On Friday night, April 5, twenty seven year old Matthew Warren, son of Pastor Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church took his own life. Suicide is always a tragedy as so many lives are impacted.
Todd Ferrell, president, The Evangelical Network explained that compassion must come first during difficult losses like this, Ferrell said, "My heart breaks for them. No parent expects to outlive their children. I've seen this in my own family. There will be a time and day to ask questions, but now is the time for us all to lift them up in prayer - that God will comfort their hearts during their moment of devastation. They will get through this, with the grace of the Lord and the support of their family and friends. We know this because God's grace is perfectly sufficient to meet ALL our needs.”
Ferrell continued, "I consider Rick and Kay friends. Sure we don't agree on what scriptural interpretation says about Homosexuality, but we have far too many other things that we do agree with to keep us apart.” Concluding Ferrell stated, ”For a long time I've said "someone needs to be Christ-like in all this, why not let it be us…the gay community?”
The Evangelical Network is a 25 year old organization spread throughout the U. S. and Canada dedicated to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians to understand that God loves them just the way they are. More recently TEN has been reaching out to conservative Evangelical churches and ministries to develop civil dialog about diversity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The Evangelical Network met Rick and Kay Warren in 2006 at Saddleback Church during their World Aids Conference. That started a journey of meeting and talking with the Warrens over the years. Since then we've had the opportunity to develop a friendship with them. This relationship has allowed us to share with them more about what God is doing in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. In particular we have been able to introduce them to the Evangelical Christian movement within the LGBT community. Relationships take time and those relationships continue to evolve.
Photo via The Evangelical Network: President Todd Ferrell, Pastor Rick Warren, and The Evangelical Network Member Mark Russell