Brand’s Wednesday class – Rick Warren’s book



“Now we know that animals get bored, and that they try to enrich their environment so that they don’t feel it.” ~ from an Animal Planet documentary


“Brand” pitched up at his Wednesday class this afternoon, as he does every week. Today he was wearing his black trousers – because he thought it was going to rain and a wet patch on his butt would not have shown so prominently on the black material, and a grey T-shirt – because it doesn’t have buttons, which made it the easiest item with which he could cover his torso.


[Rick Warren is an “Evangelical Christian” with conservative political and social values. I abandoned that socio-cultural group more than twenty years ago. But does that mean that a person like him could never say anything that can have any value for a person with ignostic* beliefs and progressive political and social values? That will be fairly short-sighted, wouldn’t it?

As the following notes would prove, remove the religious references, and enough is left over from several statements he makes in his book, The Purpose Driven Church, to derive some useful advice from.]

Rick Warren writes in The Purpose Driven Church that people should not ask what they can do to allow their churches to grow, but rather what obstacles inhibit growth. A good point for my own life as well, especially for objectives that have been established a long time ago.

Also: “For the past twenty years, I have been a student of […]. In my travels as […] I have visited hundreds of […] around the world. In each instance I made notes on why some […] and why others […]. I’ve talked to thousands of […] and interviewed hundreds of […] about what they’ve observed […]. Years ago I wrote to the one hundred largest […] and spent a year researching […]. I’ve read nearly every book in print on […].”

[Regardless of whether or not he really talked with thousands of people about X, Y or Z, the above gives you an idea of how research should be done on any matter relating to the human condition.

It also gives me some insight into why people sometimes treat me with contempt when I disagree with them about religion. They might be thinking about a book like Rick Warren’s that they may have read or are currently reading, and then they’d look at me and think: Who the hell do you think you are? Based on what do you think you know better than me?]

“Everything seems new if you are ignorant of history.”

“I started [an institution] in 1980, and spend the next fifteen years testing, applying and refining the principles, processes and practices in this book. Like a research and development center, we’ve experimented with all kinds of approaches […]. [The institution] has served as a laboratory for everything written in this book […]. I’ve waited twenty years to write this book because I did not want to write it prematurely. Instead, I’ve let the concepts percolate and develop and mature. Nothing in this book is theory. […] What is needed are answers to real problems that have been proven effective in actual […] settings.”

“If I didn’t believe pastors have the best chance of making a difference in our world, I’d be doing something else; I have no intention of wasting my life. […] The key is to never stop learning.”

“My bookshelves contain more than a dozen books written by people I’ve trained who have put my ideas in print before I did. That doesn’t matter to me. We’re all on the same team.”

“‘Hasn’t enough been written yet?’ you may ask. ‘Why another book?’ What I hope to offer in this book is an insider’s perspective.”

“You’ve heard that it is ‘wise to learn from experience.’ But it is wiser yet to learn from the experience of others. It is less painful, too! Life is too short to learn everything by personal experience. You can save yourself a lot of time and energy by gleaming from others the lessons they’ve learned the hard way. That’s the purpose of books like this one.”

“I’ve learned that most can’t hear until they’ve first been heard.”

[All quotations are from The Purpose Driven Church, by Rick Warren (1995)]

* [“Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts. Some philosophers have seen ignosticism as a variation of agnosticism or atheism, whereas others have considered it to be distinct.”]

[Scott Adams would only write the following in 2014, but it adds to the idea that it is pretty childish to refuse to read a certain book just because you do not consider yourself part of the writer’s group: “In recent years I’ve come to see religion as a valid user interface to reality. The so-called ‘truth’ of the universe is irrelevant because our tiny brains aren’t equipped to understand it anyway.”]