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. xplain_plz

    Marie – Like the Good Book says "As ye sow, so ye shall reap". The Religious Right should pay attention to the whole Bible, not just the parts they use to try and justify secular control

    July 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  2. B

    haha that's great. People should pray and send more money to him to make him richer! Religion itself is an offense but some people are not smart enough to realize they determine their own future

    July 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Me

      OMG I <3 u for saying that!

      July 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Michael paul

      People determine their own future? How old are you? No one can determine their own future. Grow up!

      July 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
      • recovering catholic

        In America, the rich determine their own futures. The futures of the poor are determined jointly by the rich, the police and and the politicians.

        July 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  3. B

    The burning bush analogy is just too comical to ignore.

    On that note, I scratched my cornea 2 weeks ago and holy crap, talk about pain. It makes a fella want to walk around with permanent eye shields on; No not glasses but some type of clear lens over the eyes. Maybe I'll invent it.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Ben

      Do you by any chance mean goggles?

      July 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Keisha

      @ Ben, too funny!

      July 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  4. CJ

    You are extraordinarily mean people for some of these comments. What did Rick Warren ever do to you? He is a human being after all.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Lee

      What did gay and minorities ever do to him? They are human beings after all.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  5. Will

    I am appalled at the repsonses on here. A man's eyes get burned and everyone jumps on him like he hasn't done a lot of good. Rick Warren has done more good for those around him then 100 of us. He has donated all the profits from his books sales and lives on only 10% of what he makes and even took 0$ as a salary for a while. How many other "rich" guys can say the same. Yes, he is a preacher. So what. Have we become so heartless that a fellow human gets burned and people act like he deserves it? Shame on you! Where is all the hatred coming from? God is a God of love, not hate. People have abused Him and used Him for their own profit, but not this guy. He is one of the good ones. Cut him some slack people!

    July 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Jennifer

      Very nicely put, Will

      July 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • sk8eycat

      Which god are you talking about? The one that killed everything on this planet except for eight people and a preposterous boatload of animals, insects, germs? The one who played entrapment games in Eden? The one who split himself into three parts, and sacrificed one of those parts to appease his own ego? PUH-leeeeze! The "god of love" belief is more of a fantasy than the entire rest of the buybull.

      That's why I no longer buy that bull.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • Eric S.

      Amen Will! Galatians tells us that we need to help each other with burdens! We can all pray for God's healing!

      July 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • Bobbie

      @sk8eycat Too bad you haven't read the entire Bible and are just quoting the small parts you know. If you had read the entire Bible you would realize what you're talking about and you wouldn't be saying such malicious things. You're dead wrong.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Christy Ford

    All these hateful, spiteful comments. What's the matter with you people?

    July 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  7. AliveintheNW

    Pastor Rick, I'll be praying for you ... and the rest of the hate mongrels on this blog. People can be so cruel ... definitely job security for Rick Warren.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  8. guest

    I hope he makes a full recovery.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  9. Blake

    Wow. Am amazed at the amount of venom being poured out toward this man in these comments. Apart from being a high profile pastor, what has he done that has so offended you?

    July 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
    • guest

      Nothing. People are just hateful these days.
      For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,

      July 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  10. keith

    Sherrod did it, but she'll be offered a job as a reward

    July 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • jane

      What does she have to do with this story????

      July 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  11. bless your heart

    wow... folks really don't like him.. every post I come across is on the harsh side.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  12. Luna

    I am sure Rick Warren has issues just like the rest of us, but to make the heartless comments that everyone here has made is really pathetic. Just remember one day every knee shall bow. Even non believers. None of us deserve the grace and mercy God gives us. It's because He loves us, not because we love Him.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jennifer


      July 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Person who bows lower than you

      Sorry but I only bow to really good sales on Welcome mats.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Peter F

      To my Christian friends out there:

      We believe in a God who loves us, who has written his law on our hearts, and who expects us to live through our Savior Jesus Christ. Now, do atheists, agnostics and cynics understand the power and the love of God? They do not, therefore, they have no moral restraint. Let us not get wearied by them. After all, in essence "they know not what they do." Our battle is not against the flesh and blood of this world, but against the spiritual forces opposing the Kingdom of God. Blessings to all of you who are fighting for the kingdom! As your brother in Christ, I love ya! 🙂

      July 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  13. Robert

    James 3:13-18
    13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."

    July 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Patric

      So very True Robert, James 3;13-18 speaks the way we are to live daily. To those of you mocking and scorning this imperfect man Rick Warren who has given his life to Christ John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" Be careful This life on earth is temporal and each and everyone has to stand before God when it is all said and done and be accounted for how we live our lives and that includes Christians. Gods Grace is sufficent to cover each and everyone who confesses daily to live as he has called us to do. Amen

      July 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  14. Jessica

    Marie, unfortunately being nice to bigots like Rick Warren hasn't gotten us anywhere. For all the pain and suffering he perpetuates he can handle a little bit of this.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  15. Don

    Maybe he's trying to become a Liberal Democrat? They're all blind aren't they?

    July 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • CTYank

      Sorry, you must be confused with the tunnel vision of reactionaries.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  16. UB46

    Evolution at work... thinning the herd

    July 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Nathan

      Please tell us a bit about yourself. How do you benefit our society? I assume you classify yourself as one of the 'evolved' cattle. I would like to know why and how. It had better be through works greater than pastor Warren.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • AliveintheNW

      Is that how you feel about AIDS victims? Just wondering. Pastor Rick has given time, energy and MILLIONS to fighting this disease.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • Reeperbahn

      Umm, you do understand that he did'nt die, don't you? He has children, so his genes have already been passed on. Exactly how did the herd get thinned?

      July 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  17. Ryan

    I'm surprised at all the cynical responses to this article. When I read this article there were 15 responses, and almost all of them were along the lines of "Rick had this coming to him." Maybe I'm naive, but can I ask why so many people are happy that this man's eyes were burned and he was in "excruciating pain"? Sure, he's made a lot of money as an author and a pastor, but did you know that he has given a lot of his book-selling royalties back to his church, paying it back for all of his years of receiving compensation from it? He also has been a leading activist on important issues like the AIDS epidemic in Africa, as well as human rights in North Korea. My life and faith have been changed for the better by his writings, and I've seen many other lives changed similarly.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Aaron

      Being an atheist myself, it's bizarre to me that people would have this reaction. While faith is mystery to me (pun not necessarily intended), it's deeply troubling that there are so many of every ilk prone to celebrate another human being's suffering. Even Glenn Beck should be provided at least a small reprieve from attacks over a (possible) physical ailment, if for no other reason than we should rise above the kind of sour joy he takes in other people's suffering.

      July 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • Brian Peri

      Rick Warren expressed a belief that marriage was an institution between a man and a woman, and he opposed the changing of state law to say otherwise. He shared one statement on the topic and did not participate in the campaign. Some members of the GLB T community took off on a massive campaign against him, and all this time later, they still persist in their prejudice, as you see expressed here. No elements of truth will ever be accepted by them, including the fact he does not have any ongoing activity on this subject, nor are all memebers of the GLBT community against him In fact, this vocal group represents a tiny fraction of that community. Pastor Rick was also emphatic, from the beginning, that gay rights should be preserved. His only opposition was the definition of marriage, and in all other matters he focused on non-discrimination. The hate expressed here is by a very tiny number of people and it pervades all of their comments. Of course, if they had the opportunity to spend time with him, they would face a reality far different then what they want to believe. In the end, their hatred will only harm them because those who know the truth realize just how unfortunate they have become in their quest.

      July 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  18. JPT

    It's a good thing God is doing this; now we can know the hyprocites (G. Beck) by their blindness.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  19. It's Me Again

    Rick Warren "Twittered" this asking us to pray for his eye sight to be restored?!! Don't you actually have to "see" to be able to Twitter?!! It also says this plant causes "temporary" blindness. Please Mr. Warren, nix the dramatic.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  20. kevin

    the funny thing is, that just a couple weeks ago they released that stems cells have been used to cure blindness in people with eyes that have been burned!!!!


    July 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • a2rjr

      But stem cells don't have to come from the back of the skull of a baby 1 month from delivery.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Blackula

      But those are the tastiest ones! Mmmmmmmm.... One-month-from-delivery-baby....

      July 22, 2010 at 2:12 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.