Haggard – Back from the Wilderness

I’m glad I read this story today. Just from the sound bites in the article you can tell Ted Haggard has faced some harsh realities in the past couple of years. It will be interesting to see the documentary that is coming to HBO. Here’s my thoughts on parts of the article.

“I think sexuality is confusing and complex,” Haggard said. “I am totally completely satisfied with the relationship with my wife now, but I went through a wandering in the wilderness time, and I just thank God I’m on the other side of that.”

Asked whether he could define his sexual identity, Haggard said: “The stereotypical boxes don’t work for me. My story’s got some gray areas in it. And, of course, I’m sad about that but it’s the reality.”

I agree with him and I think it’s an important perspective for many people to take. Stereotypical boxes don’t always work for all people. Sexual identity and attraction can be a very gray area for people and labels only make it that much more difficult for some. I admire his resolve to work through the relationship with his wife while also not denying his sexual attractions to men. That sounds very honest and healthy.

Asked to expand on his attitude toward homosexuality, Haggard said, “I believe all human beings fall short of the standards they believe in.”

He added, “I would say the biggest change is I now know about hatred than I ever dreamed, and I know it doesn’t help. And I know more about judgment and I know it doesn’t help. Since my experience, I know more about the power of love and forgiveness. I know a lot more about the necessity of people not judging one another.”

That’s the words of a man who has hit bottom and lived to tell about it. It’s a very painful lesson he’s learned if I am reading between the lines.

In the documentary premiering Jan. 29, Haggard is shown shuffling from motel to motel, driving a moving truck, enrolling in a college psychology course, struggling as a door-to-door salesman and pondering his fate while laying in a motel bed in a white undershirt.

“At this stage in my life, I’m a loser — a first-class loser,” he says.

Now back living in Colorado Springs, Haggard said Friday he hopes to build his business selling insurance and debt-reduction software and is considering marketing himself through a speakers bureau to share his story — “if the terms were right. I have to earn a living.”

Yes, I hope he can make a living and I hope he does so speaking and encouraging others… especially if he’s going to talk about not hating and not judging. I also hope he doesn’t end up losing himself in the process of speaking and sharing his story. It’s very hard to have been in the spotlight and not lust after it, but maybe his fall was so big and so difficult he can remain humble. I also love to read all of the jobs he has tried. I think all full-time pastors should try to go make a living for about 3 or 4 months and see how easy they have it…maybe it will cause more of them to keep their dicks in their pants.

The nature of Haggard’s return — and his harsh words in the film for his former church — is drawing criticism.

“If you’re going to come out and begin a new life, why would you choose an HBO documentary, then meet with the liberal Hollywood press?” said H.B. London, a former counselor to Haggard and an executive at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs. “The fact that he’s attacking the church or New Life Church, when they did so much to help him and his family, is below the belt.”

Shut the hell up H.B. London. You self-focused self-righteous baby. Yes the church gave him severance (from what I read it was very fair but not completely out of line considering his years of service). However, they also cut him off socially and forced him to move against his will or not receive the severance. They banished him from people in the community where he had lived for so many years and held money over his head to keep him in line. His new life involves not towing the stupid church party line and I am sure he feels a sense of great freedom in finally saying what he wants. He owes the church absolutely zero.

In the AP interview, Haggard credited his therapists, whom he described as Christian believers who used secular therapy methods.

“I just thought a spiritual solution would be the solution to everything that’s internal,” Haggard said. “That turned out not to be the case.”

What a great insight said by a man that probably thought he’d never feel that way. That’s the most refreshing quote in the whole article. If most Christians, including H.B. “Big Baby” London, believed that way, the church and world would be a better place.

Oh and one more thing Ted… you aren’t a loser now. At this point, you are someone that has gained my admiration. Sure, I think you still have some ways to go, but don’t we all. The difference is before this happened you thought you were a gift from God to the world, now you just might be!

A New Year List

I just watched the movie “The Bucket List”. It’s a good little flick that reminds us that we should really live life to the fullest. The movie reminded me how precious life is and how quickly times passes. No day like today.

Well I’m not writing a Bucket List, but I would like to jot down off the top of my head some things I’d like to focus on this year. These aren’t resolutions just things I want to experience and learn… and I know this will come by doing them.

1) Stand up for myself more often.
2) Trust my instincts and not think too much.
3) Have more spontaneous fun… again not think too much.
4) Laugh more.
5) Open my heart to new friendships.
6) Give more time to develop my current friendships.
7) Paint, create, write – share these things with others.
8) Create memorable and joyous moments with my boys.
9) Organize my house.

And I stop at nine, because I always tend to do things in list of 3’s or 10’s or some number that I think sounds perfect. And that’s just boring.

Have a great New Year everybody.

Steve