Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Thoughts on Ted

I'm a bit of a late-comer when it comes to trends in the blogosphere. I tend to want to sit back and let my thoughts marinate for a bit, because when I speak first and think second I usually end up with my foot in my mouth (anyone who knows me will confirm this). I also enjoy hanging back and watching how the conversation unfolds.

Here's a thought that's been cooking for a while:

A lot of folks have been jumping all over Ted Haggard for starting a new church just a few years of getting booted from his mega-pulpit for trysts with a gay prostitute. I actually felt a bit sorry for Ted. I argued then, as I do now, that he was eaten a live by a monster that he helped create: the cult of personality around a charismatic leader. Living in that place for so long causes anyone to start to believe the hype and become someone else.

Case in point:

(methinks the pastor doth protest too much)

I understand people's reasons for bashing Haggard. His words and actions have been incredibly harmful to people in the GLBTQ community. If someone had constantly been attacking me for who I am I would feel no small amount of shadenfreude when they got a taste of their own medicine. And I understand why people are skeptical of him even now, since he still courts media attention, and since may even do a reality series. I get all of that.

And yet something inside me still thinks that he's changed. You can see it in the way he talks about how people need God's grace. It's no longer "them" language. He includes himself. Nowhere was this more on display when he appeared on Larry King talking about Jennifer Knapp coming out of the closet.

Yes, he was all too happy to be on TV again. I imagine a psychological evaluation would reveal that he still has a pretty large narcissistic streak. But as a mentor once told me, "you don't get humility without a lot of humiliation". Ted Haggard has been humiliated, abandoned by people he thought were his friends, and generally kicked in the rear end. Did he deserve much of it? Sure. But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and keep watching to see how different he is.


Anonymous said...

Hey Matt,
I understand the ‘Christian’s’ need to show forgiveness for the transgressions of others but I don’t know what brand of marinade you’ve been using that brings you to your conclusions. Please sit back and marinade this:
Haggard will do anything, say anything that will put him in the good graces of the folks he’s anxious to impress – so much so that his lies bubble up from time to time to betray him…and he doesn’t even seem to remember what he said.
What lies, you ask. Well, how many times did he deny his trysts with a gay prostitute or his use of methamphetamines? How many times did he argue he’d only transgressed once only to find out that he’d sexually harassed a young man from his congregation – who, by the way, was paid several hundred grand for his silence. Ted’s lied about his ‘heterosexuality’ eventually taking the position of being completely hetero but - with ‘issues’. Didn’t Ted also lie that he would never take up ministering to others OR that ‘I’m not starting another church - when only a week later opened St. James (his new tax dodge).
Narcissist you say? He’s a narcissist on a grand scale who knows exactly what to do and how to work the media to reclaim that 200K dollar income he lost when he was kicked out of New Hope. Narcissist ? You damn betcha!
Now Ted is demeaning the same faith and the purveyors thereof, as though he’s discovered an entirely new religion. He is also in the process of diminishing the extent of his transgressions saying that he’s ‘over-repented’ for one little tryst. ONE? Ted saw his masseuse friend once a month for three – 3 – three years!!! And what about the young man he seduced while he ministered at New Hope. Is Ted Gay? Of course and the most serious of lies he tells is the one he keeps telling himself. Repent? He hasn’t even begun to repent!
I don’t think you, Matt, fully understand the damage he’s done to the young people his ‘ministry’ reached, youngsters struggling with their own sexuality – frightened and sickened by what they feel inside. How about all the kids who have ended their lives because of the lies told by Ted Haggard? And pastor Ted isn’t done. He’s not repented and will go on lying about LGBTQ people.
Throw that in your marinade, Matt

Anonymous said...

By the way, Matt, marinades are used to impart flavor and ‘tenderize’ and maybe not the best thing to use for following and/or understanding the likes of an artist like Ted Haggard. Try horseradish – it blows out the cobwebs and clears the mind.

Unknown said...

Clearly you have strong feelings about Ted Haggard. Do you have personal experience with his ministry? If so, I'd be curious to hear what they are. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Matt, I’ve followed Ted since Nov. 7, 2007 via Google Alert, skipped the blogs and stuck to credible news organizations or sites like Huffington Post and ‘Pams House Blend.’ Here a couple of interesting articles written by creditable individuals who have a similar interest in Ted as I. Check out :
“Ted Haggard's New Church of Homophobia” - by Rev. Irene Monroe | Article Date: 06/16/2010 2:45 PM http://www.shewired.com/Article.cfm?ID=25166
“New Ted Haggard sex scandal” - Monday January 26, 2009

“Ted Haggard and Ted Bundy: More in Common Than a First Name”
Dr. Bill Walthall, The Love Revelation

There are many more articles that track him from November 7, 07 to present. I’ve downloaded most of them.

Hope this helps!