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Forget Oprah! Move Over, Dr. Phil! It’s the Year of Rick Warren!

February 4, 2009
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It has only been four short weeks since I predicted that Rick Warren was going to be a hot commodity in 2009 . Sure enough, last week the Wall Street Journal (which somehow has become a major source of my entertainment and celebrity news) reported that Rick is launching a quarterly magazine called (drum roll, please): what else, but “Purpose Driven Connection.” The folks at Readers Digest have teamed up with the Warren Purpose machine with high hopes of reaching publishing Nirvana by literally connecting millions of readers around a common interest, that of being Purpose-Driven Christians. The idea is to bundle the magazine together with an online social-media web site and multimedia resources to leverage a captive audience of evangelical Christians. According to the WSJ: “The idea is to envelop subscribers in a multimedia web of Mr. Warren’s message.” Very sticky, indeed.

This is all just fine with me, because I am so tired of Oprah’s omnipresence and it’s high time someone else steps in to dethrone her. She has somehow saturated her watered-down brand of self-help spirituality throughout every possible media outlet imaginable. I wouldn’t be surprised to find her in my undwear tomorrow morning.  And now I hear there’s an Oprah store? Well that just about did it for me. Enough, already, with Oprah. Come on people, let’s make room for Rick!

“But kind sir,” you say, “Isn’t this a bad time to be launching a major media publication, what with the global economic sinkhole in my back yard, and all?” Au contraire, mon ami! These, in fact, may be terrific times to launch something like this. Think about it: people can no longer tap into their home equity lines to find meaning and purpose, and the troubles of the world are causing more anxiety and depression than we’ve seen in fifty years. Americans are probably more in the mood for spiritual substance than ever before (another one of my 2009 predictions), especially if the offer of online community comes with it. Plus the publishers say that they don’t have to rely on advertising to make it successful, at thirty bucks a pop for a one year subscription. Get it?

The premier issue presents Rick Warren on the cover sporting a casual smile – he is happy, but not too happy. We are in a severe recession, after all. The feature story promises An interview with President Obama. Like, this type of thing happens every day here at Purpose Driven Connection. No big deal. See? Freakin’ Obama has even bought into this thing! The magazine cover also promises articles rounded up from the usual suspects of Christian gumbo fare: Lee Strobel, Bill Hybels, Max Lucado. Which reminds me: the Christian publishing industry sure could use some new blood.  But that’s another conversation for another day.

One more thing, just between you, me and the Blogpost. I think this high-visibility publication might be an ideal opportunity for Rick to undo the one-size-fits-all perception of Christians – you know what I’m talking about – that we are all politically identical right-wing, rigid, hateful, homophobic, elitist, stone-throwing war-mongers. Perhaps this is a chance for him to use his public persona and media influence through this publication to recast the world’s impression of Christianity as a more diverse group of caring and loving people. More like Jesus was, I guess. Maybe that thought is a bit too edgy post-modern-emergent for some of you, but I’m just wondering out loud.

So there you have it. The Rick Warren train has left the station. Keep an eye out for the Rick Warren TV show next. And don’t say you didn’t see it coming.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2009 9:56 pm

    I do believe America is in need of spiritual substance but they won’t find it via Warren. I believe he and the emergent movement to be apostate.

    Christians are never more like Jesus than when they are following HIM, not the winds of politically correct doctrine.

    Blessings

    • July 7, 2009 7:30 pm

      I totally agree with you, Lee. Christians need to stop walking after and taking after authors, singers, preachers, etc. and start focussing on Jesus Christ as their hero. He is hte one who did it all for us. There will never be another who can save us, but Him.
      Sure, there might be fantastic examples, but why follow the examples, when you can follow the original!!

      God bless all that read their Bible daily, fast one day a month minimum, and pray, sing and dance before the Lord of Hosts and His precious Son, Jesus as much as possible.

      If you aren’t a Christian and want to be, repent of all the wrongs you have done, so far, and then ask Jesus into your heart and the Lord will forgive you and give you back the Holy Spirit. It will change your life!! [for the better!!]

      God bless us all, Mary Beth

  2. February 4, 2009 10:54 pm

    I havent really bought into whole “porpoise driven life” thing. But I do respect Warren. He has handled his ‘fame’ with aplumb and grace.

    I hope he remains a strong advocate for traditional faith and that he doesnt sell out the mesage.

    And, contrary to what Lee said, Warren is not emergent. He is seeker.

  3. February 5, 2009 6:55 am

    It promotes a global spirituality:

    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1368&more=1&c=1

  4. February 5, 2009 11:38 am

    dear Jesus, Lord and Savior, please pray for oprah, phil and rick, and the people that work around them, and the people that follow them. may God call to them and speak to them of His grace, mercy and Love for them. may they turn to you and seek your face, Jesus. Praise and Glory is Yours Lord.

  5. shrinkingthecamel permalink*
    February 5, 2009 7:02 pm

    David – Porpoise Driven Life? That’s funny! I always knew that you had a good sense of humor ever since I saw that picture of you with duct tape slapped over your mouth.

    Nancy – thanks for the prayer. God knows we need it, and so could they. However, I worry that Lee might interpret your prayer as promoting a global spirituality.

    The prayer is OK by me! God might just reach right into their media hearts.

  6. shrinkingthecamel permalink*
    February 5, 2009 7:15 pm

    For anyone who’s interested, today I got an invitation from the publishers of Purpose-Driven Connection to get a free promo copy (beacuse of my “influence and active discussion I cultivate about the worldwide church” Did they get the right email address?) in return for doing a magazine review on this blog. Here’s some more info they gave:
    —————————————
    Purpose Driven Connection Is a 146-page magazine developed to provide hopeful content to people who may feel financially stressed, emotionally overwhelmed, physically exhausted and spiritually disconnected

    Includes a 52-page study guide and DVD with each issue (the premier features Warren’s “40 Days of Love”
    Centers around articles and elements focus on the five biblical purposes of knowing, relating, growing, serving and sharing
    ——————————————-

    Sounds interesting! Stay tuned for a REAL review in the near future…

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