What happened to Ted Haggard is unfortunate. Really unfortunate.
Founder and former pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado, and leader of the National Association of Evangelicals - and married father of five - admitted to having a sexual relationship with a male prostitute, that also involved meth usage.
I do believe what Haggard did was wrong. There's no denying it. He obviously had some very strong, personal issues that he unsuccessfully tried to cope with, all the while, living a double, hypocritical life.
And no mater where people stand on the subject of homosexuality and Christianity, that is not the point of contention of this post.
What bothers me most about the Haggard scandal is how the "church" has reacted in all of this debacule.
On Thursday, HBO premiered, "The Trials of Ted Haggard."
The documentary follows up with Haggard - after the church that he founded, exiled him from his hometown - and the repercussions he and his family faced after the scandal.
New Life not only reprised Haggard's position, rightfully so, but they banned him from living with his family in the state of Colorado. In addition, the thousands upon thousands of "friends" and "church folk," dropped Haggard like a hot potato. Some even leaked private correspondence/information to the media, fueling the sensationalism of everything.
Are we living in a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel or something? Who gets exiled anymore (I mean besides political prisoners and Michael Jackson?) Why do we brand people so easily with scarlet letters? That's so 1850s man.
If we, and by we, I mean those of us who call ourselves Christians, can't forgive one of our own, how can we EVER expect those who don't believe...to believe?
What Haggard did was deplorable. How Haggard misled and deceived his congregation and thousands of followers, was also deplorable.
But the way New Life treated Haggard is by far, the most deplorable.
Where is the message of God's love and forgiveness? They treated Haggard as if he had some sort of leprosy. And for what mainly? Yes, Haggard did wrong things, but the main driving force behind the lynch mob, was his homosexual dalliances.
If Christians can't demonstrate God's true and unconditional love, for ALL people: heterosexuals, homosexuals, Christians (saved), non-Christians (sinners), blacks, whites, browns, rich and poor...how can we blame those who say, "I want no part of your God."
We HAVE to be living, breathing, exercising examples of God's love and forgiveness. God reveals Himself through us. If God can...and does forgive us for our sins...then we HAVE to do the same for others.
The actions of New Life is how the world sees us. And yes, Haggard gave us a bad name through his actions, but he is honestly trying.
I would like to think that the church I currently attend wouldn't treat any one of our pastor/teaching staff the way New Life treated Haggard.
If one of the two senior pastors were to...gasp!...make a mistake and reveal their innate sinful humanity, I can only hope and have faith that we won't treat either of them the way Haggard was treated.
I can only pray.
I wonder if the senior leadership at New Life somehow forgot this little Bible story, from their Sunday school days?...
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them,
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you,"
Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
John 8:1-11 (New International Version)
Will any of us ever really be truly worthy to cast stones?
I surely, am not.