The Ted Haggard discussion is creating quite a bit of traffic and I'd like to make a couple comments that might be useful to some who are reading this blog for the first time.
I have great hope that evangelical Christianity can find a way to offer what it does best to the people who love it most. I love the community life of evangelicalism. I love the way we care for each other, the way everyone rushes in to make life easier for the hurting or suffering (whether someone loses a job or goes to the hospital). I've seen huge doses of grace dispensed to the hurting or fallen. Just last spring when one of the 15 year olds in our homeschool group revealed she was pregnant, our group rallied around her and her family! She continued to come to co-op while pregnant and has since brought her baby with her each week this fall.
Moments like these are times when I'm so proud to be a part of an evangelical community.
What I wish we could see with Ted Haggard's situation is an opportunity for real honesty to co-exist with leadership. The only way that will happen is if a person's job security is not dependent on being absolutely morally pure, particularly in the arena of sexual brokenness. There can be no honesty when one's livelihood is tied to being above reproach, at all times.
On the other hand, churches do have an interest in having leaders that don't fall into large-scale sin. It seems to me that what we really need is a way for churches to help their pastors and members through their addictions to the other side while allowing them to continue to perform the tasks that they can while being helped. Ted can still work in a soup kitchen or go to prayer meetings or teach the Bible, can't he? These skills don't disappear because of sexual misconduct.
He needs the body more now than he ever did. And the body needs him - to see how to recover, how to be humiliated and still find grace and faith. To shuttle him off to some hidden place reinforces the message of hiddennness.
Only when evangelicals can see that their churches are safe places for sinners to reveal their sins, doubt, missteps, changes in thinking will honesty become the currency of our spiritual lives. If not, secrecy will thrive. I write these columns, this blog, my papers for grad school because I am passionate about Christianity... in fact, I love it! I long for the day when Christians can live up to its bold challenge to love, to forgive, to serve, to make peace, to heal, to embrace, to live the truth humbly.
I hope I'm becoming that kind of person myself.