I chose the title for this post carefully. I thought “Rick Warren’s Cajones” might get a little more attention than “My Analysis of the Saddleback Civic Forum.”
For those who aren’t as street savvy as I am, “cajones” is pronounced ca-HO-nez, not Kay Jones. It is a Spanish slang word for “balls,” which is often used euphemistically for “courage.” For those who may be offended by my use of the word “balls,” please note that any potential vulgarity is nullified by my use of the word “euphemistically” in the same sentence. All that to say, Rick Warren has got ’em.
For those who may have been living on Mars the past few days, or for Michael Phelps who has been busy with other stuff, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in the O.C., invited Obama and McCain to come hang out last Saturday evening and answer a bunch of questions. When I say “invited,” that’s exactly what he did; apparently Rick has each candidate’s personal cell phone number and he literally called each one personally and set the thing up.
Overall, I respect Rick Warren a lot. He has a great church (in a white, O.C. sort of way). He has literally led thousands of people to faith in Christ. His book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” although in my view a bit surface-y, has made a profound impact in the lives of millions. He is a skilled leader, and has challenged thousands of other pastors to get it together with their own leadership skills. He’s using his influence to help make a dent in the AIDS problem in Africa.
Here’s what I loved about Saturday’s thing – Rick is making the most of his influence. There are many, many other religious leaders who have the attention of millions of people, who are using their influence for much less important causes. There are many other religious leaders who are using their profound influence for moronic shallowness, making headlines for their goofy, Barbie-like wives being inconvenienced in the first-class section of an airplane (not to mention names, but Joel Osteen, for example).
On the other hand, Rick Warren is obviously doing something most of us will never do. But he’s demonstrating a principle all of us can follow – take whatever influence you have, and do something with it that matters. If there are people in your life who, for whatever reason, are willing to listen to you, then make an impact on those people. Figure out where you have influence, and for heaven’s sake – do something meaningful with it.
P.S. – I had already written another blog post this evening, titled “Elephants Need Dads, Too.” Although it was a cute little post (in my opinion), I decided to hold off another day or two on that one. I’m hoping that my handful of readers will have a chance to see this one first.