Learning from Ted Haggard
It's been over a week since the scandal of Ted Haggard shocked the evangelical world. I've read varied responses and part of me wants to waste no more time on the issue. But there is something important to be said, something best said by Shakespeare at the end of Romeo and Juliet: "All are punished. All are punished!" It doesn't matter if you're Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Mainline, or Fundamentalist - the name of Christ has once again been dragged through the deepest mud of hypocrisy and sordid sexual sin. Rather than point fingers, it seems that we who call ourselves Christians need to spend time repenting:
1. Forgive us Lord, for allowing ourselves to be seduced by political and ecclesiastical power. We've allowed our obssessions with legislation and political mistresses, or our boasting of institutional church growth to displace the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ, who alone can enable us to live the life to which we're called.
2. Forgive us Lord for failing to take seriously your admonition to confess our sins to one another. Thinking that we need to present an image of righteousness, we are quick to hide our own struggles. In reality, it's our process of transformation, from glory to glory, that needs to be seen, but will never be visible apart from confession.
3. Forgive us Lord for making confession unsafe. Perhaps had there been safety and grace earlier, folly and foolish choices never would have escalated into such ugliness. May each of your people have safe relationships where real confession can occur.
4. Forgive us Lord for forgetting that when we carry your name, people actually make decisions about who you are based on how we live. May this truth be seared into our hearts and change our thoughts, speech, and actions.
5. Forgive us Lord for creating public and private personas. Give us a vision and passion to be more seamless in our living, for such is the example you set for us.
Temporal success carries grave dangers with it in any realm, for the seeds of arrogance and autonomy, in all of us, find fertile soil in acolades. Perhaps that's why Paul said that his thorn in the flesh was a blessing... for when we are weak, then we are strong. Haggard is no doubt stronger now than he was a month ago, because when things are brought into the light they become light. It just seems that the key is to bring things into the light every day, rather than letting them fester and grow into ugly cancerous obsessions.