I’m not OK with it, Rick Warren!

3 Mar

RT @RickWarren: Half the world lives on less than $2 a day. One billion people live on less than $1 a day! Are you OK with that? // How much do you live on per day @RickWarren? –@amysondova, via Twitter

This is how I started a war with Rick Warren on Twitter.   Shots were only fired in one direction. Directly at Rick Warren and his Hawaiian shirt.

It started like this.  I was on Twitter trying to win a giveaway and someone reTweeted this message from Rick Warren: “Half the world lives on less than $2 a day.  One billion people live on less than $1 a day!  Are you OK with that?”  Rick Warren—who makes millions in book sales, has a ginormous congregation with several satellite campuses, and who despite giving a lot of money to charity still makes more money than my roommate and I put together—asks me if I am OK with that.

I’m really not OK with that.

I’m especially not OK with Rick Warren pointing this out to me.  I feel bad for half the world that lives on less than two dollars a day and the other billion that live on less than one dollar a day, but I don’t have any money left to give them.  I always want to sign up for a Compassion child at concerts (when I go because I have a free press pass), always want to give to those Salvation Army bell ringers at Christmas, always want to donate to the ASPCA when those sad puppies light up my television screen.

I just can’t afford it.

Sometimes I tell a friend or family member, “I should stop wasting my money and give it to the poor.” To which I get the response, “Amy, you are the poor.” Oh, good point. (I wish I could elaborate on this—wait for the book.)

Unless I win a gift card or obtain a review copy, I can’t even afford a Rick Warren book.  Rick Warren, are you OK with that?

To be fair, I really don’t have anything against Rick Warren.  He seems like a nice guy.  I am just sick of the “thought” statements well-known mega-pastors and other Christian celebrities throw out to “challenge” the flock.

Do they have any clue what it’s like to be poor in America?  To eat peas and noodles for dinner? To stop answering the phone because it’s just the creditors again?  To go through the humiliation of bankruptcy?  To wonder how the heating bill will get paid?  To shop at the thrift store out of necessity, not just for fun?

While the poorest of poor probably don’t grace most churches in the United States, believe me, there are those struggling in her midst.  There are elderly folks who can’t afford their medications and young mothers who can’t buy milk and out-of-work college graduates who are grateful for a job at Wal-Mart (don’t ask how they are ever going to pay back those college loans!)  There isn’t an easy solution to these problems, yet desperate prayer keeps people up at night.  Stomachs gnawing, acid builds in the throat, and sleep never comes.

So I asked Rick Warren how much he spends a day—right out in the open, right there on Twitter.  I don’t expect a response from him or anyone else.  I decided to check out Rick Warren’s history of tweets, which were mostly comprised of happy encouragements for the masses with a challenge here and there.  Strangely enough, on Feb. 27 one of Warren’s tweets read, “You can’t understand the pain of others until you’ve suffered deeply yourself.”

Now most of us live on more than $1-2 a day, but that certainly doesn’t mean that we’re wealthy or even have an extra dollar to spare.  It also means we probably understand the struggles of the have-nots much more than the haves.  And we also acknowledge that we’re lucky to live in the United States, have a home, and all the rest of the stuff we’re told to be grateful for.  Of course, we praise God for all that!

But we certainly don’t need Rick Warren asking us if we’re OK with it.

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No Responses to “I’m not OK with it, Rick Warren!”

  1. Jess March 3, 2011 at 1:17 AM #

    I totally see where you are coming from, but maybe he has a history we don’t know fully? But probably not:) I am lucky in that I don’t live on a small amount of money a day (I have my parents), but I still think I have the ability to empathize!

  2. Charlie March 3, 2011 at 12:18 PM #

    Well said, Amy. Your post reminds me of Jesus’ observation of the giving at the temple. Many were giving ostensibly, yet the greatest gift came from one who even the poor would have considered destitute. Jesus’ response: she has given more than all others.
    The truly needy know how to truly live and how to graciously give, too. Thank you for speaking up!

  3. Melissa Deming March 3, 2011 at 12:21 PM #

    amy – thank you for entering my giveaway! And I cannot tell you how much I love this post. Totally agree with you about the nature of some of those “thought-provoking” comments. Many of them create a false dichotomy.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog!
    Melissa Deming

  4. Amy March 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM #

    Jess, I know that he has done a lot for the poor in other countries, which I think is awesome. I just don’t like the flippant remarks he makes on Twitter. Like I said, I’m sure he’s a great person with a great heart. His tweet just gave me a great platform.

  5. Amy March 3, 2011 at 12:37 PM #

    Charlie, thanks for the comment! 🙂 The woman in the temple is one of my fave stories.

    Melissa, thanks for having a giveaway to enter and for stopping by!

  6. ShariCakes March 5, 2011 at 7:50 PM #

    Represent, Amy 🙂 I so totally feel like that picture most days.

  7. sugarpeach March 6, 2011 at 12:44 AM #

    Hi Amy, I totally agree with you! I always find it intriguing how some pastors throw out random, sentimental thoughts to stir up emotions but really, do they walk the talk?

  8. Trish March 8, 2011 at 10:19 AM #

    I think that Christian or not, too many times people with a lot of money end up really disconnected from us “regular” people. They probably don’t even realize it either.

    I see it a lot with celebrities who call on people to give money to a charity of their choice. It’s frustrating, because I’m not opposed to giving to most of the organizations they support, but it seems off that someone making millions of dollars a year should be asking me to donate my last few pennies.

    I think what you did was right. Without people saying “Wait, hold on” I don’t think that disconnect between “us” and “them” will really get any better.

  9. Amy March 8, 2011 at 10:53 AM #

    Thank you for your comments, Shari, Evangeline, Trish! 🙂

    I’m really glad to see that people are understanding what I’m trying to say. I’m not really bashing Rick Warren per say, just the idea of thought that we constantly need to give more. I have no problem with sacrifice, but at the end of the day…what if there’s nothing financially left to give?

    (And why aren’t people encouraging us to give more of our talents? Why is it always money? I think spending time with an elderly neighbor or even just SMILING at strangers is a gift that we can really ALL give!)

  10. lightfromthehill March 12, 2011 at 1:57 PM #

    I agree! Between my kids school fundraiser and chairty events, church donations (other than tithing), kids sports fundraisers, Police Benevolence calls,there are so many great things to donate money to that I had to finally tell the kids I can’t give $5 more no matter what great cause it might be. I need to start my own charity because I’m broke too! And I tired of feeling guilty for having to say “no, I can’t do that right now.” No one knows what I donate my money to and I don’t feel like I have to give them a list of them just so I don’t feel guilty. So, I’m not going to feel bad because I can’t donate to EVERYONE and EVERYTHING!

  11. Amy March 12, 2011 at 11:14 PM #

    Hey, Light! Thanks for chiming in! I feel charitied out sometimes. But I think it’s also giving of your time–people need to value that as much as (or even more than) money.

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