Let's Talk About Ted Haggard
Ted Haggard was, until very recently, a renowned pastor of a mega church and the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. Ted has now admitted to some gay sex and drug use and resigned his positions.
How do I feel about this? Is my faith shaken?
Well, let me tell you. I grew up in the church. I've seen more pastors, elders and deacons have affairs, cheat on their taxes, drink to the death and have stacks of porn than I can shake a stick at. I had a youth pastor that knocked up a lay (using that term literally, I suppose) youth leader. Outside the church these people are called "hypocrites". Inside the church they are called "human beings". We're all human, and we all struggle with our sin nature on a daily basis. When Jesus said "take up your cross daily" He knew what he was talking about. How hard it is to do right in a world of wrongs. Especially when the wrongs are so tantalising.
I'm not into porn. What little of it I've seen strikes me as alternatingly plastic and degrading to women. But I can see how porn is a shiny apple in the tree for a lot of people, and how it can swallow a man with easy gratification. From where I sit, illicit sex, whether pornish, gay or straight, has a very specific appeal for Christian men. Not only is there the obvious gratification of sexual activity, there's also that extra spicy kick that comes from the total forbiddenness of it all.
I'm sure there will be many people gleefully rejoicing in the Fall of Ted Haggard, Hypocrite. Here's a married man who has preached against homosexuality while enjoying the homosexual favours of a prostitute. It's the sort of joy that dreams are made of. For those like me, however, who subscribe to the philosophy of "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" this is old news. Haggard is, like the rest of us, just another sinner. I'm terribly sorry for MRS. Haggard this morning, and for Haggard's congregation.
Speaking of congregation, here's where I get a little dig in. Mega churches, this is part of why I think your overlarge structure is a huge problem. When you become so large, your pastor becomes remote and has little accountability. He becomes a figurehead who has a lot of power, both self-perceived and granted by the body. When men have that power they are more vulnerable to temptations of all natures. We saw it happen here at Bellevue Community. And here it is again with Ted Haggard.
Ah. It makes even more sense. Haggard is from Indiana. Can I just tell you that Indiana people are a breed apart? We're all so used to being out there under the endless sky all windchafed and naive and nice and nasty. If only I could find out where in Indiana he's from.