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. mac

    Guess he found the burning bush in his year!!

    July 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  2. Toby

    Atheists are not elitists, nor are they particularly "smarter" than most believers. What they do have over believers, however, is the ability to think critically, demand evidence for their beliefs, refuse to live in fear of punishment from unseen and unfalsifiable deities, and maintain liberty of though over their own minds.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • Brian

      So what are your critical thoughts that prove your 'theory" is right? Enlighten us! If you're not able to, then really you're still searching for answers and have no beliefs, correct?

      July 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • PHIL

      First you say you aren't an elitist then you go on to prove you are . Your're not the brightest bulb in the room.

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

      Phil- Claiming that I am "not the brightest bulb in the room" does not discredit my statement. Name calling (ad hominem attacks) is simply proof that you are arguing from a point of weakness; it demonstrates that you have no substantive argument to put forth, so you instead rely on name calling and derogatory comments to elicit support for your opinions. The fact remains that non-belief in the supernatural usually entails an above average intelligence, lack of fear over death and the unknown, and confidence in our own reasoning and rational thinking skills.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  3. Bobbie

    @Toby If you were a Christian, you would realize that prayer doesn't make God a vending machine. When we pray, we are asking that HIS will be done, NOT ours. Therefore, if it were God's choice, He could make the limb grow back. That's obviously not his will.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  4. TEDDY

    You Right Wing Fundamentalist Christians do know that the guys writing that it is Gods will are just trying to shine a light on the stupidity of what the rest of us feel when you God fearers say things like: Aids is Gods punishment for gays, New Orleans got hit by a hurricane because of its sinfulness, and God did this and God did that. The fact remains that Rick is a very wealthy man as are all TV evangalists Yes all. now how that squares with god given the poverty and squalor around the world you think about it. If you have one spare penny and your belly is full and someone else's is empty, what would Jesus want you to do? And will you go to Heaven if you dont?

    July 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  5. weallgotone

    No, it's advancing toward it's destruction quite well as a matter of fact.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  6. froggyalley

    Why would you have a dangerous plant in your yard, and how did he come in contact with it? Surely he wasn't doing his own yardwork.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  7. scott

    My fervent prayer is for Rick Warren to now see the Truth of God's Word for what is reall is...inerrant, perfect and our absolute authority in all matters. After this incident Mr. Warren, stop compromising the true faith of Christ and stand firm in what Christ believes...it's not about the money or the attendance or the feel-good messages you have been communicating for so many years. Remember who you will be standing before when your life here is over. I will pray for your recovery and for your turnaround to be a truthful and faithful servant to the Lord Jesus Christ

    July 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  8. Shelly

    Some legalistic people and their church who oppose Rick Warren, you know who you are, will think he deserved this and that it was God's doing to punish him, etc. Hey Chuck, God doesn't work that way – read it in your Bible you teach from.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  9. ZarGoth

    Thank you, Brandon!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  10. Michael

    He will claim doctors told him the blindness was permanent, even though it is not. Then say that is was prayers and power of god who restored his sight. He will then say, 'I have the medical records to prove it." But he will never produce the records.

    We've heard the story before.

    The people most critical of Christians must be other Christians.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  11. Jackson

    Hey Ben from 1:44. I'm sorry for whatever happened to you to make you such a bitter person. About your comment about God creating Satan, and thus blessing all the bad that he has done . . . God created you and gave you the freedom to insult him like you are. I'm not a big follower of Warren, but if he's a bad person I have no idea what the definition of a good one is.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  12. andrea

    I suppose none of you have ever had an accident. Let's hope people will be more sympathetic to you than you are to a pastor. You need help.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  13. whatevs

    @Craig – why must we need religion in order to want to be good people?

    July 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  14. h4x354x0r

    Why all the hate on comment boards? Just Google "Sayre's Law." As for Rick Warren, I am definitely NOT a fan. I find the story amusing.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  15. Mike S., New Orleans

    That's why I always carry a firestick plant instead of mace. Its far more effective.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  16. Confused

    Where in this article does it say that someone put this in his yard. It just says that his eyes were burned by the sap of a firestick plant. For all I know it could have been a gardening accident run amuck. Can the story be clarified?

    July 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm |

    God did protect him and will use this moment to inspire others. I cannot wait for his sermon and his answers to this demise. You wouldn't understand though as you are in denial of God...

    July 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  18. elcoremino

    Hey... it's just like Wise Blood.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  19. Mike

    Now wouldn't it be something if GOD did restore his sight! Why could not it happen. God is great. So let the miralcles start flowing. U no GOD these people just don't get it!

    July 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  20. Former Catholic School Boy

    Like most of these larger than life preachers he is self serving and out for wealth. It never ceases to amaze me how these people latch on to one guy and elevate him. Maybe this is why God keeps taking them down. He's trying to tell you people something. Stop following these guys like lemings and just focus on treating others as you would want to be treated yourself. REGARDLESS of whether or not somebody tells you they are sinning. Leave the judging to God.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:50 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.