Donny's Ramblings

Conversations with Ted Haggard (Part I)

20 Comments

A NOTE ON MY STRUGGLE IN WRITING THIS STORY

If I do my job correctly, putting into words what I’ve learned from my time with Ted Haggard, I think you’ll see things in a way you’ve never before considered.  This is a task I’ve taken very seriously.  I’ve gone back and forth on how to write this series.  In conversations around the time I spoke to Ted, an opportunity arose to get this story on the Associated Press newswire.  Anytime a writer can be linked to an AP story that would potentially be picked up by news publications across the country and around the world and read by millions of people… well, I probably don’t have to tell you that’s an incredible opportunity!

But the problem is this: the story that would be conducive to such a result is not the story I feel God wants me to write.  It’s been a struggle to answer this simple question:  do I want to write for the secular world, using Ted’s name, fame and life experiences to further my own endeavors, or do I want to write what God’s put on my heart to write for a Christian audience, speak more about spiritual matters, and risk having a much smaller readership? I’ve chosen to listen to that still, small voice speaking inside and give you what I feel I’m supposed to share.  This story might never be seen by as many eyeballs as it could have commanded, but I pray those of you who DO read it get as much out of this experience as I have.

And by all means, please forward the story link to friends!

Let’s begin…

THIS SERIES CONSISTS OF:

  1. Conversations with Ted Haggard – A Prelude
  2. Conversations with Ted Haggard – Part 1 (current article)
  3. Conversations with Ted Haggard – Part 2
  4. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts to share at some point in the future.  Bookmark this blog and return or befriend me on twitter, Facebook or Myspace and watch for updates

Also See the Two Articles My Pastor Wrote About this Interview:

  1. Ted Haggard – Born Again Again?
  2. Which Is Worse?  [Ted Haggard #2]

A PLEA

In the Author’s Note for his book Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller writes:

I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside Bagdad Theatre in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for 15 minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

I can identify with Don’s note.  Sometimes when we look at something through the eyes of another person we see things in a different way than we’ve ever seen them before.  When my ex-wife told me how she sees my mother, I stood back and looked at her through Wendy’s eyes and lost a lot of the bitterness I’d held onto for so long.  In discussions with my Pastor, he’s told me of his love of the Bible and of the Church.  I’ve had a chip on my shoulder towards the church for years, and have oftentimes found the Bible to be a book I just didn’t want to read, but when Bill looked me in the eyes and spoke of his love for these things I knew he was telling me the truth.  I went searching for what it was that Bill saw in the Church, in the Bible, that made him feel such love.  That search changed my outlook.

Today I ask you to see Ted Haggard through my eyes.

MEETING TED

We’ve heard about the Ted Haggard who used to speak out publicly against rights for homosexuals, yet was secretly engaging in homosexual activity himself.  We’ve heard about the Ted Haggard who agreed to enter a spiritual restoration program, only to leave it before that process was completed.  We’ve heard about “New Allegations” as recently as this past January.  We’ve heard… lots of things about the man who was at one time the pastor of a church of more than 14,000 congregants and the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which is itself comprised of 30 million conservative Christians spread out over 45,000 churches from 52 different denominations.

But what most of us HAVEN’T heard is what the man himself has to say about these topics.

Ted and Gayle Haggard

Ted and Gayle Haggard

You could call me a cynic and not be off base.  I’m honestly quite critical of the motives of others.  Throughout my life, raised the son of a Pentecostal Pastor, I’ve seen church leaders fall.  I’ve witnessed the blatant hypocrisy of Brother or Sister Super-Spiritual, who acted one way on Sundays yet filled the rest of their week with disgrace.  All of my life I was told what the Mormons believe, what Catholics believe, what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, and I trusted the religious leaders who told me these things.  Yet when I asked Mormons, Catholics, or Witnesses to clarify their beliefs for me, it was only then that I discovered much of what I’d been told they believed was not accurate.

So when the opportunity was presented to ask Ted Haggard any questions I wished to ask, I jumped on the chance to hear his side of the story. This past May 4th I spent the first of what would end up being three interviews in the lobby of the Hampton Inn, where Ted and his wife were staying while visiting my hometown: Redding, California.  I looked into his eyes and read his body language.  I had my BS detector set to “high” and, although I didn’t hook him up to a lie detector, I’m convinced the man I spoke with told me the truth.  As we discussed emotionally charged topics I watched his moods swing like a weight on a string from deep sorrow to humble repentance to anger, a little bitterness and even a bit of cynicism.

Oh, how I identify with those mood swings!  I’ve gone through the same range of emotions myself, as I heal from both a childhood of Christian legalism and a rebellious nine year career of porn production.  There are times I’ll feel something very strongly, yet hours later feel entirely different.  During our time together I discussed this with Ted:

DONNY: When I first got out of the porn business and became a Christian I would write a lot of venom.  I sometimes spew venom, still, on my frustrations with Christians.  I was asked to write a book but I put it off when I finally realized that I am not in the right place to write it, because over time my attitudes and opinions have changed. Have you felt that same range of emotions?

TED: Yes, indeed.  You just described exactly where I am.  There are times when I have all these emotions that I just need to get out.  I’ve gotta process it through, which is very difficult on other people.  Because I’m not still there five hours later.  Five hours later there’s a wave of grace.  Here’s how I describe it:  it’s very much like the death of a loved one.  When you have a death of a loved one there are waves of grief.  And in between that grief it’s just as if your emotions are normal.  You’re able to go about your day.  I am in grief because of what I did to myself, my friends, the church… my sin.  And I am in grief that I was so rejected by my friends in the Body.  That’s a death to me.  Being removed from New Life Church is a death.  But I created the scenario that led to that.  It’s not as if that happened without my participation.  And so I am in that process right now, and it is very painful for the people that are around me, because I’ll say something with passion and the appearance that it’s a deeply held conviction but two hours later I don’t feel that way anymore.  It’s not instability, it’s a healthy process of getting where I need to be, but it requires a great deal of understanding and patience from those around me.

Ted went on to elaborate how both sides of the pendulum apply to his everyday life:

TED: Both [sides] are true in me.  I AM angry.  At myself and at people’s response to me.  And at the same time, a few hours later, I feel grief, sorrow, embarrassment and shame.  Then a few hours later I feel like everything is normal, and so I’ve got to work through that.

Witnessing this range of emotions during those three days, in which two were in person and one was via cell phone, left me with a feeling that I’d had a good look at the whole Ted Haggard.  A Ted Haggard we can all relate to.  A Ted Haggard that could be trusted.

In researching public response to Ted Haggard’s recent television appearances I’ve witnessed a wide range of reactions, from those who want to love and embrace him to those who are angry and hurt that a church leader did the things he did.  There have been times I’ve had to bite my cyber tongue, so to speak, keeping myself from participating in online discussions with those who I knew were basing their opinions on things that just aren’t true, according to Ted.  In one such example, a commenter wrote:

My issue is not with my hurt or betrayal…it is with the fact that he did not complete and submit himself to the leadership that was putting out his “restoration process.” He removed himself from it. That is where my issue lies.

I find it interesting how we humans can look at the same situations and see totally different things.  What I mean by that is this:  some of us just assume that when a large church releases a press release, it is reliable and can be trusted.  Others think, “they must be hiding something, ’cause that can’t be all of the story”.  I’ll admit, I assumed that when the new leadership of New Life, Ted Haggard’s former church, said that Ted and his family were being taken care of, were being led through a recovery and rehabilitation program, I believed them without question.  That inner cynic inside of me didn’t think for a second that things might not be as they seemed.  So when this topic was addressed in our conversations, and I received Ted’s side of the story, I was shocked and to this day don’t really know how to feel about it.

TED: For awhile there I was the handicapped partner, but I’m still a member of the family.  I think the idea of shunning, excommunication and exile should be revisited before it’s ever imposed on anybody else because it’s deeply threatening to the principles of the New Testament.

BILL (my Pastor, who was with me during this interview):  Were those formally pronounced upon you?

TED: Yeah, they were given to me in contract form.

BILL: Shunning?  Excommunication?

TED: They didn’t use those words.  But it was, “Could not communicate with people, with our old friends.”  And then, uh, the old friends were told that the Haggards were being taken care of in privacy so don’t communicate with them.

BILL: This from a team of …. ?

TED: From a leadership team that came in from the outside.  And so, then, that was put into contract form.  And the contracts were in perpetuity, although they allowed for every six months for portions of it to be revisited.  They could unilaterally add to or take from the contract.  So then I requested that they be adjusted.  And the first one, the one with the overseers and restorers was dropped after January… it was dropped during January of 2008.  Let’s see, yeah, January of 2008  and then the church’s contract was dropped in December of 2008.  You can check those dates on my website.  So it was a contractual exile.

DONNY: And is that where some of the bitterness has resulted from?

TED: Well, yes.  Well, I wouldn’t say bitterness, although I’m sure that’s an element.  I hope that’s not characteristic of me.  But that’s where my disillusionment has come from.  It has a variety of different emotional responses at different times.  I feel like I fought my sin.  There was never a time when I said, “I want to be this guy.”  I would say there was a part of me that wanted to be that guy, but the dominant me fought it, hated it, and it was a love-hate relationship. Compulsive sinning.  So I was at war with this thing.

(Donny’s note:  that kinda reminds me of The Message version of Paul’s struggle in Romans 7:14-25, part of which reads,  “I want to do good, but sin is there to trip me up!  I don’t want to do bad, but I do it anyway”)

TED: And so then, when it all came out, I lied a few days until I realized what was happening.  And then I would have liked for my spiritual family to have responded the way my biological family did.  My biological family was more violated than my spiritual family, but they responded like a family.  And I would have preferred my spiritual family responding that way as well.

DONNY: So how did your family respond?

TED: My biological family responded with, “We’re gonna talk and we’re gonna process this until we get it worked out.”  Marcus explained that on Larry King.  He said, “Look, we’re members of the same family and so we’re gonna get into a room and talk and work on it and fight and yell, or cry, or hug, or… whatever it took until we got it worked out.”  Which I think is the command of the New Testament.  But my spiritual family said, “Separation, silence, lack of communication… and maybe time will heal it.”  But there’s nothing in scripture that says that. My experience validates why scripture says, “Communication, get with one another, and all that type of thing. We’re a body.  You can’t have divisions amongst yourselves.”  All those exhortations.  And I think it’s because people have issues.  If they’re offended or hurt or wounded, the way I hurt… if you separate and go silent, the only thing that can happen is for it to get worse.    For a misunderstanding to occur… and we’ve resulted in a lot of misunderstandings because of lack of communication and increased mistrust.  The time has actually created increased mistrust with those folks, instead of healing.  When you have an uncle who you’re upset with… if you see him at weddings, see him at funerals, and see him at Christmas time, it eventually warms up again, you know?  Which is God’s plan for us.  God wants us to be one.

In our conversations, Ted revealed how one man on the restoration team spoke to him for an hour and a half in January of 2007, and then not again until January of 2009. That was difficult for me to process, because I remember being under the assumption that everything was being handled and Ted was being led through a healing and restoration process.

TED: Yeah… I became a leper.  If it wouldn’t have been for secular people rescuing me, my family and I would have been in horrible shape.  It was the secular world that rescued us, not the church.

Part of the contract he had to sign required that he and his family leave the state, and that he never acknowledge he’d even been a pastor at New Life Church – a 22 year gap in his resumé.  Ted’s disillusionment was further increased by the lack of contact during the last few years.  He says there were very few phone calls and very few emails.

TED: We didn’t hear from anybody.  And so we were, we were… It’s like a family that has a death.  Or a family that has somebody go through surgery.  There’s a time period where they need care.  They were healthy in the thirty years before.  They’ll be healthy in the thirty years after.  But there’s like a three week time period where they need care.  And if you care for them during that time then they remember that all the rest of their life.  Well I… what happened the last two years… two and a half years… I know who cared for me.  The Mormons gave us furniture, and secularists believed in my resurrection.  But church (leadership) was scared to death and continues, by and large, to be scared to death.

BILL: In my mind Ted Haggard has good pastors that have come around him and is… this is what I heard and what I thought was true.

TED: Yeah.  That’s what they said in the press.

But according to Ted, no such conditions existed.  Ted and his wife were left on their own to seek counseling, of which I look forward to telling you about later because, according to Ted, the counseling they found had tremendous positive results.

DONNY: So that is maybe why others outside weren’t doing anything?

TED: No question.

I won’t be doing justice to the tone of our conversation if I allow you to think it consisted entirely of discussion on how things were handled wrongly.  Ted was quite complimentary of many people, particularly the normal, everyday people of the church.

BILL: Has anybody from the church, from New Life, responded to you in a gracious way ?

TED: All the believers.  All the people of the church. We haven’t had one negative interpersonal experience with anybody there.  All of our negative experiences were with church leaders  (who were brought in from the outside).

My dear Constant Readers, it is very important to me that you remember the conversation piece I used to start this arcticle… that part where I mentioned Ted Haggard’s pendulum of emotions.  So far I’ve shared with you a portion of our hours together that leaned toward the more “upset” or perhaps “bitter/disappointed” part of the arc.  What I haven’t told you yet is that Ted and I talked on the phone not long after this, and he said he felt like he’d been too hard on the leaders of the church mentioned in this portion.  He doesn’t want to hold on to bitterness.  He wants to love them.  And although he doesn’t think it was handled anywhere close to correctly, he understands they had a very difficult job to do.

Can you imagine how hard it would be to remain silent for two years, reading and hearing discussion after discussion that didn’t contain all of the facts?  I am not sure I could bite my tongue for that amount of time.  In fact, I’m positive I could not.

As I conclude part one of this series, I’m relieved to have the most negative part of the article behind me.  It’s been quite difficult writing this part.  In the rest of this series I look forward to sharing with you more on how Ted’s family dealt with this problem.   I asked him how his children looked at him after hearing what he’d done, and the answer is something that I will never forget… an answer that I can honestly say will influence the way I raise my own son and change my entire life and outlook should I enter further levels of ministry.

I asked Ted to address hypocrisy: how could he stand on a platform and speak out against homosexual rights while secretly engaging in homosexual activities?  I asked Ted to share with me the path of healing he and his wife Gayle have been following:  What’s worked?  What hasn’t worked?  Is their marriage really better than ever?  What has he learned?  If he could go back in time, how  would he lead differently? I asked him why there have been new allegations that have emerged since that famous day: Why wasn’t everything addressed right there at the beginning?

You’re going to want to read his responses, as well as some of the other places our conversation led us.  Bookmark this blog and return.  Befriend me on twitter (or Facebook… or Myspace) and watch for updates.  If this interview has the same effect on you that it has had on me, your view of many things, even those in normal everyday life, will change.

THIS SERIES CONSISTS OF:

    1. Conversations with Ted Haggard – A Prelude
    2. Conversations with Ted Haggard – Part 1 (current article)
    3. Conversations with Ted Haggard – Part 2
    4. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts to share at some point in the future.  Bookmark this blog and return or befriend me on twitter, Facebook or Myspace and watch for updates

      Also See the Two Articles My Pastor Wrote About this Interview:

      1. Ted Haggard – Born Again Again?
      2. Which Is Worse? [Ted Haggard #2]

      20 thoughts on “Conversations with Ted Haggard (Part I)

      1. Great article Donny- honest and compassionate. I am glad to hear Ted’s thoughts and feelings after reading outside sources on this for so long. I am shocked and saddened at the actions of the outside leadership team. I believed, along with everyone else, that he and his family were receiving the best care and support possible for the situation. I am thankful that others came alongside and supported them.
        I am excited to read your other articles, especially concerning the family’s process of healing and their support of Ted. I am very glad you chose to follow your heart and write this in the way God has called you to- Ted and his family’s truth need to be heard. I hope many people read your words Donny. I will tell those I know. 🙂 Thank you. Val

      2. Great article Donny- honest and compassionate. I am glad to hear Ted’s thoughts and feelings after reading outside sources on this for so long. I am shocked and saddened at the actions of the outside leadership team. I believed, along with everyone else, that he and his family were receiving the best care and support possible for the situation. I am thankful that others came alongside and supported them.
        I am excited to read your other articles, especially concerning the family’s process of healing and their support of Ted. I am very glad you chose to follow your heart and write this in the way God has called you to- Ted and his family’s truth need to be heard. I hope many people read your words Donny. I will tell those I know. 🙂 Thank you. Val

      3. Donny – Nice job brother, Ted is an awesome man isn’t he!

        I too struggle with anger and resentment towards the church; it is a constant battle within me…the battle of good and evil in my mind.

        I continued to attend New Life Church for over a year after Ted left. I kept thinking, one of these days we are going to talk about this. Maybe when Ross Parsley (the interim pastor) gets settled in, but nothing…not a word about what had happened. Then I thought when Brady Boyd came in, now we will talk about what happened…but nothing.

        Living here in Colorado Springs I find very few New Life people with a heart of forgiveness. My wife and I were part of a couples Bible study group for almost a year, we had to quit three weeks ago. There were 10 couples, all from New Life except us (It was not a New Life sponsored group). Back in January Ann and I spoke about seeing the HBO Special; we were verbally attacked for even mentioning Ted’s name. We continued to talk about our contact with Ted and Gayle and this group continued to ostrasize us and tell us how wrong we were to even be communicating with him.

        Three weeks ago I stood my ground with this group and I asked for them to please sit down and watch the HBO special, to just listen to the “other side”. The group leader, whose home we met in, decided to go ask the pastor of New Life Church Small Groups if he thought it would be a good idea to watch the HBO special. This pastor told our group leader not to watch the video, he came back to the group and told them that New Life would not allow us to watch the video…THAT WAS THREE WEEKS AGO! Ann and I resigned from the group.

        My experience and it is MY EXPERIENCE has been that the best way to describe New Life church would be to open with the clip from the movie A Few Good Men…You can’t handle the Truth.

        This is a group of people who don’t want to read what the actual by-laws said about how the Overseers were to act and what they actually did. This is a group of people who do not want to hear that there was no restoration process. This is a group of people who do not want to watch the HBO special. This has been my experience.

        If you want to change the temperature in a room of Christians here in Colorado Springs, just mention Ted’s name, and you will feel the change in the room…it is palatable. And as long as I am alive I will continue to challenge every Christian I meet to look at what happened here.

        One thing many NLC people have said to my wife and I is “Why did Ted go to HBO to tell his story!!”. I ask the same question, only with a little different inflection in my voice…Why God, why must this family go to the secular media. Why God can’t we trust in you and sit down as a family? Why? Just as you said, you cannot have restoration without communication…it is what keeps divorce lawyers swamped with work.

        We love you Ted, Gayle and family…welcome back, welcome home…we missed you.

        Thanks again Donny, love you brother.

        Steve and Ann G

        • Steve and Ann G

          You just got on my list of heroes. But take it further. Continue your quest for true family in the family of God. Especially continue to love the folk who disagree with you. In their own way they are trying the best they know how. Thanks for not giving up on Ted, don’t give up on the church family that has been so wounded by this. Some of them will open their eyes.

          The questions you are asking are the right ones. You already know that. Families have trouble. They all have trouble. Determine to draw a circle that includes even those who exclude you.

          They drew a circle that put me out
          “Rebel!” “Heretic!” a thing to flout
          But love and I had the wit to win
          We drew a circle that took them in

          Someone put those words in my hand when I was being excluded. The advice worked wonders.

      4. Donny – Nice job brother, Ted is an awesome man isn’t he!

        I too struggle with anger and resentment towards the church; it is a constant battle within me…the battle of good and evil in my mind.

        I continued to attend New Life Church for over a year after Ted left. I kept thinking, one of these days we are going to talk about this. Maybe when Ross Parsley (the interim pastor) gets settled in, but nothing…not a word about what had happened. Then I thought when Brady Boyd came in, now we will talk about what happened…but nothing.

        Living here in Colorado Springs I find very few New Life people with a heart of forgiveness. My wife and I were part of a couples Bible study group for almost a year, we had to quit three weeks ago. There were 10 couples, all from New Life except us (It was not a New Life sponsored group). Back in January Ann and I spoke about seeing the HBO Special; we were verbally attacked for even mentioning Ted’s name. We continued to talk about our contact with Ted and Gayle and this group continued to ostrasize us and tell us how wrong we were to even be communicating with him.

        Three weeks ago I stood my ground with this group and I asked for them to please sit down and watch the HBO special, to just listen to the “other side”. The group leader, whose home we met in, decided to go ask the pastor of New Life Church Small Groups if he thought it would be a good idea to watch the HBO special. This pastor told our group leader not to watch the video, he came back to the group and told them that New Life would not allow us to watch the video…THAT WAS THREE WEEKS AGO! Ann and I resigned from the group.

        My experience and it is MY EXPERIENCE has been that the best way to describe New Life church would be to open with the clip from the movie A Few Good Men…You can’t handle the Truth.

        This is a group of people who don’t want to read what the actual by-laws said about how the Overseers were to act and what they actually did. This is a group of people who do not want to hear that there was no restoration process. This is a group of people who do not want to watch the HBO special. This has been my experience.

        If you want to change the temperature in a room of Christians here in Colorado Springs, just mention Ted’s name, and you will feel the change in the room…it is palatable. And as long as I am alive I will continue to challenge every Christian I meet to look at what happened here.

        One thing many NLC people have said to my wife and I is “Why did Ted go to HBO to tell his story!!”. I ask the same question, only with a little different inflection in my voice…Why God, why must this family go to the secular media. Why God can’t we trust in you and sit down as a family? Why? Just as you said, you cannot have restoration without communication…it is what keeps divorce lawyers swamped with work.

        We love you Ted, Gayle and family…welcome back, welcome home…we missed you.

        Thanks again Donny, love you brother.

        Steve and Ann G

        • Steve and Ann G

          You just got on my list of heroes. But take it further. Continue your quest for true family in the family of God. Especially continue to love the folk who disagree with you. In their own way they are trying the best they know how. Thanks for not giving up on Ted, don’t give up on the church family that has been so wounded by this. Some of them will open their eyes.

          The questions you are asking are the right ones. You already know that. Families have trouble. They all have trouble. Determine to draw a circle that includes even those who exclude you.

          They drew a circle that put me out
          “Rebel!” “Heretic!” a thing to flout
          But love and I had the wit to win
          We drew a circle that took them in

          Someone put those words in my hand when I was being excluded. The advice worked wonders.

      5. You’re such a tease!
        This is all I get to read today?!

        I really need to read the rest and soon because this hurts my heart. Three very dear friends of mine belong to this church and this kind of commentating only continues to fuel more division and angst among the believers there and around the world- in my opinion, of course.

        Yeah… I am sorry Ted feels like the secular world saved him and the believers turned their back when they exhibited what they considered to be church discipline by letting him go- but he’s right… his willful choices as a leader and someone who spoke out against the very things he was doing is what got everyone into this tangled mess.

        I emailed Ted (through his website) asking about Gayle, how she was, how she was coping, was she getting the support she needed and of course inviting her to P4P since this is what I do… minister to women who have been affected by the sexual sin of someone they love. My email went unanswered… I’m sure he gets a lot of mail.

        I look forward to reading more.
        -mt

      6. You’re such a tease!
        This is all I get to read today?!

        I really need to read the rest and soon because this hurts my heart. Three very dear friends of mine belong to this church and this kind of commentating only continues to fuel more division and angst among the believers there and around the world- in my opinion, of course.

        Yeah… I am sorry Ted feels like the secular world saved him and the believers turned their back when they exhibited what they considered to be church discipline by letting him go- but he’s right… his willful choices as a leader and someone who spoke out against the very things he was doing is what got everyone into this tangled mess.

        I emailed Ted (through his website) asking about Gayle, how she was, how she was coping, was she getting the support she needed and of course inviting her to P4P since this is what I do… minister to women who have been affected by the sexual sin of someone they love. My email went unanswered… I’m sure he gets a lot of mail.

        I look forward to reading more.
        -mt

      7. I’m really glad you did this interview. I didn’t know much about Ted Haggard until the big scandal broke. Then I felt really sad. I thought “another one bites the dust.” (Thinking of all the scandals in recent years.)
        What Ted did hurt a lot of people but my goodness, we all blow it and we all struggle with sin even after we are Christians, and that’s why we need each other’s help. We need to be able to talk to each other and not try to bury things under the rug and shun people who “failed.”
        I really believe God can bring good out of even this. I’m sure Ted feels sometimes like he wants to crawl in a hole and hide.
        I also sincerely think that what happened to him as a little boy (he talks about it in the Oprah interview) is a MAJOR cause of the struggle he has gone through all his life.
        I am just so glad his family stood by him, and I admire them greatly for it.

      8. I’m really glad you did this interview. I didn’t know much about Ted Haggard until the big scandal broke. Then I felt really sad. I thought “another one bites the dust.” (Thinking of all the scandals in recent years.)
        What Ted did hurt a lot of people but my goodness, we all blow it and we all struggle with sin even after we are Christians, and that’s why we need each other’s help. We need to be able to talk to each other and not try to bury things under the rug and shun people who “failed.”
        I really believe God can bring good out of even this. I’m sure Ted feels sometimes like he wants to crawl in a hole and hide.
        I also sincerely think that what happened to him as a little boy (he talks about it in the Oprah interview) is a MAJOR cause of the struggle he has gone through all his life.
        I am just so glad his family stood by him, and I admire them greatly for it.

      9. Ted & Gayle a personal friends of mine. Ted even did our wedding this past March.

        Thanks for writing an article allowing Ted’s side–and the TRUTH–to be told.

        I love New Life Church, but I would like for someone–anyone–to go to the Overseers and confront them on the way that Ted & Gayle were treated.

        The church blew it big-time.

      10. Ted & Gayle a personal friends of mine. Ted even did our wedding this past March.

        Thanks for writing an article allowing Ted’s side–and the TRUTH–to be told.

        I love New Life Church, but I would like for someone–anyone–to go to the Overseers and confront them on the way that Ted & Gayle were treated.

        The church blew it big-time.

      11. As Oliver Hardy might say, “It’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”

        These scandals are always messy. And painful.

        But what is most painful is the pathological failure of the Church to come up with a means of dealing with stumbling pastors and leaders.

        A very good friend of mine (he was best man at my wedding) was a pastor in an AoG church and was forced by his wife to file for divorce. He expected to be removed from his pulpit, but what hurt the most was once the news of his divorce and removal was announce HE NEVER HEARD FROM ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH AGAIN! And he had been the pastor of his church for more than three or four years.

        Not one congregant. Not one fellow pastor. Not one overseer ever called him or visited him or offered counsel to him in any way.

        His pain was deep. And now, nearly ten years later, he is only just beginning to re-establish a relationship with God, shaky though it is.

        Unfortunately we had lost touch with each other before these events and didn’t reconnect until six years after.

        We are all sinners, saved by grace. The church needs teams of “trauma surgeons” to be dispatched to treat cases like these. Even when the wounds are self-inflicted. Especially when the wounds are self-inflicted.

        But we’re afraid to. Especially with sexual sin. Why? It seems to me Christians feel the same terror at sins like adultery and homosexuality as the world reserves for convicted child molesters. We seem to not believe they can change.

        Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

      12. As Oliver Hardy might say, “It’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”

        These scandals are always messy. And painful.

        But what is most painful is the pathological failure of the Church to come up with a means of dealing with stumbling pastors and leaders.

        A very good friend of mine (he was best man at my wedding) was a pastor in an AoG church and was forced by his wife to file for divorce. He expected to be removed from his pulpit, but what hurt the most was once the news of his divorce and removal was announce HE NEVER HEARD FROM ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH AGAIN! And he had been the pastor of his church for more than three or four years.

        Not one congregant. Not one fellow pastor. Not one overseer ever called him or visited him or offered counsel to him in any way.

        His pain was deep. And now, nearly ten years later, he is only just beginning to re-establish a relationship with God, shaky though it is.

        Unfortunately we had lost touch with each other before these events and didn’t reconnect until six years after.

        We are all sinners, saved by grace. The church needs teams of “trauma surgeons” to be dispatched to treat cases like these. Even when the wounds are self-inflicted. Especially when the wounds are self-inflicted.

        But we’re afraid to. Especially with sexual sin. Why? It seems to me Christians feel the same terror at sins like adultery and homosexuality as the world reserves for convicted child molesters. We seem to not believe they can change.

        Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

      13. I have no sympathy for Ted. My four children’s faith in God was severely impacted by his actions. We went to New Life for many years. My kids were young teens when this all happened and have now walked away from the church. Ted, I know other young men you tormented and they have told me of the despicable things you did and said to them – things like God wants you to be his vessel for me – horrible stuff – of course New Life paid them to stay quiet. I don’t believe Ted or New Life has ever been fully truthful of the things he did. And now he wants all of us to forgive and forget. Forgive? Okay. Forget? Never. I wish he would just go into private life and remain there. He may think he’s helping people by speaking out, but really he’s just trying to shore up his image. I don’t believe a word out of his mouth, especially since I haven’t heard him ask for forgiveness for his young male victims or the children of the church who believed him with all their hearts. Their hearts were all broken and now Ted is profiting from TV specials, speaking engagements, and books all about his poor ordeal and being resurrected. He disgusts me.

        • Nikki, are you saying Ted Haggard committed crimes against children? Why has no one said anything about this? Why haven’t the parents brought charges against him? Do you have proof New Life paid off victims? Such an action is a crime. It’s called witness tampering. You are making some serious charges, Nikki. I’d like to know your proof.

          Even if you kids were only propositioned, as you appear to be claiming, that is also a crime.

          You say your children are away from the church? That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Away from the church can mean closer to God. It depends on their hearts.

          Please tell us your evidence for your charges.

      14. I have no sympathy for Ted. My four children’s faith in God was severely impacted by his actions. We went to New Life for many years. My kids were young teens when this all happened and have now walked away from the church. Ted, I know other young men you tormented and they have told me of the despicable things you did and said to them – things like God wants you to be his vessel for me – horrible stuff – of course New Life paid them to stay quiet. I don’t believe Ted or New Life has ever been fully truthful of the things he did. And now he wants all of us to forgive and forget. Forgive? Okay. Forget? Never. I wish he would just go into private life and remain there. He may think he’s helping people by speaking out, but really he’s just trying to shore up his image. I don’t believe a word out of his mouth, especially since I haven’t heard him ask for forgiveness for his young male victims or the children of the church who believed him with all their hearts. Their hearts were all broken and now Ted is profiting from TV specials, speaking engagements, and books all about his poor ordeal and being resurrected. He disgusts me.

        • Nikki, are you saying Ted Haggard committed crimes against children? Why has no one said anything about this? Why haven’t the parents brought charges against him? Do you have proof New Life paid off victims? Such an action is a crime. It’s called witness tampering. You are making some serious charges, Nikki. I’d like to know your proof.

          Even if you kids were only propositioned, as you appear to be claiming, that is also a crime.

          You say your children are away from the church? That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Away from the church can mean closer to God. It depends on their hearts.

          Please tell us your evidence for your charges.

      15. Nikki… You’re wrong.

      16. Nikki… You’re wrong.

      Leave a Reply

      Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

      WordPress.com Logo

      You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

      Google photo

      You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

      Twitter picture

      You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

      Facebook photo

      You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

      Connecting to %s

      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.