As if I needed another reason to despise Rick Warren and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center's decision to invite him to deliver the keynote address next week during the annual service, Warren delivers anyway.
In a letter sent to dozens of black ministers Warren solicits help on his sermon scheduled to be delivered next Monday at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.
"I’d like to know your thoughts. If you were preaching the annual Martin Luther King sermon at his church on his day – what would YOU say? I just felt led to write you. Please help me, your brother in Christ. I’m open to any ideas, texts, or suggestions you might have for me, and I’d deeply appreciate it", writes Warren.
Renowned minister and author Rev. Dr Renita J. Weems was one of the ministers to receive the letter and she describes her initial reaction as disbelief.
"I read it and became immediately suspicious. “You kidding, right?” Is this Warren’s way of getting to know African American preachers? Is this his way of making friends with us? Is this how he bones up on Black History? Evidently, Warren obviously doesn’t know that black preachers talk, that many of us are friends, and that a letter from Rick Warren would generate buzz enough for us to share and compare notes.
Warren further attempts to illustrate in his letter how important his "performance"...uhmm...sermon is to him, "more important to me personally, than praying the invocation for my friend President Obama’s Inauguration the next day", says Warren.
And to add to his ever increasing ego and embarrassing lack of research, Warren bestows upon himself the honor of being the first white pastor to preach during the M.L. King Commemorative Service despite the fact Father Michael Pfleger a white Catholic priest did so in 2003.
I'm sure many people who are opposed to Rick Warren's presence on a day reflecting the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are wondering what in the hell was The King Center thinking when they invited Rick Warren?!
Warren and his supporters may be asking what harm was done by him sending out the letter? Well Dr. Weems nails it and I couldn't agree more.
"If you have to ask, then you don’t get it. You don’t get the whole point of King’s ministry and that of others who suffered and sacrificed working for racial equality in this country. You don’t get that a mass email to black leaders can not substitute for real flesh-and-blood relationships with peers in the African American community. Can not substitute for doing your own reading and research on the history of the American slave trade and race relations in America. Can not substitute for asking God to open your eyes so you can see, really see, the race dynamics in your church and in your city. Can not substitute for asking how a man like yourself born in 1954 doesn’t know better. And doesn’t know more about race in America. Where have you been?"
Read Warren's letter in full here.