One thing Pastor Rick Warren does know, though, is how to make money.
The evangelical founder of the Saddleback megachurch in Orange County, California -- the seventh-largest church in America -- currently has 51 hardcover, paperback, Kindle, and audio books, and DVDs for sale on Amazon. And his Amazon bio claims Warren "wrote the #1 all-time bestselling hardcover book, The Purpose Driven Life," which is ironic, since we always thought "the #1 all-time bestselling hardcover book" was the Bible.
Now Warren has launched a new business venture: Using Christ to help Americans not be fat.
Pastor Warren's new book officially launches today -- just in time for christmas!Â The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life takes its title not from co-author Daniel Amen, but from the Bible's Book of Daniel, because, Jesus.
Warren, who is not a medical doctor, not a chef, not a personal trainer, and has no professional training that we know of in any of those disciplines, is using his Doctor of Ministry degree to suggest he is a doctor like the medical doctors he's teaming up with, including TV's Dr. Oz, to "transform your spiritual, physical, and emotional health," through "faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends."
There is, of course, an accompanying The Daniel Plan website, which offers inspiration, like, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13 (WEB)," and devotions like "God Wants Us To Chew On His Word," written by Warren January 25, 2012.
"I can remember hearing great sermons or in-depth Bible teaching and wondering how the teacher found all those great nuggets of truth in Godâ€™s Word. Thatâ€™s why I wrote my first book 35 years ago: to help people like me. Rick Warrenâ€™s Bible Study Methodsshares 12 methods of Bible study, such as the chapter summary method, the topical method, and the verse-by-verse method."
Sounds like a pitch to sell more books, but heck, I'm not a marketing genius like Pastor Doctor Rick Warren.
Pastor Doctor Rick Warren is also marketing his The Daniel Plan to "Pastors and Leaders" -- people who have thousands of followers who will buy his book. And he's offering "free marking resource files [that] will help you promote and customize The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life for your church. Please take advantage of these resources as often as possible to educate and motivate your congregation and to encourage participation."
Of course, there's also a Facebook page.
USA Today notes that "Warren was inspired to create the plan after he baptized more than 800 people one day in November 2010. After lowering more than 145,000 pounds of weight into the water, Warren says he thought, 'Wow! Everybody's fat!'"
OneÂ GawkerÂ reader commented, "It should be noted that 145,000 divided by 800 people is only 181.25 lbs per person. If they were all adults and half of them were men, that's really pretty good. Me suspects that in reality Warren is also bad at basic math."
(Gawker also points to a 2009 column where Pastor Doctor Rick WarrenÂ compares same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia,Â and polygamy, and denies it.)
It's amusing that the religious right has spent years mercilessly attacking First Lady Michelle Obama for trying to help Americans -- especially children -- live more healthy lives, without her making a dime from it, but they'll support this obvious money-making venture (the book alone lists for $24.99, and there are other versions, including a Daniel Plan cookbook that lists at $29.99) because it's from Pastor Doctor Rick Warren, and God.
Given that the people in America who struggle most with obesity are the poor, thanks to things like McDonald's Dollar Menu, if Pastor Doctor Rick Warren really wanted to help Americans lose weight, maybe he could have cut some of the fat from the price of his weight-loss-through-Christ book?