January 4, 2010
"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10

I wonder if Jesus feels that Rick Warren is pierced with many griefs:

Evangelical pastor Rick Warren's plea for donations to fill a $900,000 deficit at his Southern California megachurch brought in $2.4 million, Warren announced to cheers during a sermon at the church on Saturday.

Warren said the amount raised after the appeal was posted online Wednesday included only money parishioners brought in person to Saddleback Church by New Year's Eve. More was arriving by hand and by mail, he said.

"This is pretty amazing," said Warren, who made the announcement by bringing out 24 volunteers each holding a sign for $100,000. "I don't think any church has gotten a cash offering like that off a letter."

The pastor said he planned to talk about what he called his church's "radical generosity" in the rest of the weekend's sermons. He said the total came from members, and the donations were all under $100.

"We're starting the new decade with a surplus," he said. "It came from thousands of ordinary people. This was not one big fat cat."

The posting on Warren's Web site read: "With 10 percent of our church family out of work due to the recession, our expenses in caring for our community in 2009 rose dramatically while our income stagnated."

Warren said the church had largely managed to stay within its budget during the year, but "the bottom dropped out" when Christmas donations were down.

The letter cited the church's accomplishments in 2009 and detailed how the donations would be used, including the church's food pantry, homeless ministry, counseling and support groups.

I realize that churches require donations for support, but I'm having a hard time with the notion that the man who wrote The Purpose-Driven Life and all its ancillaries was nearly as hard up as his flock was, with 10% unemployment.

Maybe Jonathan Turley has the right idea:

First, there was Rod Parsley saying that Satan has been messing around with his bank accounts and needs a massive infusion of cash to fight his demonic plan, here. Now, fellow Evangelical pastor Rick Warren has asked for roughly a million dollars from his faithful due to a few end of the year shortfalls in cash flow. Given these calls to the faithful, I wish to add my own discovery of a demonic plan to deny me of ready cash and call upon everyone on this blog to send me money immediately to fight for righteous and redemptive blogging.

There you go...God is commanding you to send me money, even though I have a decent living and am more fortunate than most human beings on this planet. You don't want to go against God's design, do you?

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