A Letter to Ted Haggard – Part 1

My open letter to Ted Haggard is in response to his public letter of apology and forgiveness shared with his church on Sunday, November 5, 2006.

Dear Ted,

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

29 thoughts on “A Letter to Ted Haggard – Part 1”

  1. steve, “he is going to have to come to grips with his sexual identity.”that’s what i was saying. “can’t outrun gay” is a quote from The Daily Show about Haggard.my point about “he got caught” was to differentiate the ability to admit to actions you commit after someone else spills the beans about those actions, and confessing those actions out of the blue.i apparently need to work on my communication if it takes me a comment to explain a different comment. yikes.

  2. First… I think dufflehead poses a serious question (although he does so in a humorous way)… and I will be addressing it in the second part of my letter to Ted.Dufflehead, I think it is more than he just “got caught”. I believe he is going to have to come to grips with his sexual identity. He has been going through this process for years (as he describes in his written apology) and struggling to keep it secret.Nugget, he will no doubt go through rehab and try to change his attractions. And this will be difficult if he is truly gay. At the very least, he is apparently bisexual. As much as he wills it to be different, one cannot change one’s orientation.That is what Dufflehead means from his comment that “you can’t outrun gay.”And yes Marc (davidsoftulsa), in case you are wondering, I do speak from personal experience.

  3. As someone averted to Mega-Church and Consumerism-Christianity in general, I can’t help but feel a smug sense of joy in seeing this smiling idol fall from his pedestal. But when I really start to think about it, I realize that I am (and many others) focusing on the wrong things. Because of my opinions about Ted the Minister, I have chosen to focus on his fall from grace and his time of leadership in the Church. The reality though, is that this issue is not about that… that is not what needs to be condemned at this time. What needs to be condemned is that Ted purchased illegal drugs (and most like used them) and that Ted committed adultery. Despite my (and others) negative perspective on Ted’s picture of worship, evangelicalism is not on trial here. That is a completely different debate (with this as a side note). What should be in focus here is Ted’s infidelity. His idea of church is a whole other issue.

  4. No comments yet, huh? Well let me be the first to say: Who gives a rip. Another closet “sinner” is brought into the light. Steve you are right, the man has been humbled. If he was truly mature, he who see this as an honor. He is fortunate enough to be in a place in his life where he can be completely honest without fear of further loss or rejection. Good for you Ted, welcome to the real world.

  5. maybe there was some crank involved?i dunno about all of this. he got caught. what is he to do now? that’s the tough question. i think admitting that he had done this was easier than what’s coming next. is he still going to have to deny who he maybe really is? (“you can’t outrun gay”)

  6. Here’s what was deleted:From earlier:<>Thedavidsoftulsa on Nov 10 @ 5:05 am<>Are you speaking from personal experience? You sexy duffle headed hunk of man meat you. ————————<>drivebytruckers on Nov 10 @ 5:05 am<>I don’t know… I outran a couple gays once……once. ——————–And then most recently:<>Joshua Sager on Nov 10 @ 11:35 PM<>Marc David … were are you now?!?!?! Talking from your ass again!!!! wow.You know nothing. ————————<>Thedavidsoftulsa on Nov 11 @ 7:10 am<>Josh, calm your little attitude down. I don’t recall saying anything to insight your little adolescent rage again. Thanks for the plug nugget. Ninjanun, it is getting increasingly difficult to connect your ramblings directly to the theme af the actual post. I know your are going to feel the need to respond to this in some completely incoherent fashion, but that is ok I am used to it.Steve, I wasn’t talking to you I was simply “Joshin” (get it) with dufflehead. Please don’t feel the need to defend Ninjanun again she is a big girl she can talk for herself. ———————–Ok… everybody have at it. SCP will be what it was once was – no holds barred. Comment at your own risk…

  7. “that is not what needs to be condemned at this time. What needs to be condemned is that Ted purchased illegal drugs (and most like used them) and that Ted committed adultery.”Ha Hoken, how does focusing on this aspect of Ted’s recent behavior, help restore Ted to true fellowship with God? I think what we need to do is stop throwing stones from our glass houses and take a look not at what Ted has done in his past, but what we all have done in our pasts and realize that ya know, right now it’s Ted Haggard, but next week, next year it could easily be us. Jesus said that any man that looks upon a woman with lust has comitted adultery with her in his heart. Are we not all guilty of adultery? I know I am, thousands of times over.Have we as Christians become so complacent in our Christianity as to think that we are somehow sin proof? People, let’s not be too SCP about this issue. I understand the anger and frustration and I share in it too, but I just think that there may be a bigger issue here and if can get past our anger and resentment we might just see it.

  8. Zecryphon said..“Ted has been stripped bare of any privacy and has been laid naked these past couple of weeks, should we clothe him, or turn our backs on him?”Please lets clothe him. The guy is repentful, isn’t he? It seems like the world wants Ted Haggard to embrace homosexuality and drug abuse more then repentfulness.“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

  9. Ted already offered the excuse that Satan is trying to destroy his ministry. He’s talked about how demons would crank call his house threatening to kill him.

  10. Having been in situations like this where people are being removed from ministry, I can confidently tell you that he was probably not allowed to show up and offer his apology in person even if he wanted to…. the church is wanting to put as much distance between them and Haggard as they can possibly do.And in my opinion, this is the right call. First, there is no need to make this more emotional than it already is… secondly, it would have been a photo op and media extravaganza that is unneccessary for him and the church…. third, for the church, not having him there sent a message that they were moving forward without him… and fourth, I think the written apology suffices (what more could he say – other than cry) and minimizes the spotlight on him.

  11. I love how some people show who they really are when given a little linguistic freedom. Blogs do not need to have a comment section, and people, regardless of what some people may think, do not have a right to say whatever pops into their head on them. It’s a privilege. We need to remember that we are guests in another persons web space. How we behave and what we say is a direct testimony about who we are as people and is some cases as Christians. When we are rude and disrespectful to other posters, we are ultimately rude and disrespectful to our host. Steve is an awesome guy and so are all the people I have come to consider friends here: Zeke, Dorsey, Jeff, Ninjanun, Josh. You guys rock! Actions speak louder than words, but on the blogosphere, words are our actions. Comments like the one from nugget while it appears to say nothing, it actually is much more revealing. It shows that nugget really has nothing to say.

  12. Ninja,perhaps I have transposed what I have heard and read elsewhere on this subject upon this blog and for that I apologize. The evangelicals as well as other more conservative denominations are going to have to examine the issue of homosexuality and their opinion of what they think the Bible says on the issue more closely now, that is true. But it’s possible that after they do examine this issue more closely that these denominations could come out and say with a clear conscience that homosexuality is not against nature since the world that we live in is of a fallen nature. Homosexuality when viewed in that light would not be in opposition to the nature of a fallen world but rather a part of thw nature of a fallen world. Would this be better or worse for the issue of homosexuality in the church? While the church would only be saying “Homosexuality is not against nature.” The true reason for that statement would be grounded in the teaching that this is a fallen world we live in.

  13. Zecryphon,Just to clarify… what I meant is that people are using Ted’s recent fall from grace to attack Christianity in general. People aren’t focusing on the fact that he bought methamphetamines because they don’t really care. People aren’t talking about the fact that he cheated on his wife, because it’s more fun to focus on the fact that he had sex with a man. Instead of looking at the real issues people are slinging mud because they don’t really care about sin, they just want to justify their own “sin” by seeing Ted (and all evangelical in general) as hypocrites. Don’t get me wrong we should be talking about the amount of influence prominent evangelicals have on our society. We should be revisiting debates concerning homosexuality and the clergy. We should be talking about these things. But these are side notes.

  14. I have deleted comments on here (see above) because they were personally directed towards someone and not related to the post, what the person said about the post or in a comment related to the post.This is at my sole discretion.

  15. Poor Ted… he’ll find out now that what most people in his life loved was Ted Haggard the product, not the man. Even Jim Dobson, who protested what a good friend Ted was while he believed Mike Jones was spreading lies, has decided he doesn’t have the time to counsel his old friend.I suspect that one of the most difficult things that his poor family will have to deal with is the deep freeze that is coming from the ranks of those who can’t deal with the reality that comes with the light of day. As if being senior pastor wasn’t lonely enough.

  16. I think one thing that may be getting overlooked here is what responsibility to Ted do we as fellow Christians have, if any? He had a responsiblity to his church and others to be honest with us as an example of how to walk worthy in Christ, and he chose for whatever reason to abandon that responsibility. So what should we as committed followers of Christ be doing in response to this and similar incidents where the pulpit-pounders have fallen from grace?I think this situation may be bringing out the worst in us as Christians. Just take a look at all the opinions about what Ted should do or should have done that are coming to the surface now, not just on this blog but on message boards all over the internet and television and radio programs that are devoting time to this as well. We might like to think we’re discussing a serious issue that’s facing the church and on some level I believe we are, but aren’t we also just engaging in gossip and possibly slander if we refer to him as a liar or even something like an unregenerate sinner or a sodomite as some people may be inclined to do?I think we should embrace Ted and people like him in the church and let them know that while we do not agree with their actions of the past, we will not turn our backs on them and kick them out of the church. I think the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:35-40 apply here. In short, what you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.Is Ted not a stranger now, at least to the people who know who he is or was. Are we not now seeing a whole new person? A different person than the one who we were led to believe was the real Ted Haggard these past few years? Ted has been stripped bare of any privacy and has been laid naked these past couple of weeks, should we clothe him, or turn our backs on him? It’s obvious to me that he is thirsting for something in his life and has not found it anywhere yet. He didn’t find it in marriage, he didn’t find it in fame and power, he didn’t find it in the pulpit. Shouldn’t we take him in and bring him to the water of life that is Jesus Christ. Only He has the power to change Ted’s heart of stone and give him a new one. What should we do? What do we want to do?

  17. Zec,If you read closely, I don’t think you’ll find a lot of anger on this blog or in the comments. Maybe you’re reading into what you’ve heard others say around the blogosphere, but from what I can tell from everyone (so far) here at Stupid Church People, we are all just trying to deal with the issues this scandal has brought to the foreground, concerning the church’s response to homosexuals, those who have “fallen from grace,” etc. I know I personally hope only for the best for Ted and his family (whatever form that may eventually take), as well as the New Life church. I also hope that this will make the evangelical community as a whole re-examine their views on homosexuality and all the ministries they’ve built on the Cult of Personality, and putting their pastors on a pedestal and cutting them off from true openness and intimacy. I believe Ted is still a follower of Jesus, not some god-forsaken unregenerate sinner–so what does that say about homosexuality as the “Ultimate Unforgivable Demon-Possessed, Send-you-Straight-To-Hell” sin?

  18. Let’s HOPE he was humbled. Who’s to say he’s not still kissing the feet of men trying to save face? I hope I don’t hear anything about him going to “rehab” and then exposing a catholic priest amidst the turmoil. Being fondled as a preschooler is becoming a lamo excuse.

  19. If he is so sorry for his actions, why didn’t he bother to show up himself and apologize in person?Letting someone else read the letter seems like a cheap apology.Demo

  20. That was a very good letter and I agree al the way. He played a ‘character’ for too long and his in-sincerity caught up with him (and it always does). He now has a chance to feel for the broken, cast-out, despised people of the faith and come to grips with who he is (inside). I feel for the guy and this public crucifixion but he did bring most of this ‘heat’ upon himself…yet I can forgive such people even if all they ever did was make mistakes…but on this one I am torn…on the one hand we should forgive this person for the grievous errors befallen him but on the other hand I think it almost somewhat honest to say ‘we have to challenge indiviuals like this everywhere and help turn our faith into reality and not a spectacle’. I am torn but the letter is really good!

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