Warren Discusses Faith and Development in Gaston

Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life, spoke Monday in Gaston Hall about the importance of religion in international relief efforts and his own experiences working in Rwanda.

University President Jack DeGioia introduced Warren, calling him an example of “the Jesuit tradition of solidarity with the poor.” Warren began by relating the story of how, inspired by what he saw on his wife’s visits to Africa, he decided to involve his megachurch in international relief efforts. “The future of the world is in religious pluralism, not secularism,” Warren said.

Churches, Warren claimed, have the ubiquity and credibility that most governments and businesses lack. The three need to work together, Warren said, to deal with the problems he labels as the “global goliaths” of spiritual emptiness: corrupt leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

Warren then detailed the efforts of his church to implement his ideas in the western areas of Rwanda. Warren found success working with the government and the vast network of churches in the area to distribute health supplies that could be easily delivered to the population. The church, Warren observed, “is the only institution with a truly global distribution network.”

The lecture concluded with a call for reconciliation, both at home and abroad. Warren made an appeal to the teachings of Jesus, claiming that despite the differences dividing us, we can still “love out neighbors as ourselves.”

Photo by Sam Sweeney, Blog Editor

Additional photos are available at the Voice’s Flickr.

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