03 November, 2006

Ted Haggard II and My Sermon Rule Of Thumb

I went into some detail about my Pastoral Sermon Rule of Thumb over at NiT, but I thought I'd try to flesh it out over here.

A lifetime of church attendance has taught me many things.
--Standing during the hymns will keep you awake throughout the sitting parts.
--Some people love the sound of their own voice.
--According to some people's prayer style, God needs every little detail pointed out to Him. ("Dear Lord, please be with the Youth Group Activity which begins tonight at 7:30 at the Boyers' house at the corner of Bluffside and Sunbury. All youth need to bring $3.00 and a two-litre of pop. Amen.")

Most of all I've come to one almost irrefutable conclusion. When a pastor preaches about "Sin" in general, or about the way we should live as Christians everything is okay. On the other hand, be very wary of any sermon that rails against a specific sinful behaviour. Nine times out of ten, this is the pastor's way to get back into God's good graces after he himself has been guilty of that particular sin. I remember specific chapel speakers at my Christian school who spoke against adultery, drug use and the love of money. The adultery guy was defrocked after his affair with his secretary (CLICHE ALERT!!!) was made public. The anti-drug, anti-love of money guy left town in disgrace after his coke-dealing affairs came to light. Another pastor who lectured me about committment and talked to us kids about sexual purity cheated on his wife. Then of course we've got the whole Jimmy Swaggart example in all its tearful sorriness.

I could go on, but I won't. I could also say that's why I'm not at all surprised about the Haggard scandal. This is the Devil's way to gnaw at the foundations of the church. Poor Jesus. All He did for us, and this is how we continue to behave. What better way to sour people on the love of Christ than to present a judgmental, hypocritical face to the world.


At 12:35 PM, November 03, 2006, Blogger Sam Davidson said...

This is very wise. Thanks.

At 12:55 PM, November 03, 2006, Blogger Anne said...

Thanks, Kat, for your insight.

I grew up in a very different, though evangelical, tradition; one in which scandals didn't really make the front page of the newspapers. It's not that that sect was perfect by a long shot, after all, I left in at age 18 because I realized its doctrine was something I just couldn't buy into any more.

I hope that Ted's wife and children will get through this as unscathed as possible. I cannot begin to imagine the humiliation she in particular must be feeling, given the public stage of this whole thing.

At 3:37 PM, November 03, 2006, Anonymous tom said...

I should recuse myself from commenting, but I just have a few thoughts...

I think your insights about preaching against specific sin are dead on. I remember the pastor pregnancy scandal very well.

I feel empathy for Haggard's children and family, but also the presumed scores of people his church helped lead to the faith. I really hope their faith is strong enough to get beyond the sins of one man. If he was doing his job right, he helped lead them to a faith in a higher power, not faith in him as a person.

At 6:07 PM, November 03, 2006, Anonymous Sis said...

LOVE the new look!

You are right on about this issue as usual. It is sad that this man made a mistake, but that does not invalidate Christianity.

Have fun at Bunco Night.


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