A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Monday, November 06, 2006

We Are Deceivers and Liars...

The following is a portion from Ted Haggard's letter of apology read to the congregation of New Life Church...
I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life.

For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I’ve sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them.

Jim Wallis offers a nice response to this sad sad situation in an article entitled We Are All Sinners.

Ted Haggard says, “I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.” And that’s just what we should all pray for now - for Ted, his family, and his church. In the letter to his church, Haggard said, “I have an overwhelming, all-consuming sadness in my heart for the pain that you and I and my family have experienced over the past few days.” Me too, Ted, me too.

Andrew Sullivan also addresses the Haggard debacle in his Quote of the Day...

"There is part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life," - pastor Ted Haggard, referring, I suppose, to his homosexual orientation.

For those who still - amazingly - believe that being gay is somehow a "choice," consider Haggard. If he could have chosen not to be gay, don't you think he would have? Even though he apparently believes being gay is "repulsive and dark" (while it is, in fact, just another wonderful way to be human), he still cannot prevail against it. It is integral to him. It has been "all of [his] adult life".

One day, he may realize, and I pray he does, that the only dark and repulsive thing is the closet, the betrayal of his wife and children, the destruction of a church, and the demonization of others in the same boat - all as a function of his own inability to face the truth. What is dark and repulsive is dishonesty.

Unfortunately for Haggard, his wife, and five kids - he will be submitting to the oversight of Dr. James Dobson per request of New Life's "overseers." The "assistence" Haggard sought in the past didn't work, so now he's turning to James Dobson and his pseudo-science ministries.

Hopefully, the hypocrisy of Ted Haggard will bring about some good. Perhaps the evangelical community as a whole could use this opportunity to build some humility. A little loving and welcoming of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ could go a long long way....

7 Comments:

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Soulforce's comments seem appropriate:

In response to the news that Rev. Ted Haggard has been dismissed by New Life Church and resigned as President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes urged the gay community to be compassionate and simultaneously called on the leaders of the NAE to claim responsibility for their role in the crisis.

"Rev. Haggard is just one more tragic example of how lives are destroyed by the lies about gay and lesbian people perpetuated by the NAE, the Religious Right, and both the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church. Taught by the church to hate himself, the only option from his point of view was to lead a psychologically and spiritually damaging double life marked by denial and self-destructive behavior. Rev. Haggard is a victim of religion-based bigotry that regularly demeans and demoralizes gay and lesbian people and refuses to acknowledge that we are part of the American fabric, and that many of us form loving families and practice a deep faith in God."

4:18 PM

 
Blogger Dr. Danny Chisholm said...

This incident is another wake up call for people in the pew not to put ministers too high up on a pedestal. It's also gives people another reason to view the church as a bunch of hypocrites. At least there is no PTL club to take over.

Too bad we don't hear about the countless men and women serving in near anonymity who are faithful to their spouses and do their best to honor God with their choices. I would hope that the congregations of these ministers would show their gratitude for their faithful service.

We all need to pray "deliver us from evil."

Good to have you back.

8:37 PM

 
Blogger Nathan Finn said...

BDW,

There may be many things Baptist and other on which we disagree, but one thing on which we will always agree was summed up by you with one phrase:

"so now he's turning to James Dobson and his pseudo-science ministries."

Wow and well said; I thought basically the same thing when I read about it.

6:15 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If people only knew how many pastors and convention workers are gay they would freak out. Its time to quit crucifying gay people and realize they are human beings just like the rest of us.

12:10 PM

 
Anonymous Lee said...

I think the Christian community needs to be compassionate, understanding and should respond like we know something about the grace of God and our own sinful nature.

1:05 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Sullivan makes a great point: WHY would this man who thinks homosexuality is SO horrible choose to go the way he did?

Clearly it is part of who he is. I'm sorry for the damage to him, his family and the greater church, but I pray that he doesn't use his "recovery" as an excuse to bash more of our already put-upon gay brothers and sisters.

8:30 AM

 
Blogger posttinebraelux said...

All,
I'm not so sure that Haggard was referring to his homosexual desires when referring to the part of his life that is so 'repulsive and dark'. Maybe it was his infidelity, maybe it was his drug use, maybe it was feelings of inadequacy. Obviously he had been raised to believe that homosexual behaviour was sin, but he was also raised to believe that infidelity was sin and that illicit drug use was sin. If he is convinced that homosexuality is wrong (as I am), why should he not feel anguish over having those types of desires? I am convinced that infidelity is wrong - and yet struggle with my 'natural' desires daily. Remember Paul in Rom. 7? I don't think we can justify any action (homosexual behaviour for example) just because God created us with certain desires. Else, I'd have freedom to sleep with whomever presented herself to me whenever I desired - for example. And, while I expect the majority of Christians will always believe homosexuality to be sin (as I think is pretty clear from Biblical texts), I, thankfully, have seen a SIGNIFICANT change in how Christians feel TOWARD homosexuals over the past, say, 10 years or so. Christians should be ADAMANTLY opposed to ANY actions that do not reflect the love of Christ.

Grace and peace,

Posttinebraelux

11:24 AM

 

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