By now you’ve probably seen the Oprah interview with Ted Haggard and his wife Em. If you haven’t seen it yet you can catch the entire 45-minute interview on YouTube.
Think what you will about this one-time pretty boy of the evangelical church world, the matter of the church forgiving him is now out in the open for all in the mainstream culture to see and judge. The matter at hand now is not so much Haggard but the Church’s handling of his situation.
How did we do with this hot potato triad scandal of drugs, sex, and deceit? The question of whether or not the church ultimately forgives Haggard is beyond the grasp of his local congregation in Colorado Springs. It is now on the national arena for all to judge as to whether a decent job was done or did we push down the already depressed.
The question comes up pretty quickly: What we do with haggard Haggards who are certainly more common than church leadership would like to admit? He’s apparently been recently welcomed back by his congregation in Colorado Springs – a move that was quite slow in coming down for whatever reason. We don’t know exactly what the underpinnings were of the welcoming back gesture.
It seemed as though the leadership was convinced that appropriate repentance had taken place (at least there was appropriate clarification that it occurred in the relationship between Ted Haggard and the congregational leadership). This team moved a long way from telling him he could no longer operate in the state of Colorado to now allowing him to be in the same city.
(By the way, how would you like to be the pastor of this congregation now on a given Sunday when Ted Haggard is sitting among the people? That would make for an interesting preaching milieu if nothing else…)
Haggard’s treatment was an interesting test case for the Church in the United States. The congregation in Colorado Springs treated him like he was a local person only but he was so much more of a national figure by the time all of the stories broke.
Regardless of the marks, the Church receives on this grading period in regard to Haggard, let’s hope we learn a lesson or two on this one. Let’s prayerfully walk this one out to its end in hopes we can learn our lessons well. To replay life in the same vein with no lessons learned would be tragic and uncalled for.