Thursday, February 08, 2007

Don't ask; don't tell

This all comes from Street Prophets, but I have rather a different take on it than is taken there (which is neither here nor there, except to justify this post).

Once again we are back to the real issue here: why do we identify with our sexual preferences? Perhaps we should start with the interview with Mike Jones. Mr. Jones is the man Ted Haggard had sex with for over three years. Jones also says that he knows of two other men Haggard had sex with, but those two men fear for their jobs and so prefer to remain anonymous. The counselors for Haggard say, not unreaonably:

''If we're going to be proved wrong, somebody else is going to come forward, and that usually happens really quickly,'' he said. ''We're into this thing over 90 days and it hasn't happened.''
So those allegations must be taken with a grain of salt. Still, Jones is convinced Haggard is a gay man. And what does Haggard say? Nothing.

KUSA - 9Wants to Know has learned the New Life Church in Colorado Springs has reached an agreement on the conditions of Pastor Ted Haggard's relationship with the church.
The agreement calls for Haggard, the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals and senior pastor at the New Life Church, to not rejoin the ministry at New Life, for him and his family to relocate from Colorado Springs and requires Haggard to refrain from speaking publicly about the scandal.
Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Well, Haggard built that church from a basement Bible study to a claimed 14,000 members. But the institution has it's own interests, and an agreement has been reached. Silence is golden, especially when it is purchased with hard cash.

Interestingly, I haven't found any story indicating the allegations of drug use were taken seriously by the counselors. Jones said Haggard used meth in his presence at least once a month for two years, but the most recent articles I can find make no mention of any drug rehabilitation, or any indication Haggard's denial of drug use was ever challenged. Jones makes two good points:

“Until he’s honest with himself, he’ll never be happy.”
In an e-mail to some church members that surfaced Sunday, Haggard wrote that while he was in Phoenix, “We all wanted to know why I developed such incongruity in my life. Thankfully, with the tools we gained there, along with the powerful way God has been illuminating His Word and the Holy Spirit has been convicting me and healing me, we now have growing understanding which is giving me some hope for the future.”

Jones said his writing schedule “may be stretched out the more Ted Haggard talks. Every time he opens his mouth I have to add another chapter.

“I know him well enough by now, and you know what he’s doing when those letters come out? He’s playing the sympathy card. He’s saying, ‘Please feel sorry for me.’

“What I’d like to hear is an apology to the gay community.”
Which is yet another problem: how does a public figure atone for their mistakes? How do you begin to make amends.

And yet, if you don't....

"So, even if you happen to be offering your gift at the altar and recall that your friend has some claim against you, leave your gift there at the altar. First go and be reconciled with your friend, and only then return and offer your gift."

It isn't about you, in other words; it's about the other. Is God illuminating God's word to you? And what are you doing with that illumination to reconcile with those you have hurt, those who have a claim against you? Isn't that where this should go? Not toward issues of sexual identity, but toward issues of honesty and humility?

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