This has no doubt been a very painful time for you and your family. I could not imagine being the object of a national scandal and having your intimate life exposed and examined in the glare of the public eye. Yet, this is where you placed yourself and this is the position of prominence and importance that you craved, so I feel no sadness or sorrow in seeing your private and secret life revealed.
The refreshing part is that the mask is off of you now. You now join the ranks of the fallen ones and in all sincerity I can tell you that this is probably the most honest you have ever been in your own life. It was difficult, in part, watching you come to grips with the reality of your situation as your facade came crashing down around you. It was also laughable to watch you cling with such desperation to the persona you had built which was a complete and utter lie.
Yet today you are at the most raw and real place you have been in years. As the depression fades and the grief gives way to reflection, I believe you will find solace and comfort in having been yanked from the arena of pretending week to week to be one thing, when in fact you were something quite different than what everyone else wanted you to be.
I relate to you Ted. As a pastor, there is tremendous pressure in keeping the mask on and playing a role that people ask you to play for them. It is genuinely hard to be yourself. In the midst of pleasing the crowds, preaching, instructing, building your ministry, and becoming overly self-important through the applause and praise of others, you lose your own sense of self. In trying to fulfill the vision you believe God has given you to build his church, you become blind to who you are.
You say in your letter that you are “a deceiver and a liar”. That’s the most honest thing that has probably ever been uttered from the pulpit of New Life Church. It’s just too bad that you weren’t there to say it yourself. In my opinion, that is how most pastors should start their sermons each and every week. As pastors, we don’t know all the answers (if we even know any of them at all). Pastors, for the most part, are experts at sharing their opinions on the subject of eternity, salvation and what God says or means… and sharing ones opinion is a far cry from sharing Truth. Pastors share their version of the truth… yet do so very often as if it is God’s truth… and that makes most of the ones I have heard deceivers and liars just like you.
End of Part One