Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Ted Haggard just won't go away

46 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

He's starting a new church in Colorado Springs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Incorporation papers for a new church were filed three weeks ago, he said. Haggard previously indicated that he and his wife incorporated the church for accounting purposes
Help me out with the US terminology a bit here, what does this bit mean, cos it sounds to me like he's found some people he wants to "do church" with and as he has the means he has put his money into it. I'm not quite sure this is the same as him "starting a new church". But as I say I'm not really sure what AP are reporting has happened.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Links to the read-only threads on 'Ted Haggard' (Nov 2006 - Jan 2009), 'Ted Haggard and Jesus Camp' (Sep 2006) and 'Zach Kincaid lashes out at CT for Haggard focus' (Nov - Dec 2005).

Link to our ongoing thread on Jesus Camp (2006).

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard, who fell from grace amid a sex scandal, is starting a new church in Colorado Springs.

I hate that phrase. You can't fall from grace, at least not the way that I understand it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard, who fell from grace amid a sex scandal, is starting a new church in Colorado Springs.

I hate that phrase. You can't fall from grace, at least not the way that I understand it.

He fell from human grace. I agree with you that one does not fall from the grace of God.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I hate that phrase. You can't fall from grace, at least not the way that I understand it.

He fell from human grace. I agree with you that one does not fall from the grace of God.

FWIW, St. Paul doesn't mind the language of falling from God's grace: "You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace" (Gal 5:4). We can debate about what he meant (we would disagree), but there's no sense, IMO, getting bent out of shape about biblical language. (The same applies to concerns about how we talk about salvation: "God saves people, we don't save anyone." On the one hand, that's obviously true, but OTOH the NT speaks repeatedly about human persons saving others and even themselves. Why be more fastidious than the NT?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I don't mind the expression "falling from grace" so long as it is understood that one can always fall back into grace!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I don't think I've ever thought of it as a human thing, but especially when it is a fallen preacher involved. The majority of people will have no "grace" for a fallen preacher, the word doesn't even occur to me in his case, inside his circle or out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Any chance we could get this thread back on topic? Am I the only one that suspects that the article is trying to make a mountain out of a molehill?

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I think you are right. Mark Barna a Colorado Springs religion reporter has been on the case and attended services yesterday. According to Barna, Long Pond Media is doing a documentary on Haggard and paid expenses of some of the attendees. His most recent blogpost seems to be a summary at least of his article in todays Colorado Springs Gazette. Scroll down the blog. Some recent entries are about Haggard including a novel tithe system and a lottery from the offerings. The winner gets 10% of the take, 25% of which to keep and the 75% of "winnings goes to the worthy, non-profit cause of the winner's choosing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Rich Kennedy wrote:

: Scroll down the blog. Some recent entries are about Haggard including a novel tithe system and a lottery from the offerings. The winner gets 10% of the take, 25% of which to keep and the 75% of "winnings goes to the worthy, non-profit cause of the winner's choosing.

:blink:

:blink:

:blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I scrolled down and found a corrective update to the lottery story. Haggard told Barna that, at the direction of a congregant picked at random, some part of the "take" can be directed to a needy organisation of which the congregant is aware. Barna quotes the St. James Church website (the name of the church in question here) to the effect that this gets the congregation involved in the ministry and service of the church. I actually like this aspect of the church. The schlubs in the pews having a chance at decision making over money? Such rarely happens in a church of any stripe! I bristled at the notion of a nine member board, of which the Haggards are two, that is tasked with running the church. While I like the fact that others than Ted have ultimate authority, I neverappreciate the same guys always calling the shots. I suppose that for startup, you need usual suspects, but it would be good to rotate them out when the ministry expands.

So far, the ideals seem to be good I like what I read. But I've only read of one service and I'm naturally a cynic.

A lottery from the offerings??!!

And I'd lulled myself into believing that American churches couldn't possibly get any more crassly commercial.

Boy, was I ever wrong! (In all seriousness, the lottery idea turns my stomach.)

Yeesh.

Depends on the lottery. Depends on how it is set up. The first thing I thought of before the correction was, nice PR move for a new church. EVERYBODY bitches about the money churches have and how it enriches the leaders. This turns that Judas objection on its head in a Robin Hood sort of way, including a say in where some of it is directed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

And people have been playing Bingo in churches for years. And this week a Pastor was shot and killed in Chicago over an $800 poker game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

While I agree that the congregation - the contributors to the offering - definitely should have some say over where the money goes, the idea of any kind of lottery seems... well. I said it already.

But remember, the lottery was a misinterpretation by another local paper out there.

OK, naming a nondenominational (at this point, they don't rule out affiliation down the road) evangelical church "St. James" is a little different. Good choice to model the church's ideals as well as countering the modern trend of unidentifiably generic names. Saddleback, Northridge, Family Life. I don't like this trying to avoid identifiable church characteristics. It really is just kicking the preconceived notion of what you are doing down the road a block or two. Actually, if one is truly observant, one can make accurate wildass guesses about the kind of church you are by the way you hide it in your name.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Thanks Rich,

I think it just confirms my initial suspicions. I don't really know enough about Haggard to make a judgement, but leaders (like all of us) commit sins, sometimes including hypocrisy and deception (like lying when asked if they are one of Jesus' followers whilst they warm their hands by a fire). Does that bar them from ministry forever? In my book "no". I'd suggest Haggard shouldn't be given quite such a high profile role again, but why shouldn't he go back into church leadership again.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

FWIW, I think there's a significant difference between Peter's one moment of cowardice (in a very high-pressure situation) and Ted Haggard's years of hypocrisy and deceit. Perhaps someone in Haggard's position should be allowed back into ministry at some point, perhaps not, but I think one can also argue that he's rushing back into the job far too quickly. (See also Rod Dreher's response to Haggard's wife's suggestion that, if Haggard had NOT become a church leader again, their lives would have been over.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Matt, I also have grave reservations about Haggard based on the recent past. However, as I've said before, he seems to have thought the "churchy" things through and come up with a few fresh ideas. He also seems to want to be more inclusive on the issue of sexual sin. If I can speculate based on what I've read from Barna and some few other sources, the intent is for a via media of chastity as a work in progress. My suspicions lie with his discernment in his own life as a leader of St. James. No one questions his obvious pastoring abilities. How will he stand as an up front example in personal life and working on his weaknesses?

Edited by Rich Kennedy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

My suspicions lie with his discernment in his own life as a leader of St. James. No one questions his obvious pastoring abilities. How will he stand as an up front example in personal life and working on his weaknesses?

This is pretty much my take as well. And let's face it; even in non-religious circles, visiting a gay prostitute while taking meth ain't exactly what most people would call a "weakness" or a "mistake".

But the sad fact is, what are Haggard's professional options at this point? Most evangelical pastors-- fallen or otherwise-- aren't qualified to do much in today's marketplace. Their "degrees" from independent Bible Colleges are worth next to nothing. I think a couple years ago Ted was working for a mortgage company, passing out flyers door to door. The guy was one of THE shining lights in American evangelicalism, do you really expect him to get a job mowing lawns or parking cars?

I've been around enough career politicans and pastors in my life to know that people quickly become attached to "leading" others. This insatiable drive to "make a difference in the community and the lives of others" is almost always fueled by the desire to be on stage.

Edited by Greg P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Greg P wrote:

: The guy was one of THE shining lights in American evangelicalism, do you really expect him to get a job mowing lawns or parking cars?

If his soul matters to him more than the celebrity, sure, quite possibly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Greg P wrote:

: The guy was one of THE shining lights in American evangelicalism, do you really expect him to get a job mowing lawns or parking cars?

If his soul matters to him more than the celebrity, sure, quite possibly.

Heh. I don't think anything is more important to Ted Haggard than celebrity, marriage and family included.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I know a couple of former pastors who've done pretty well selling insurance.

Even if he has to start a second career, Ted could still be effective in some kind of lay ministry. But going back to full-time pastoring? I don't think so. We've all seen how Ted copes with the pressures of church leadership, and it ain't purty. At this point, yeah, St. James is only a small house church, but then again, that's exactly how New Life started.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

the sad fact is, what are Haggard's professional options at this point? Most evangelical pastors-- fallen or otherwise-- aren't qualified to do much in today's marketplace. Their "degrees" from independent Bible Colleges are worth next to nothing. I think a couple years ago Ted was working for a mortgage company, passing out flyers door to door. The guy was one of THE shining lights in American evangelicalism, do you really expect him to get a job mowing lawns or parking cars?

I disagree. First of all, at Haggard's age, where at and what you studied is not as important as the fact of the dgree(s) and subsequent career. The things that make for a good leading pastor are those that can be employeed anywhere. Secondly, I don't know where he went to seminary, but it seems to me that organisational management seems to be a secret minor in most modern evangelical seminaries. The most successful seem to have turned their Mdiv's into MBA's. Haggard's heart wasn't in insurance, or real estate, and such. He'll be successful in whatever he tries. I think he has a craving for working on and with the inner man. He and I have different weaknesses and flaws, but I recognize the type.

We've all seen how Ted copes with the pressures of church leadership, and it ain't purty. At this point, yeah, St. James is only a small house church, but then again, that's exactly how New Life started.

Perfectly stated. These are my reservations exactly. I suspect that he'll do fine for a while. My fear is that, like Peter jumping out of the boat to get to Jesus, he'll avert his eyes (assuming his present spirituality is sincere) and get a good look at what he's standing on and where he is. It is at that point that his response will be crucial. He retreats to past coping behaviors and here we go again. That's a good prayer list right there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

I don't like the idea of Haggard trying to get back into a pastoral/leadership position, and think Greg P. is right about Haggard and celebrity.

I don't know if this will make sense to anyone, but... he makes me very uneasy and always has done, and I've seen very little of him, with the exception of film and a couple of TV appearances. I think he says all the "right things" (evangelical buzzwords and platitudes) but all the words ring hollow and false to me. If I were to meet someone like him IRL, I think I would find them untrustworthy.

It's almost as if the surface is painted on, concealing - ??? (I'm not sure, exactly.)

Well, you are right in some senses, and in others, of course, entitled to your own perspective on his approach to pastoring. As someone who went to New Life regularly for a couple years while he was there, I can't deny that there were a lot of problems in the approach to leadership as it related to visibility and celebrity; and yet, I think most people from New Life who attended while he was senior pastor (including myself) would say that he did have a strong ministry, that really blessed a lot of people. And not just in a "right things" way; he was thoughtful, thorough, and occasionally deep. I'd go so far as to say that in his prime of teaching, he was an exceptional expositor of the Word. You might not know that, as the way he operated within the bounds of the church was often more grounded and settled than the way he approached the press. Ted will always be for me a quintessential example of the ability for someone to be living a life of deep sin and deception, and still ministering the word of God in a powerful way.

That said, I'm in full agreement that this new pastoring thing is very problematic. There's no way that decades of deception and struggle is turned around in four years.

Even if he has to start a second career, Ted could still be effective in some kind of lay ministry. But going back to full-time pastoring? I don't think so. We've all seen how Ted copes with the pressures of church leadership, and it ain't purty. At this point, yeah, St. James is only a small house church, but then again, that's exactly how New Life started.

[edited to answer particular quote]

Yeah, but it's different this time around. Colorado Springs is very small in some ways (especially north Colorado Springs), and everyone in the area, Christian and non-Christian alike, knew of Ted, before and after the scandal. Everyone had an opinion of him then, and there's no doubt that everyone still has one. It's a little amazing to me that the Haggards felt coming back to the Springs was a good idea in that regard. Not that they aren't welcomed back in grace, but people don't forget easily.

I don't worry about New Life that much. Brady Boyd, the current senior pastor, has already guided New Life through the tail end of Ted's departure, as well as tragic shootings a couple of years ago that took the lives of a couple parishioners; this is small beans from one perspective. And, contrary to popular belief, New Life has always been about the community, not the celebrity. There was certainly a certain amount of refocusing away from that sense of visibility and celebrity after Ted left, but the church stayed relatively strong and lost comparatively few members in the wake of Ted's departure, mostly due to the fact that it was and always has been a strong community. Consequently, I think the Haggards will find it much more difficult to establish themselves (and their church) coming back.

By the way, hi everyone! It's been a while.

Edited by Joel C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

While that may have been true under Ted, Brady Boyd is a different pastor, with a different staff, and many of the old staff members (and pastors) under Ted are now gone. If I'm not mistaken, Ted (and his staff) were the ones keeping that connection strong. New Life has maintained a strong community since the scandal, but much of the old connections with other ministries and organizations have faded. I think that connection may be outdated.

And as I said earlier, your concerns are valid, I can't deny your experience. But the two years I spent listening to Ted preach from the pulpit from week to week are just as valid, and while I no longer am in that particular section of evangelicalism (I'm currently involved in an AMiA church in Boston), I still look back on that as a time of growth and learning.

EDITED TO ADD:

Ellen, my original point in posting was in response to what I perceived to be a questioning of the validity of any of Ted's teaching or ministry. As perhaps the only person who had any connection to New Life as a parishioner during the time that Ted was senior pastor, and as someone who benefited in some way from his ministry - despite his personal downfall - I simply wanted to dispel that perception.

Edited by Joel C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

I hope not as well. And as I said above, I think it'll be more difficult than he thinks. It'll have a splashy entrance, but I think long-term survival will be a real challenge for that community.

For reference, splashy entrance.

Edited by Joel C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0