Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ted Haggard Update

The unraveling of Evangelist Ted Haggard was repulsive. Played out so ruthlessly before our eyes on television and in print it was ugly, vile and shameful. As it always is, the period of aggressive denial is the hot point for the viewer. We love that part because we can almost see the person split in two. It is a dark carnival that appeals to our shadowy sensibilities. We can feel them lying, see it in their body language and hear it in the tone of their words. We suddenly have a free ticket to consider them slimy, dirty and sinful and feel righteous in doing so. We wish it were The Middle Ages so we could stone them or plead to the king for a justified beheading in the center of town. Sadly, we have had many opportunities in this modern age to witness such spectacles. Without making a list I would simply submit: ‘If the glove don’t fit, acquit’ and ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman.’ In this case Haggard was harshly condemning a sexual activity in which he was regularly engaged – from a pulpit in front of 14,000 faithful with a Bible in his hand. In recent days Mr. Haggard has emerged from months of healing, counseling, soul-searching, spiritual restoration and, I’m certain, heart-wringing efforts to bring his family to a place of reconciliation. He is now stating publicly that he suffered significant abuse as a child and somehow his recent actions allowed him to act on the rage he carried from those distant events. If my perception of Christ’s Gospel is reasonably accurate, it is a message of second chances and far be it from me to place any rocks in Mr. Haggard’s path to a new beginning. However, if you had serious doubts about his sincerity in the past you should know this – he is no longer a preacher – he has become an insurance man.


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