I'm a little late in commenting on this, and I know much has been written and will continue to be. If you don't know what I'm referring to, a very prominent pastor in Colorado was accused of visiting a male prostitute for three years, while using meth. He first denied all the allegations, then admitted to buying the meth but not using it, then confessed that much of the allegations, though not all, were true. He was fired from his position.
There are some issues I'd like to address. The first is that I'm so grateful he finally came clean. It was painful to watch him squirm and lie the first two days. Now that he's confessed, there's a sense of: OK, now someone can help him with this. Secondly, what a reminder that no one is immune from the realities of sin. I listened to a teaching recently where
a long-time pastor said his struggle with sin has gotten harder, not easier, the older he's gotten. Sobering, but clearly what Paul says in Romans 7: Paul had to be a mature Christ-follower at this point, but he still talks about doing the things he knows he shouldn't. As our pastor said Sunday: all sin is stupid, and but for the grace of God, we could all likewise fall.
Third, I really appreciated a blog from Scot McKnight where he calls for a new commitment to honesty in the evangelical church. Stricter accountability wasn't necessarily the answer in the Haggard case, but perhaps if twenty years ago when he first was struggling with this issue, he had been able to tell enough people, the shame of the secret wouldn't have overtaken him. We all have to be willing to say to each other: I'm broken, so are you, and let's not hide from it, no matter how scary that is.
The last issue I want to address has to do with a comment Haggard made in his letter to the congregation. He says the following: "There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life." We can only assume that he's referring to his struggle with homosexuality. I understand that he feels this is repulsive and dark, but I wish he would have considered how those in the homosexual community would interpret that statement. They have certainly picked up on it. In fact, in an article in the Trib this Sunday about a play being produced by one of my best friends and directed by another friend from college, one person being interviewed took issue with the inference that being gay was "repulsive and dark." I wonder how much the taboo of homosexuality in the evangelical church kept this particular sin hidden. All sin is dark, and yet we don't think about our propensity to lie or cheat as "repulsive". I would hope that we in the Evangelical church would be able to be more gracious and wise in how we deal with the homosexual community.