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A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: Who are you?


Rick Warren: I’m Rick Warren, and I’m Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California; author of “The Purpose Driven Life”.

I grew up in Northern California. And half of it was in the San Francisco bay area, and half of it was in a little tiny community a couple hours north of that in the mountains called Redwood Valley. In the early years I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area in the ‘50s and the early ‘60s, which was an amazing time of technology development and things like that.

Then we moved two hours north up into the Redwoods where the giant redwoods are. And I spent the rest of my life, from fifth grade through high school, a little town called Redwood Valley – less than 500 people. The only thing in it was a gas station pump next to a general store, and that was it. I had to go nine miles to the nearest high school.

I think the combination of those two things had an influence on me because I’m both urban and rural. And I picked up both of the values, and I can relate to either cosmopolitan area like San Francisco. Or I could relate to living in the total country.


Question: Who was your greatest influence?


Rick Warren: Oh without a doubt my parents. Both my mom and my dad, they’re the most generous people I ever met. Never had a lot of money, but we always grew about an acre in garden. And my dad would grow that much food – we had about 10 acres of land – just so he could give it away. And my mother had the gift of hospitality, and every morning; for years I never would get up in the morning without knowing who would be at breakfast, because somebody would have come in that night and spent the night and slept at our place.

In fact, one time my dad added up how many meals my mother had made over one year, and she had served over 1,000 meals in our home to guests in one year.


Recorded on: December 11, 2007



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