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. Brian

    @Lee and Tom L.

    If you're right, then nothing changes and their are no consequences. If you're wrong, though, then what?

    If I'm right, then I'm glad I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. If I'm wrong, then nothing.

    Your choice...as it really comes down to you choosing and not someone forcing you.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • Lee

      Really? That's your arguement? What if I'm wrong? Wow! Would that arguement stand up on anything else in your life?

      July 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • Dan

      Nice, Brian. I think you should start your own church – your tag line could be "Make Jesus your plan B today!" Or, "Jesus, just in case!" Or, "We give you better odds than blackjack (and bingo!)!"

      OK, the last one was a little weak, but whatever. I like your commitment to the faith.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  2. shooshmon

    I do not understand why people who don't attend church feel the need to comment on religion. Nobody is forcing you to go to church. Bush did not issue a draft for the Iraq War, nor did he create a war tax. Contrast what the liberal agenda is trying to "force" upon the country now. They have changed healthcare and will require people already covered to pay more money. Additionally, they want to intentionally raise energy prices because they don't like carbon dioxide. Instead of ruining it for everyone else, why don't you people move to Spain? Sure, unemployment is high and you can't use an air conditioner and water costs a ton of money...but hey, its green! So I think it is an easy contrast. Conservatives do what they think is right but they count on people making the choice to help them or not help them. On the other hand, liberals want to force whatever they think is right onto everybody and give no option. Many women think they should have a right to an abortion. That is fine by me but don't come to me looking for money through a tax. Really, most taxes should be optional as there is so much that people disagree upon. I do not understand how anyone can want an ever expanding government. The more people in the government, the more money that gets sucked up, leaving less for you clowns working in the private sector.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • Dan

      Wow, I didn't know there was no CO2 in Spain!

      Also, you don't sound as though you like government all that much, and you think that workers in the private sector are clowns, so where should folks be working? And where do you work? Or are you on social security?

      I would love to stop paying those taxes... now that you mention it, I don't want to pay any taxes, and instead I'll just let all you other suckers pick up the bill for roads, military, police, firefighters, snowplowing, unemployment.. yeah, optional taxes are an awesome idea!

      July 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • Ladrikius


      July 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • abl123

      If taxes were optional,....hmmm, I'm thinking that might be a mistake. LOL

      July 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  3. Wake-Up

    I asked this man Rick Warren)for financial assistance to help save our church....Got the song and dance about "do you know how many people ask for help. We can not help then all". Has he saved any? I do not mean donated to them,I mean saved from closing the doors from foreclosure. The amount was a pittance compared to what he has. Through the grace of God we are still here but still struggling. God bless.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
    • abl123

      I'm so sorry. I wish you the best. Sounds like Warren has forgotten why he has that solid gold WWJD paperweight on his desk.

      July 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  4. Rick

    Oh man. Another Evangelical. They are the one of the reasons why this country is so screwed up. Line these losers up next to lawyers, judges and politicans. To literally take the bible word for word is F-ed up. Seeing that the bible was written 300 years after Christ died. It would be the same as taking what was said by Ben Franklin and George Washington and writing it down today. Not saying that there is anything wrong with the bible because it is fine but these people are FREAKS!!!!!!

    July 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  5. mensaman

    Obama blamed Bush and for the first time – he was right!

    July 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • les nessman

      and we all blame your parents

      July 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  6. Steve P.

    Will someone please explain to people that if the pain scale goes from 0 – 10 that THERE IS NO 12 ON THE SCALE!!!!! OK, I get it, you were in alot of pain, but there is no 12 on the scale. I even doubt it was a 10 on the 0 – 10 scale as obviously there is always something that can hurt worse. Get a grip, sir, there are people all over the world dealing with chronic pain, every single minute of every single day and you have the nerve to rate your pain as a 12 on a scale of 0 – 10?? Really??

    July 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm |

    Christians, these people are not called by God so they will never understand. These are the fish in the net that I would throw back, they are not the "Keepers". You will not win them for Christ, they are already lost. Just dust off your sandles and move on, they are not worth it because they are not called.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  8. brad

    If he had poison ivy would this be news too?

    July 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • angelina

      if he and the little boy had poison ivy it would make the news

      July 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  9. red-eye

    maybe if he shaved his wifes 'bush' and used a little cleanser, it wouldn't burn his eyes so badly ..

    July 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  10. Ralph Malph

    I had firebush burn my eyes out once.
    I had a few drinks, brought her back to my place.
    Put on some music and lowered the lights.
    I must have been hit like Shallow Hal cause this girl was Capital-L-Large!
    She had the brightest firebush I ever saw and nearly burned my eyes out.

    But of course....I still hit it!

    July 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Mr. Furley

      Was this outside of Memphis?

      July 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
    • Ralph Malph

      Yes it was!
      Do you know her?

      July 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  11. KHK

    So I read the heading "Bush burns Pastor Rick Warren's eyes" and I thought OMG – This is what George W. is doing nowadays?
    First Cheney – next Bush.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Dee

      That's exactly what I thought! HA!!! Misleading headlines are sometimes very much on purpose...HA!

      July 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  12. Truth Squad

    Man, when I first read the headline I was saying to myself "GWBush burned Rick Warren's Eyes?"

    They'll blame Bush for everything.

    Realize they knew EXACTLY what they were saying when they wrote it. Instead they could have said "Pastor Rick Warren's eyes burned by bush". Then you would notice that the word "bush" was NOT capitalized. So they had to put it at the beginning of the sentence so that people would check it out.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  13. Wake-Up

    I asked this man for financial assistance to help save our church....Got the song and dance about "do you know how many people ask for help. We can not help then all". Has he saved any? I do not mean donated to them,I mean saved from closing the doors from foreclosure. The amount was a pittance compared to what he has. Through the grace of God we are still here but still struggling. God bless.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  14. Greg

    Am I the only one who thought "Bush burns Pastor Rick Warren's Eyes" meant something different?

    Damn that Bush! He's so Evil he blinded Rick Warren!!!!"

    July 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Diana

      Ha Ha! I thought the same thing....it's the only reason I clicked on the story.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  15. Reality

    Sorry about the multiple comment. They were inserted for some reason at an hour earlier in the list, not at the end so I assumed they violated one or more of the strange word rules of this blog and resubmitted them with a slightly different wording.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  16. susan porter

    I'm not a "christian" per se, but I do know that Rick Warren's church gave nearly $2M to the folks in new orleans, and regularly doles out charitable donations in the millions to other charities. he's made a ton of money off his books and such but I don't see this guy as one of the preachers regularly fleecing his flock for his own pockets. Neither does most of the media, here's an LA times story on the guy.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
    • Toby

      And here is a story of two billionaires who are giving practically everything they ever earned to charitable causes without the incentive of religion or divine reward. So, let the religious give every nickle they have and it still proves absolutely noting about the truth of their doctrines or the veracity of their metaphysical claims-absolutely nothing. Now, if you were to claim that religion's greatest good is charity, then I would be in agreement.


      July 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  17. BC in BA

    Very devoted pastor here! Retelling the story of "Moses and the Burning Bush" – it's all so much more real to me now.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • abl123

      If people had known ahead of time about his live interpretation of that event, he could have sold tickets. Hindsight...damn.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  18. mike

    Speaking of a Fire Bush, I wonder how Lindsey is doing in the big house?

    July 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  19. jack

    There are 2 types of people who use twitters. People who believe they are so important the whole world needs to know everything they are doing in every moment of every day. And losers who don't have a life! In other words, all LOSERS!

    July 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  20. Gary D.

    Just remember, God'll git ya!

    July 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
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About this blog

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.