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September 15th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Rick Warren returns to the spotlight

Programming note: Rick and Kay Warren sit down exclusively with CNN’s Piers Morgan to talk about the death of their son and their new mission to raise awareness about mental illness.

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Megachurch pastor and author Rick Warren is slowly returning to the spotlight, five months after his youngest son committed suicide.

He has shared spiritual insights on social media, returned to the pulpit to preach about overcoming obstacles and taken his purpose-driven message to Rwanda, a nation still reeling from a bloody genocide.

But Warren, the bestselling author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and one of the most famous pastors in the United States, hasn't yet spoken to the media about his son's death.

That changed when Warren and his wife Kay sat for an extended interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.

In a brief clip released on Monday, Morgan and Warren discussed gun violence, including Monday's shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington.

MORE ON CNN: "The first thing I did was get down on my knees and pray for those families"

Rick and Kay Warren have been outspoken about the plague of gun violence in the United States, especially since their son, Matthew, took his own life in April after what the family call a lifelong struggle with mental illness.

“In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided,” Warren wrote to staffers at Saddleback Church, his megachurch in Orange County, California.

Then Warren, one of the country's most visible spiritual leaders, disappeared from public view. But not quite.

Not even grief could silence Warren, a gregarious man with an apparent thirst for sharing his spiritual insights.

Away from his pulpit, the preacher voiced his anguish and his insights in a stream of Twitter messages and Facebook posts.

Days after his son’s suicide, for example, Warren tweeted this message:

https://twitter.com/RickWarren/status/322434892828917760

On June 16, Father's Day, Warren tweeted this:

https://twitter.com/RickWarren/status/346218036728037376

Other days, the pastor wrote about the pain of his loss.

https://twitter.com/RickWarren/status/326512142742351872

In September, the purpose-drive pastor hinted at a new mission:

Even though Warren has shared his thoughts on Twitter on Facebook, he hasn't answered the questions on many people's minds - questions that may be asked on Monday night:

How has Matthew's death changed Warren's faith? Does he hold God responsible?

Resuming his pastoral duties at Saddleback in late July, Warren began a sermon series titled “Getting through what you’re going through,” that hinted at his family’s struggles and outlined their new mission.

“We intend to spend the rest of our lives comforting others with the same comfort we have been given from God, through your prayers,” Warren told the large crowds who came to see him preach.

He also credited his other children, Amy and Joshua, with helping his family through its darkest days.

“When all this happened, Amy looked at me and said, ‘Dad, Satan picked the wrong family to pick on. He’s going to lose so badly because of the platform God has given to our family.’ ”

The Warren family set up a fund in Matthew's honor to raise awareness about mental illness.

Last week Warren wrapped up a trip to Rwanda, a country he has focused on since 2005, when its government invited the pastor to help Rwandans recover from its vicious genocide in 1994, which claimed as many as 1,000,000 lives.

This weekend Warren was back at Saddleback, preaching a sermon titled, "Never Waste Your Pain."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Media

soundoff (923 Responses)
  1. Susan StoHelit

    What is with the huge PR barrage?

    A pastor had his son commit suicide, so now he's your go to guy for quotes and it's huge news that he's talking to people again? This guy was never very important, and it hasn't changed now. Quite the sales campaign, but how much did it cost to get CNN to buy into it?

    September 17, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • D MURDOCH

      my 15 children committed suicide. how dare u belittle them!

      dodo, if u can't find another way to worship satan, try harder. u have got to come up with new hatred, i mean material, when u converse with yourselves nite and day. even sam stone's sidearm 12 gauge spray in the face nasty stank patches got old.

      September 23, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  2. Robin Johnson

    I can't imagine the pain of the death of a child – especially due to a suicide but IMHO Warren should look into his soul. IMHO Warren is/has not been a compassionate person, If his son was gay – rumors only – I can't imagine how hard it would be to have such a self righteous father.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • saggyroy

      You'd think he'd be happy his son is now with Jesus. Oh wait, his son was gay and is now burning in hell. Bummer dude.

      September 18, 2013 at 6:06 am |
      • etiendelamothecassel

        That's probably the "mental illness" he is referring to. Little wonder his son offed himself.

        September 18, 2013 at 6:08 am |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Rick Warren's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Rick Warren?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Rick Warren has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Rick Warren
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Rick Warren's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Rick Warren's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Rick Warren just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  4. julieejulia

    my neighbor's mother makes $75 hourly on the internet. She has been out of a job for seven months but last month her check was $17185 just working on the internet for a few hours. more tips here.....http://x.co/2Mvk6

    September 17, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  5. outinkansas

    The man has no shame.

    September 17, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  6. slick willi

    O, dear, our deepest sympathies to this grieving family. Just like we hope Meredith s will survive her grief.
    Lol. U tell em obnoxcious

    September 17, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  7. Jesus' Beloved

    Rick Warren needs to come out of the closet.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:19 am |
  8. Thought Purification

    Yes "Rick Warren returns to the spotlight" with the help of CNN.

    September 17, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • Anthony

      That's exactly what I was going to post. Looks like a bit of a symbiotic relationship going here.

      September 17, 2013 at 9:56 am |
      • slick willi

        U mean like obnoxious and ms. Stone?

        September 17, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  9. Levi

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT4hCs-iMgQ&w=640&h=360]

    September 17, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  10. slick willi

    Lol

    September 17, 2013 at 4:43 am |
  11. Th30

    Belief in religion is the insecurity of the person not to have a caretaker.

    ( this means you cant handle being at the top of the food chain )

    September 17, 2013 at 2:56 am |
    • slick willi

      U tell em, genius

      September 17, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • slick willi

      U tell em, genius!

      September 17, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  12. Christians Can't Wait to Die!

    It's true! The only reason they don't commit suicide is because they are really agnostic.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  13. Buckwheat

    Rick Warren is trying to revive his cash flow, his business has slowed down. Any smart business person does this and that is just what he is. A business man. Nothing more, nothing less. His twist on business is based on a myth started by clever men thousands of years ago

    September 16, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Brad H

      What did those clever men have to gain 2,000 years ago? Sure wasn't money or fame. They were persecuted for centuries and then fed to the lions. Clever? Not really.

      September 17, 2013 at 1:49 am |
      • Observer

        Religious hucksters have probably been around as long as religion. "I can walk again!!!"

        September 17, 2013 at 2:12 am |
      • Anthony

        Good grief, everybody acts like those disciples of Jesus must have believed everything, why else would they subject themselves to persecution, yada yada. The problem (well, one of the many problems) is that they are written about only in the same book Jesus was written about, so there's no real evidence they even existed.

        September 17, 2013 at 10:00 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        Do you feel that way about Muhammad, Joseph Smith, and L Ron Hubbard (to name a few)?

        September 17, 2013 at 10:04 am |
      • ME II

        @Brad H,
        Couldn't the same be said about Heaven's Gate, People's Temple, and many suicide bombers?

        September 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • etiendelamothecassel

        Don't be naive, of course there was money 2,000 years ago. Perhaps not as we know it, but things of value were exchanged. Religion is a sham business.

        September 18, 2013 at 6:02 am |
      • Hello

        go to the web site Caesar's Messiah for the answer to your question...

        September 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  14. Buckwheat

    Rick Warren is trying to revive his cash flow, his business has slowed down. Any smart business person does this and that is just what he is. A business man. Nothing more, nothing less. His twist on business is based on a myth started by clever men thousands of years ago.

    September 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  15. Let's Have a Song For Rick

    If I had my way
    I would move to another lifetime
    I'd quit my job
    Ride the train through the misty nighttime
    I'll be ready when my feet touch ground
    Wherever I come down
    And if the folks will have me
    Then they'll have me

    Any world that I'm welcome to
    Is better than the one I come from

    I can hear your words
    When you speak of what you are and have seen
    I can see your hand
    Reaching out through a shining daydream
    Where the days and nights are not the same
    Captured happy in a picture frame
    Honey I will be there
    Yes I'll be there

    Any world that I'm welcome to
    Is better than the one I come from

    I got this thing inside me
    That's got to find a place to hide me
    I only know I must obey
    This feeling I can't explain away

    I think I'll go to the park
    Watch the children playing
    Perhaps I'll find in my head
    What my heart is saying
    A vision of a child returning
    A kingdom where the sky is burning
    Honey I will be there
    Yes I'll be there

    Any world that I'm welcome to
    Is better than the one I come from

    September 16, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  16. Jesus Christ

    You can ignore Him, mock Him, blaspheme Him, even crucify Him, but you won’t miss Him when you take your last breath.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Jesus H Christ

      You don't know what you're talking about.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There is no proof that any god exists (not even your god) or any devil or any heaven or any hell. I get that you are afraid of dying. The unknown is scary. But death is the perfectly natural, perfectly rational end to life.

      Come on. You can't seriously believe that there is a being capable of creating the universe who is obsessed with your every thought and act. You can't seriously believe that you will win the special prize of living forever in paradise if only you say that you like this super being the best, and obey arbitrary rules set down by a specific middle eastern tribe thousands of years ago? Your god could create the universe, but couldn't didn't even cross an ocean to reach the New World until about 500 years ago. He had to wait until humans brought him! Can't you see how ridiculous and vain that entire concept of christianity is?

      September 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
      • AE

        -There is no proof that any god exists (not even your god) or any devil or any heaven or any hell. I get that you are afraid of dying. The unknown is scary. But death is the perfectly natural, perfectly rational end to life.

        God does exist. I'm not afraid to die. Death is not the final outcome with God.

        -Come on. You can't seriously believe that there is a being capable of creating the universe who is obsessed with your every thought and act.

        Correct.

        -You can't seriously believe that you will win the special prize of living forever in paradise if only you say that you like this super being the best, and obey arbitrary rules set down by a specific middle eastern tribe thousands of years ago?

        Correct.

        -Your god could create the universe, but couldn't didn't even cross an ocean to reach the New World until about 500 years ago. He had to wait until humans brought him! Can't you see how ridiculous and vain that entire concept of christianity is?

        No, God's grace and mercy is bigger than the concept of Christianity you were taught.

        September 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Why is God unable to grant us nil? We die and spend eternity in hell or in heaven, you would say. God can't manage nil for anyone?

          September 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • AE

          I wouldn't say that.

          September 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Then you should expand on God's grace and mercy – what does it entail?

          September 16, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
        • AE

          It entails a lot of forgiveness.

          September 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
        •  

          Godless Vagabond
          Who do you have to forgive?

          September 17, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • Buckwheat

      Rick Warren is trying to revive his cash flow, his business has slowed down. Any smart business person does this and that is just what he is. A business man. Nothing more, nothing less. His twist on business is based on a myth started by clever men thousands of years ago

      September 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  17. CNN-When is this interview airing?
    September 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Piers Morgan

      You just missed it. Repeats later.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Doyle

      Atheists as usual come here and lie.

      Watch the interview tomorrow night.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
      • Eyeroll

        Doyle as usual has to lie about atheists.
        Grow up, Doyle.
        It was postponed because of the shooting in DC today.

        September 16, 2013 at 11:02 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.