Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Whole Tragedy

In Regards to the Ted Haggard revelations, David Frum at NRO makes some very good arguments for why a person who fails to live up to his or her own high standards is still more moral and less hypocritical than a person without standards. Like Mr. Frum, I have more respect for those who battle and then lose to personal demons than those who refuses to acknowledge or battle their demons.

However, I’m not sure this argument applies to Ted Haggard or to any of the institutions he is associated with. Rev. Haggard, the Haggard family, New Life Church in Colorado Springs, and the National Association of Evangelicals all seem more attached to the demons of fame, power, and fortune, than the battle to overcome demons; or at least they were until this story broke.

In the movies, certain super heroes can step into a phone booth or private room and transform into someone who is not recognized by family and friends, but in real life, hiding even the smallest of character traits from those around us is almost impossible. Hiding major character flaws IS impossible. The Haggard family, New Life Church, and the National Association of Evangelicals may have allowed themselves to be deceived, but in all likelihood, they probably knew most of the truth about Rev. Haggard and chose to do nothing, even if they didn’t know all of the details.

I keep reading commentary about how this is a story of a man who tragically could not control his sexual nature. Excuse me while I gag! This story is only about sex in the fine print. This is a story of failure top to bottom; a failed man, a failed family, a failed Church, and a failed association of Churches. Rev. Haggard is not the only one who needs to be on his knees begging for forgiveness and asking for reformation and reconciliation.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boy, David, I'm sure glad to see that you are making sense to me. I've been reading a lot of the Christian-perspective comments about Haggard and have been bewildered and dismayed by the lack of critical thinking.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

I am bewildered too. I’m sure there is something I am missing or something I don’t understand, but the circling of the wagons and the inability to point a finger back at everyone who is responsible speaks volumes about the lack of integrity in this family, Church, and association. I also think it is a sad commentary on Christian Churches in general, but I don’t want to paint with too wide a brush. I still believe Christ is sovereign and HIS Church will be redeemed and restored.

Anonymous said...

Hi David -- Oh, of course. I fully understand that our common ground is limited. Best, Rick

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

I love diversity. I’m glad we have differences. Your comments make me think, which is much more important to me than agreement.

However, when it comes to Christ, you and I are completely on common ground. We don’t need to join a club or make any promises we can’t keep in order to communicate with God. My first prayer started with me telling God I didn’t even believe he existed, but just in case he was listening, I had something I wanted to ask. I then asked him if he would give me a reason to believe. Several weeks later I got really mad at God which caused me to realize I was a believer. Now, there is no way I would ever go back to where I was before my first prayer. You don’t have to agree with me or believe what I believe, but I do hope you have conversations with God and allow him to demonstrate his love for you.

Buz said...

My biggest question is "is he sorry for his sin, or is he sorry he got caught?" We have two examples in the OT. King Saul led a sacrifice, a task limited to those in the priesthood. (Today we would say "no big deal", but it was to God.) David on the other hand committed adultry and the murder to cover it up.

When David was outed by the prophet Nathan, he said "I have sinned" and he repented. God forgave him and he was still the Godly king of Israel. On the other hand, when Saul was criticized for his deeds, he response was, "acompany me to the feast so people won't think there is anything wrong." He was much more concerned about his public image than about the sin he had committed.

God took the kingdom away from Saul and gave it to David.

For his sake, and for the sake of the greater church family, I pray that they are all prostrate on the ground before God begging his forgiveness for bringing dishonor to His name.

Buz

David M. Smith said...

Thanks Buz,

All very good points.

I still don’t think Haggard has even acknowledged his main sins. I don’t think New Life or NAE has either. Of course I could be wrong, but I don’t see Haggard as a good man who stumbled. I see him as a man who knew he had no business in leadership, but still lusted after and achieved wealth, power, and influence. Where is his repentance regarding these sins? Where is the acknowledgment and repentance from New Life and NAE? Surely leaders at New Life knew enough to know Haggard was not qualified to Pastor a Church. Surely NAE knew too, or at least should have known.

All humans including Christians are prone to sin. Christian Churches and organizations are supposed to remove the thorns and the weeds, and nurture the wheat. Its starting to seem to me that the thorns and weeds have left no room for the wheat.

Buz said...

(when I would ask such a question of my sons, I would always preface it with, "this is a stupid 'dad' question ... but")

Why do the Evangelicals even need a national association. What is wrong with individual churches staying as such, and just forming a loose coalition to send missionaries.

I know when you buy in bulk you can get a better deal, but I have trouble seeing how that applies here ... what do we need ... bigger jugs of wine? More gold for the crosses on our necklaces. Putting men is such high places is always a temptation for pride and other sins which follow. To put someone at that altitude simply to boast that "we have a national association" seems like waving a pork chop in front of a doberman.

Of course, I'm sure that they will not now disband, but will rather put up another, even bigger target for our enemy to shoot at (no I don't mean CBS news!).

Buz