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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. Randy Tolerton

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

    Definitely the stupidest question that could be possibly asked. I cannot imagine that it is on anyone's mind except a journalist trying to incite controversy!

    September 15, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  2. Lenny Pincus

    Rick Warren uses his bible to lambast gay people all around the world and support laws to infringe their basic human rights. So, Rick, what does you bible say about suicide?

    September 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  3. bobrimac

    God did not abandon his son, but this knucklehead abandoned his son. How is it people still think this guy is worthy of the pulpit?

    September 15, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • Observer

      God let his son die. It was unnecessary. If God is omnipotent, he doesn't HAVE to let ANYTHING happen.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    they spell "rick" with a silent "p" ...

    September 15, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    snake oil salesman

    September 15, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  6. J.Charles Reives

    I asked GOD to show me HIS Divine Presence in my Life and HE Did! godgoogledme. See HIS Message at godgoogledme.com.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Multiplier

      Did you click on his ads? They'd infect your computer.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  7. Dennis

    He's an entertainer, not unlike Madonna.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • David

      Yes, and he is as Godless as Madonna

      September 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Multiplier

      Except that Madonna has a smidgen of talent, and was once relatively physically fit and attractive, among many other differences.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  8. David

    Rick Warren has a net worth of 24 Mill. I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind for ministers.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Multiplier

      The god game has always been about making its top salespeople rich and/or powerful.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  9. Julie M

    The biggest message, regardless of Mr. Warren's persona, is that believing in a higher being and living to specific standards cannot fix everything.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  10. a72Cut

    Rick Warren is all about Rick Warren, and so are the rest of his ilk. That first photo -where he's sitting on stage in his humongous "church"- is perfect; less a person of faith and more a showman. Believing is fine, just be careful who you believe in.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  11. prem

    "Your deepest life message will come out of your deepest pain" – Rick Warren. God bless his family in hour of need.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  12. Meredith S.

    Pastor Warren is going through a great deal of pain. Whatever one thinks of him is irrelevant to that issue. He has lost a son. No parent should have to outlive their child.

    My condolences to him, and may God ease his pain.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Multiplier

      Clearly god hasn't done a darn thing for him or his pain.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • ab

      You're right. I don't why some people have to come on here and make ugly comments.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  13. Psych Survivor

    Will Piers ask which drugs was his son taking? SSRIs, which are psychiatrists' preferred drug to treat so called "depression" are known to increase suicidal thoughts. It might as well have been the case that the drugs killed his son.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  14. Knucklehead

    The Tao that can be named is not the true Tao.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  15. Bill Fold

    If I had Rick Warren for a father I would have offed myself too

    September 15, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • maestra62

      You win the Most Disgusting Troll award. Congratulations.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
      • Bill Fold

        You are really Rick Warren's fat wife. Go on a diet because you look like Crisco Chris Christie.

        September 16, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Twist

      Rick Warren is a delusional Christian zealot, impervious to criticism, but open to more profits donated by wildly ignorant fools.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
      • annier

        Thank you for saying what I was thinking...

        September 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • sally ortiz

      Bill Fold, you're a jerk! If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, keep your hole in your face shut!

      September 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
      • Bill Fold

        Sally, buy a gun, stick it in your mouth and pull ,the trigger. Society would be better off without you.

        September 16, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  16. lewtwo

    Who ????

    September 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  17. D MURDOCH

    akira likes big men

    September 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • JeffinDallas

      Akira is one of the finest people I know, and Akira is married, so give it a rest, you lying sack of shit.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
      • Bill Fold

        And you are the waitret in Dallat that hath a lithp.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • D MURDOCH

      sorry akira

      September 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  18. D MURDOCH

    i am sam the bam

    September 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  19. Peter Bishop

    Whether one decides to pray or not is that person's decision. If others don't like it, then too bad. No one needs to hear your humanistic religion either.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  20. .................

    many myths r true. i met 16 gods on the train. 7 walking to bartlesville

    September 15, 2013 at 9:51 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.