Friday, November 03, 2006

A Haggard Haggard

UPDATE: Ted Haggard's letter of confession, read at yesterday's services. ...Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa – "Through my own fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault..."

In news greeted with shock and, by not a few persons, unsuppressed glee, Rev. Ted Haggard has resigned as president of the massive National Association of Evangelicals. Now, after completing its own investigation, New Life Church has removed Rev. Haggard as Pastor.

The church should be applauded for taking quick action, given Haggard's admitted behavior.

Now I find myself reflecting on this passage from scripture:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.
(Luke 18:9-14 NRSV : In Greek)
I have three questions:

First, to those who openly admit happiness at today's news: Can Rev. Ted Haggard be said to be the Pharisee, or the tax collector, in this parable?

Second, given your own reaction to the news, would you classify yourself as a Pharisee or tax collector?

Third, are you sure?

[New Life Church press release (PDF)]

Airport Security

Having just run the airport security gauntlet twice in as many days, I found this video to be quite funny.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In San Francisco

I'm in the city after my annual check-up with my Presbytery's committee on preparation. All is well, and the cafe au lait is delish.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Preemptive Grieving

My good friend David writes:
I feel another kind of sick. It may be difficult to describe, understand, or respond to... but I have had this sinking feeling for the past semester or so. This feeling is attached to my relationship with my cohorts (students at the seminary) and especially within my entering class. Over the past year, as we have taken more electives and less of the core curriculum classes--we have seen less of each other. We seem to be a less cohesive group. We are following our individual calls more (as it should be) and preparing to leave the seminary for parts unknown. There is anxiety entering into this secluded seminary environment... who will find a call, who won't, who will keep in touch, who will abandon the ministry, who will burn out, who will bloom, who will be spirit led and spirit fed?
I share my friend's anxiety. Much of it can be explained by what David wrote, but I also suspect that some the "separateness" that has intruded in our relationships is not entirely the result of conflicting academic schedules, but also a natural result of an unconscious awareness that many of our close temporal relationships will, despite our best efforts, die. Now, I hope this does not happen, but many seminarians have previously experienced the death of multiple relationships as a result of moving into lives of ordained service to the church. We know what it's like to see relationships die, and I wonder if symptoms of separateness are somehow a preemptive, protective response?

In any event, David encourages us to pray for one another. Hear, hear! But let's also celebrate together, hard, before we leave this place. Communion in the Body of Christ ultimately means that none of our relationships will stay dead. We have, after all, the hope of a new heaven and new earth, with renewed relationships girded up by Christ's love for us.