Sunday, November 12, 2006

Frederica on Ted

I'm usually not a fan. But this article from First Things by Frederica Matthews Green resonated. (I promise this is the last one about Ted for awhile.) I especially liked this:

So it is a mistake to present Christianity the way some churches do, as if it is the haven of seamlessly well-adjusted, proper people. That results in a desperate artificial sheen. It results in treating worship as a consumer product, which must deliver better intellectual or emotional gratification than the competition. And that sends suffering people home again, still lonely, in their separate metal capsules.

What all humans have in common is our pathos. Getting honest about that binds us together. And then we begin to see how the mercy of God is pouring down on all of us all the time, just as the Good Samaritan bound the wounds of the beaten man with healing oil. May God give this healing mercy to Ted and Gayle, and to their children. May God reveal his healing mercy to Michael Jones, who told the truth. May God have mercy on all of us.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I track pretty well with most of what Frederica says here (especially the worship-as-consumer-product bit,) except I don't know that it's quite right to say that conservative evangelical churches present Christianity as the haven for "seamlessly well adjusted, proper people." That may be what happens on the social level within congregations, but it seems to me that there's plenty enough emphasis on our sinfulness, inadequacy and general dependency on God's grace, forgiveness and salvation that comes through in much of the teaching and preaching. That message itself has been pretty slicked up and conventionalized though, and imo has lost its impact from over-repetition. Most any Christian I've met would vigorously affirm the proposition that "the church is a haven for needy and broken sinners." New Life members are acknowledging just that as they offer messages of support for Pastor Ted - he's just another human who struggles with temptation "as we all do."

I think the fundamental problem with many Christian ministries is that they greatly overstep their role in telling people how they are supposed to live their lives. If Haggard had not gotten himself so involved in efforts to politicize and legislate personal and private moral conduct, his situation would be viewed a lot differently, and more sympathetically, but those outside of Christendom.

I hope that Frederica and others who are so moved at this moment to ask God's mercy on Ted Haggard and his family and his accuser can keep those sentiments in their thoughts and prayers the next time they feel the impulse to embark on another moralistic crusade.