Sunday, February 1, 2009
Ted's Big Adventure Part II (and last)
Okay I started this topic so I think I must see it through, although I have mixed feelings about it now. The reason is, I don’t have the passion about it now as I did the night I first saw the Larry King interview. Secondly, I knew it would be hard from me to communicate what I want to say and certainly someone will mis-understand my point and my motive. After this I hope that I never bring the guy up again.
My wife expressed her view, and I think it is the normal Christian reaction, that; 1) Ted says he sinned, asked for forgiveness so who are we to judge? 2) Only God knows his heart whether he is sincere or not and 3) Therefore it is none of our business.
However, in my view, my frustration with the Ted Haggards in the world is personal. I believe that I, as a believer in Christianity, do have business giving an opinion on him and I will try to explain why.
Looking at the facts (the few I know), Ted Haggard was a pastor of a large evangelical church, the president of a large evangelical organization, preached against sexual immorality, homosexuality and certainly drug use with a great passion. At the same time, he was making sexual advances to young men in his church and paying for sex with male prostitutes and using methamphetamines. I also know that when the prostitute came forward, he strongly denied it. Now Ted says it was sin, he’s confessed to his wife and asked for forgiveness from the prostitute, the young Hass man and others whom he has “sinned against.” But, if you listened to the Larry King interview, he says other things, with a big smile, like “he’s not perfect” that “Jesus came for the sinners not for those perfect” etc. He hints that a speaking tour is coming soon . . . maybe a book.
But the sin of adultery and other sexual acts is only the tip of the iceberg to the problem. Speaking of which, it is like saying, after arriving in New York from the maiden voyage of the Titanic, “It would have been a pleasant trip if had brought warmer clothes.” What about the freakin iceberg and the deaths of over fifteen hundred people?! Ted likewise misses the whole point.
I think it was Shakespeare who said something like, “All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” But in the same spirit, I will say that all of the, (human), world is a building. The basement of this figurative building is the honest, pure reality where there is total intellectual and psychological candidness. On the hundredth floor is where the severe schizophrenics live, totally out of touch of all reality. Most of us live on the 20th floor (or higher) were we are “insulated” from the brutally of our true fallen nature by 200 feet of concrete and re-bar. I know that it has been a goal of mine to descend those floors and I’ve tried. But with each layer you go down, you loose more friends and when you play less of the game, at least at my age, you become more and more isolated.
But if God is there, He the God of truth and reality. Therefore descending the stairs brings us closer to our true self and to Him (although our doubts may be truer as well). If God is not there, then we have evolved this psychological layering so we can function better on the 20th floor even though that functioning has less of an interface with reality.
Okay, with that said, I must come back to Ted. It is my sense that Ted has lived his entire Christian life residing on the 80th floor (or higher). To me, he seems to be totally out of touch with his dishonesty, sexuality, and fallen nature. If he accidently took the elevator a little higher, he would be in the attics with the schizophrenics. But the schizophrenics have an excuse. They had a brain defect. Ted and those in Evangelical la la land have no excuse.
So the biggest sin here isn’t just him smoking meth and having sex with a male prostitute, but living so disconnected from reality. It is the same way that Jim Bakker could have a young intern give him oral sex in a motel room and in thirty minutes go on national Christian TV and smile big, praising Jeeeeeezus and being “filled with the spirit.” The adultery was lesser of sins and he didn’t have a clue. Maybe he does now, I don’t know. But watching Ted the other night, I’m convinced that he has moved from the 80th floor . . . up to the penthouse. Remember both men only came forward when they were caught.
Why is this any of my business? My son Daniel says he’s not sure he believes in Christianity because it looks like it’s a farce. He’s not alone. A lot of Christian practice is a farce. Ted’s family talked about all the good he had done. They don’t get it either. If Ted had the greatest ministry the world has ever know for the next 100 years, he could not reverse the damage that he has caused . . . and he just doesn’t get it. He is so far away from reality . . . in Evangelical la la land up on the 80th floor with all those from the TV Evangelist circuit.
Am I judging him? If we really looked at the way Jesus ministered on this earth, he handled the whores and thieves with a velvet glove, especially if they wanted to live lower in the building . . . closer to reality. Like the woman at the well. She said she wasn’t married, but Jesus brought her down a few floors . . . and it appears she went willingly.
But the Pharisees, who were living up near the Haggard penthouse, Jesus treated with boxing gloves on. But too often, the church does the opposite. We throw stones at the, whores, gays, “global warming-democrats” and baby killers (many of who don’t even claim to be Christians) but we take the “judge not least ye be judged” approach to the lying TV Evangelists.
I rest my case. But don’t be surprised if Ted comes out with a book, a new pastorate, or a TV show. People who are narcissistic not only believe the rules don’t apply to them, but have an insatiable appetite for being at the center of attention.
Posted by MJ at 5:25 PM