Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Life Is Like a Game of Poker

"See Martha, I told you..... and you know, you have to be a pretty smart feller, like Pastor Rick, if you want to understand this thing called life.  See, all you have to do is know how to play your cards right. "

Some pastors rightly teach that sin means missing the mark of God's perfection.  Rick however, claims that the flaws in you... everything that you think is a "flaw" is simply to be thought of as a "mark of uniqueness."

He says,
"Life is like a game of poker. You have to play the hand you're dealt. So what is the hand? What are the cards?" The First Card, he said, is Chemistry -- your biology. "We are all intentionally flawed to make us unique. ... You need to reframe everything you think is a flaw in life as a mark of uniqueness."                                                        
                                                                                                                                        Rick Warren on Oprah Winfrey's Life Class

You see, you just do not have it right.  

Your thinking is all wrong until you listen to Rick who says that
  we are all intentionally.... biologically... flawed 
and apparently, we are born that way on purpose...
made this way by God... who wanted you to be unique.  
So don't look at a flaw as a flaw anymore....
 just think of your flaws as making you unique!

And what is a game of poker like anyhow? 
Luck?  Chance?  Win or loose? 

 Is it comforting to know that life is like a game of "poker"?

 Rick doesn't just say something once or twice... 
he repeats himself over and over and over. 
It's a lot like one of those commercials on TV,  like, paid advertising.
But what is Rick "advertising" for?
He has been using this poker/ cards lines 
for months now; since at least August 2012.

Talking like this is not really talking to you, but at you. 
If you hear it often enough, will you will believe 
the message?  "Life is like a game of poker."

Is it? 

Do you believe that life is like a game of poker? 
Chance, luck of the draw...... playing your cards right.

Nowhere in the scripture does it say anything like "life is like a game of poker."  Nor will you read there that when it comes to life, you just "have to play the hand you are dealt."  No.  Rick just made that up, and besides, that is just kinda a given.  Rick is getting a lot of mileage with the anaalogy thought.  He is certainly repeating the same idea over and over.. His sermons, his interviews and he writes about it in his blogs.  Why?  Maybe because it is not so antithetical to what people are into and what they are apt to believe.  

You know, there was a day when the preacher man warned his listeners about the evils of gambling and playing cards; Now the preacher simply tells his listeners that life is just like a game of cards.  

He assumes everyone plays poker and says, 
"Life is like a game of five stud poker. You don't get to mix your cards. You don't get to choose your cards. You have to play the hand you're dealt."   Rick Warren, Purpose Even Your flaws Bring Glory to God         

Where is the gospel (good news) in thinking life is like this?  
There is no good news in that.  
As usual, the gospel is missing from "inspirational" words of Rick.

See, the "good news, "(if life, as Rick says is a "poker game" )
is that God has played all the right  "cards" on your behalf.  
Against all odds, Jesus Christ was born, lived a sinless (unflawed) life, 
died and rose again from death for you.
All you have to do is believe on the one God sent,
Jesus Christ...and trust in his winning "hand of victory over sin and death."

Jesus, you see, played out your lousy cards... your bad hand, 
your wrong choices and flaws of every kind, and gained
victory for you when he died on the cross.

This is a sure thing in a life of bad hands, chance and gamble.

But Rick doesn't say that.

Rick doesn't point a person listening him to Jesus, but then 
maybe Rick is not interested in the spiritual matters.   
He never mentions that part of our human 
flaw is our "sin," though he does bother to talk about how 
each person has flaws they were born with that are not "sinful.".

Rick says that he bought a pair of jeans once that had a tag that read,
"These jeans have intentional flaws in order to make them unique. Your 'genes' are the same way: They have flaws that make you unique. Those flaws are part of your custom design and God planned them for his purpose and glory."
                                                                 Rick Warren, Purpose Even Your flaws Bring Glory to God   8/16/12     

Rick says, 
"You cannot become all that God created you to be until you embrace your identity — the unmistakably unique and flawed you that God intentionally made for a purpose."
                                                                   Rick Warren, Purpose Even Your flaws Bring Glory to God   8/16/12     

So to Rick, Life is just like five-card-stud "poker."
You have to play the cards that you have been given.

And by the way... do not expect to win at that game... 
until you listen to Rick... and learn to: 

1.)  believe in yourself... (a.k.a. "embrace your (flawed) identity"

and  2.) believe that "God INTENTIONALLY made "you" flawed for a purpose."
"God made you for a purpose" is not the gospel.

Believing in yourself.... discovering that God made your flaws....
 so you would be uniquely NOT the gospel.
 A victorious life... a Christian life, is not lived 
or achieved by believing in your flawed self   
or believing that God intentionally made you flawed for his glory.    

 This is all just confusion.

The gospel is the good news of God keeping his promise and sending Jesus Christ,
It is the good news of his birth, his life, his death and his resurrection from death.

In Jesus, because of God's love, mercy and grace, our sins are forgiven....
and THAT is Good News!

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! 
(Belief in yourself or in God's purposes will not save you.)

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.

(Jesus speaking,) I am the door: by me if any man enter in,
he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever 
shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 

Yes...the gospel according to Rick is that there is hope in  your ability to play the poker hand of life.  Flaws and all, you can rejoice because there is that wild card.... the joker.

"You may not be able to control the hand that you have been dealt, but you can use your wild card to change the way you live your life by the choices you make."
                                                                             Daily Hope by Rick Warren, The Wild Card: Your Choices 8/19/12

The funny thing about that "wild card" Rick talks about on his blog, is that the wild card is YOU... and your ability to choose to do the right thing, (to play the right cards) in the "poker game" of life. 

Rick Warren Poem click here.


  1. Funny that I came across this quite by accident. Is Rick Warren glorifying poker or gambling? I think not! Poker is only the thing that we as faulty humans can relate to. I did not choose to be born into the family that was broken from the start. That was a card that I was dealt. My life was flawed. ON that premise, Mr Warren is spot on. It was only until I found Jesus that I realized that my flaws speak to others who came from where I was to where I am going. Jesus is the one who makes us whole. We are not whole from birth.

  2. Hi. Thanks for taking to time to comment.
    You are right, we are all flawed because of sin.

    Consider this though.... God blesses. In our broken state of being we still see the light of day and the beauty of creation. We live and move and breath, and yet we are all born sinners who will die in our sin if we do not turn back to God.

    I think about how from the very beginning,God put Adam out of Eden but gave him his promise of redemption and salvation... and here we are, now knowing that God fulfilled that promise, and he did so ultimately by sending Jesus Christ. (John 3:16)

    I like how you note that Jesus makes us whole. He certainly did that to the people he healed of their illnesses and handicaps as we read of him in scripture, so, I know it's true. I suggest that he even does more than that.... he makes us new!

    "Iherefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
    2 CORINTHIANS 5:17