Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ted's Dangerous Adventure


Just when you think Ted Haggard may have gone away, he reappears. This time he explains to the Wall Street Journal that he "over-repented" for his sins of employing a homosexual prostitute and use of methamphetamine. Biblically speaking, Haggard is disqualified from serving as a pastor (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1). But for men like Haggard, the Scriptures are never the final source of authority. Feelings and personal experience are the final court of arbitration. Being a pastor is his therapy. Haggard refers to the sin which humiliated his church and shamed the name of Christ as "my crisis." My crisis. I cannot find the words.

Anyway, Ted has started a new church near the one he devastated by his sin. Haggard's justification is simple and, as it turns out, is all about him:


“Tiger Woods needs to golf. Michael Vick needs to be playing football. Ted Haggard needs to be leading a church.”

It is hard to find words to describe Ted's chutzpa. "Ted Haggard needs to be leading a church." Well, how can one argue with such a justification? In Ted's world, leading the church is not about shepherding the flock of God. Rather, "leading a church" is about personal destiny. It is about the needs of the leader. But of course, Ted's commitment to his needs is what got him into so much trouble to begin with.

Oh, and just to assure us that he is now authentic and humble, pastor Haggard informs us, "I cuss now." How reassuring.

18 comments:

threegirldad said...

Whatever he is leading, it isn't a church.

He does get more respect from people now that he "has matured," "has a humility of spirit"...and cusses (proudly). So it isn't all bad.

Todd Pruitt said...

I am amazed at the way in which Ted understands humility. Also, his notion that he "over-repented" is breathtaking. He did not even complete the process laid out for him by his church.

This is all so terrifying. As a pastor I am well aware of how my sins effect the church. By virtue of the role in which I serve, my sins have a greater ripple effect than most others. This is one of the reasons that the Scriptures forbid a man from serving as a shepherd who has sinned in the Haggard way. Sexual immorality is, in the words of John Armstrong, "the stain that stays."

Mike said...

I am really no fan of Ted Haggard. He sort of reminds me of a "Frankensteineque" creature that comes off as more manufactured than real. But if he is manufactured he was forged in the lab of conservative evangelicalism. Try as he may to fight it, Ted Haggard is a man of sexual identity confusion trying to live in a world that feels alien to him...that of conservative Christianity. So while we are not responsible for his choices, we are responsible for creating a place where the Ted Haggards of the world cannot be who they are...for that, WE are responsible.

Who is the real Ted Haggard? I don't think he quite knows yet...but pre-modern notions of sexuality have had a hand in his making...I long for the day when we can cast them off. It will happen some day...maybe not in my lifetime, but it will happen.

Todd Pruitt said...

Mike,

With all due respect - Nonsense!

What are "pre-modern notions of sexuality?"

Do Scriptural notions of sin and sexuality come into play for you at all?

Harley A. said...

Mike, you have it completely backwards. I’m not sure what you mean by “pre-modern” as if there was ever a time in the history of this fallen world where sexual immorality wasn’t the norm. During the times of the Roman empire, as an example, homosexuality and especially sex with prepubescent boys were very common and acceptable forms of “sexual identity” for men. There are manifold times and cultures where gross sexual immorality was/is the norm. No, where Haggard finds himself is post-modern, post-Christian America where biblical notions of sexuality are being cast-off more and more every day. He may be a product of the modern evangelical church, but not because of a rigorous stance on the issue – rather because of a lax stance. (I say that about the church at large and not his former church specifically.) Paul is clear that the Christian thing to do to an unrepentant elder would be to cast him out (tough love) in hopes that he would be convicted and eventually restored to faith.

Todd Pruitt said...

Harley,

Spot on.

I'm not sure where Mike gets his ideas. But there's nothing pre-modern or modern about Haggard. He is an expression of the very values embraced by our post-modern, therapeutic age. It's all about his journey. It's all about his wholeness and sense of destiny.

Homosexuality has always been condemned by God's people under the Old and New Covenants. This was, as you pointed out, often in stark contrast to the surrounding culture.

It is a sure sign of the postmodern muddle that there is even a debate as to whether or not Haggard is fit to pastor.

I don't understand Mike's self-loathing "we made Haggard" shtick.

Laker said...

I don't understand why you're attacking Ted Haggard. I'm not a fan of his and it doesn't sound like he should be in ministry. BUT -- I think it's mean-spirited to hold him up as an object upon which to heap ridicule and scorn. He's a human being, not a symbol.

Todd Pruitt said...

Laker,

I'm not attacking Ted Haggard. I am challenging his public foolishness and his habit of continuing to harm the church. This is serious Laker.

Ted Haggard is a very public person (unfortunately). He can't seem to keep his face out of the media spotlight. He has shamed the church and the faith.

Check out the New Testament. Paul named names. He publically identified those who harmed the church.

I am not holding Ted out as an object of scorn. I am responding to Ted's repeated habit of holding himself out as an object of ridicule and scorn.

Mike said...

so what do I mean be premodern notions of sexuality...what I mean is simplistic, misogynistic, and quite frankly anti-social views of sexuality. The notion that says we all are 100% heterosexual and that anything different is because of our sin or the fall of man...that, to me, is nonsense.

Let me give an example of what I mean. If a man living as a heterosexual has ever had an "encounter" with another man (like in college, or while drunk) or has ever entertained the thought of it, or has "explored" it as an adolescent (which most do) what does that make him? Is he 99% heterosexual? Sexuality, research is finding, is a lot more complex than simplistic models or labels. Sexual labels, while sometimes helpful in framing discussions, don't always serve us well. It can't always be viewed in boolean terms.

Todd Pruitt said...

Mike,

So you have discovered that God's good gift of sex, given to be experienced in the covenant of marriage, is routinely confused and corrupted by sin. Congrats.

Harley A. said...

So, we shouldn’t be concerned about the scandals of the Catholic church of late? Does that sexual identity bother you, Mike?

Todd Pruitt said...

Mike,

I would love to know what an "anti-social view" of sex is. I am assuming you mean that biblical sexual ethics are "anti-social" and "misogynistic."

threegirldad said...

I've caught Mike's "mysogynist" grenade, labeled it "misogamist/misandrist," and tossed it right back at him.

There. That was easy.

Mike said...

I often find that the term sin can be used as a term of convenience...in order to not address complex issues...congrats, you used it well. If there is any sin here is it the sin of making complex issues simple and digestible...I don't want to have to think about complexity.

Harley A. said...

I often find that pagans like to assert (in a very non-complex way) that everything is complex and ultimately, we just don’t know. I think it is a convenient way to remain willfully ignorant of God’s law and of moral absolutes.

Making complex ideas simple is a sin whereas a married man having drug-fueled homosexual encounters is not? Complete nonsense.

Todd Pruitt said...

Mike,

You are afloat on a raft of your own moral preferences. Since you have rejected the supremacy of God in favor of your own moral law I trust that you understand the consequences of such foolishness. I urge you to repent of your moral autonomy. It is the original sin - man insists on being a god unto himself.

Mike said...

Todd, you've done the same thing...you haven't realized it yet.

Todd Pruitt said...

Wrong Mike.

We could go on like this forever.

You have established yourself as your own moral authority. You have rejected God's Word. Therefore I plead for you repentance. Yours is the sin of Eden. "Has God really said?"