would appear you read the story and felt the need to bash religion and a nice story about the Warner's. A reaction like that can only come from someone sad and in pain.
Luckily for me and some of the others, the story brought a smile to our face. I hope someday you can experience this feeling.
I don't care what myths and fables you believe in provided you keep them to yourself and don't inflict them on others. Capice? Lol
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.