Pastor Rick Warren hospitalized after eyes burned
July 22nd, 2010
12:34 PM ET

Pastor Rick Warren hospitalized after eyes burned

Megachurch pastor Rick Warren is home recovering after his eyes were burned as he pruned a firestick plant in his yard, his spokesman told CNN Thursday.

Warren was hospitalized Monday after the incident and released Tuesday, said his spokesman, A. Larry Ross. Warren is expected to make a full recovery, Ross said.

"My eyes were severely burned by a toxic poison," Warren wrote in a Twitter message Thursday morning. "Hospitalized Mon. Excruciating pain. Now home. Pray my sight loss is restored."

Though the pain was initially so intense that Warren could not open his eyes on Monday, he was seeing well enough Thursday to send the Tweet himself, Ross said. "The pain was excruciating - 12 on a scale of 1 through 10," Ross said. "It's now down to an 8."

Warren was pruning shrubs in the yard of his Southern California home when he wiped his eyes after picking up leaves from a firestick plant, Ross said.

The sap of the firestick is toxic and can cause skin irritation and temporary blindness if it comes in contact with the skin or eyes, according to the website gardenguides.com. The firestick is a succulent with spiky orange branches.

Warren is currently on leave from his church, called Saddleback, to write a book, so the injury is not expected to affect his public schedule, Ross said.

"A doctor put protective contacts on my corneas as bandages during the healing," Warren said in another Tweet on Thursday. "I am NOT blind."

The firestick is found around the world, Ross said, and grows well in Southern California.

"Pastor Rick, an avid gardener, purchased it locally himself," Ross said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Leaders

soundoff (682 Responses)
  1. Glades2

    As I'm sure Rick would say, this is where the rubber meets the road in Christian faith – I'm sure many are praying for his recovery and offering up their daily suffering for his...

    July 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  2. Timothy Fowler

    Funny how so many comments speak of Rick's supposed hate, and yet those who are making the comments are the one spouting out the hatred. If you were in the same situation, Rick would feel genuine compassion for you and pray for you. He would certainly not delight in your misery. Even as you spew your vitriolic criticism, he prays for you.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
    • Lee

      Not if I were gay!

      July 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  3. SerpentSpawn


    Its probably payback for all of the money he steals from people while lying to them about heaven and hell and demons and angels and santa claus and the easter bunny and the tooth fairy.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< You are a clueless moron, crawl back under your rock.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  4. Bill

    Having once placed the seed of a jalapeno in my eye while cooking, I can sympathize. This is hardly newsworthy. I suppose regaining his sight will be portrayed as a miracle when in reality it is just what happens. This has nothing to do with any god. The only people involved are Warren and probably his gardener... Again, how is this even news when thousand of kids die each day from curable disease? It is interesting that he prays for himself.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  5. Whodat

    Julie, go stick your finger up your butt & smell it...lol....

    July 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  6. andy

    Are most CNN bloggers on crack? Too much paint sniffin in your hippie days? Your post indicate stupidity and the inability to think beyond what Obama tells you.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • GeorgeW

      Can't you religious right people do anything without invoking President Obama's name? I mean what has he said about Rick Warren? Did he not anger many liberals by having Warren speak at the Inauguration breakfast or something? Get over your hate and be the Christian you pretend to be. Damn.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  7. the Gnostic

    Go tell that long tongue liar
    Go and tell that midnight rider
    Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
    Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
    Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down

    July 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  8. Barb

    Dude should have taken some botany in college.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • abl123

      Amen,sister! LOL!! He must have missed "Gardening for Bigots."

      July 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  9. ToddRoll

    See. Sometimes Jesus can be a total jerkwad. He was probably all "lols!" when it happened.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  10. lacubanita

    Warren, may God bless you and heal you soon. If you are reading all this hateful mail, please pray also for these people, they need God more than they'll ever know!

    July 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
    • Lee

      I don't need God...God needs me...or my money I should say.

      July 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  11. ToddRoll

    He'll be fine. From Wikipedia:

    "Contact with skin causes severe burning; contact with the eyes may cause severe pain, and may cause temporary blindness for up to 7 days."

    July 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  12. Lee

    Rick Warren IS NOT a good man. This guy has spewed more hate and discrimination than most others...he's right up there with the Ted Haggert's of the world! I must admit, this story did bring a smile to my face. The only thing I enjoy more then seeing good things happen to good people, is seeing bad things happen to bad people! I'm betting what happenes next is Slick Rick will now claim he was "healed" by god by way of everyone's prayers! This is too funny! I would love nothing more than to sit down with this idiot and blow his logic out of the water!

    July 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  13. Brian

    how can he tweet when your sight is lost???? i smell a fraud

    July 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  14. Joe

    Right after the Hebrews received the Ten Commandments (thou shall not kill) they went into Canaan and, supposedly on God's orders, attempted to exterminate the Canaanites, who had done them no harm–Joshua 12. Maybe this is where Islam got the idea of a violent religion.... By the way, this attempted genocide was not successful, hence the Palestinians, who are still being harassed and killed by Jews to this day.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  15. Bart Fargo

    What happened to Rick Warren?

    "He was blinded in a bizarre gardening accident."
    "Authorities said, best leave it...unsolved"

    July 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  16. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    A picture speaks a thousand words. Next time show us what a fire plant looks like. That way God won't punish us.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  17. tw

    what a shame......maybe god doesn't like people making millions of dollars in the name of religion. After all, if he were truly "Christian" he would give every dime to charity. What a joke. Serves him right

    July 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • John

      Where does this absurd idea that if one is truly Christian they will give all of their income to charity come from? Certainly nothing like that is in the Bible. It seems just a standard set to insure that Christians will fail. Ha-ha, silly atheist; not buying your condemnation!

      Thankfully Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it. He wants to save you too. No one is without sin, but forgiveness is available for free. Well, it wasn’t free but Jesus paid the price so we don’t have to

      July 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  18. HeIsGod


    Warren's spokesman Larry Ross said the sap of a firestick plant got into Warren's eyes when he wiped his brow while gardening. The sap can cause temporary blindness, although Ross said Warren can see.

    Ha, ha!!! ALL OF YOU LOOK VERY, VERY STUPID!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  19. eladave

    So many athiest, so many blind.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  20. oneStarman

    THEN THE SCALES FELL AWAY AND HIS EYES WERE OPENED – If God didn't Love You he would have just ignored you but; you've got a job to do – Helping to Save The World from Destruction by Global Warming.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
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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.