Monday, February 2, 2009

Come Monday...The Trials of Ted Haggard

“Come Monday…” is a weekly series that will involve a review of websites, movies, documentaries, television shows, sports, music, and whatever else may tickle my fancy at the time. Be assured that these reviews will be generally positive, as in accordance to the Jimmy Buffett song “Come Monday.” This is subject to change, however. In fact, I would be most derelict in my duties to neglect going on a rant every once in a while. For rants promote change, and change can be good—right? Therefore, since good is generally considered as being a positive force in 99.3% of the parallel universes that I am aware of, even a rant could be considered as being something positive, and a genuine hissy-fit would be even better (so I'm told).

[The Trials of Ted Haggard] is another HBO documentary by [Alexandra Pelosi], which is [currently airing], and this is not first one featuring “Pastor Ted.” For he played a prominent role in her [Friends of God], which first aired in 2007.

It is a very different story this time around, however. For in Friends of God, Reverend Haggard was the President of the 30 million strong [National Association of Evangelicals] and the pastor of [New Life Church], which is a megachurch that he founded in Colorado Springs, CO. Whereas in The Trials of Ted Haggard, he is shown disgraced after he [confessed] to engaging in homosexual activity and buying methamphetamines.

I must confess that preachers like Reverend Haggard was pose a great stumbling-block for me. For I am instructed to take, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” {Luke 23:34 KJV} to heart, but my hatred for what they are doing often carries the day.

A good example of what I am talking about can be found in the performance by Reverend Haggard in [Jesus Camp], which is a [Magnolia Pictures] documentary by [Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady]. For aside from the way he acted in front of his congregation and the subsequent personal interview, when he met Levi, who was all of 12 years old at the time, the conversation went something like this:
Levi, “Hi. How are you doing?”
Pastor Ted, “What’s your name?”
Levi, “My name’s Levi.”
Pastor Ted, “Hi, Levi. My name is Ted Haggard. I’m the senior pastor here.”
Levi, (Laugh) “I guessed.”
Pastor Ted, “You figured that out?”
Levi, (Laugh) “Yeah.”
Pastor Ted, “Oh, you do some preaching?”
Levi, “Yeah, I preach.”
Pastor Ted, “What’s your favorite subject?”
Levi, “My favorite subject? I like faith.”
Pastor Ted, “Well, that’s fabulous.”
Levi, “Yeah, I like faith.”
Pastor Ted, “So, do people like hearing you preach?”
Levi, “It seems everybody pays attention more.”
Pastor Ted, “Is it your content or is it because you are a kid?”
Levi, “I don’t know.”
Pastor Ted, “Yeah. Well, you’ll know when you are 30. I say, use your cute kid thing until you’re 30, and then you’ll have your content.”

You can judge for yourself. The part with Pastor Ted begins at 1:03:46 and ends on 1:08:51 of the film, but I would highly recommend paying close attention to the entire production. Just brace yourself.

No, I did not like what I saw in Jesus Camp, and I’m not talking about just the part with Reverend Haggard, neither. For those children were being led down a very destructive path.

Perhaps Reverend Haggard was already well aware of this when he met Levi, but this does not excuse his attitude towards him. For he should have said something much more encouraging, like, “Please hang in there, and the Lord will continue to mold you into what He wants you to be,” instead of dismissing him as being nothing more than a kid. After all, was not the Prophet Jeremiah merely a child when our Heavenly Father first gave him what he wanted him to proclaim in His name {Jeremiah 1:4-10}, and was not Christ Jesus the same age as Levi when he sat with the teachers in the temple and taught them {Luke 2:41-52}? Furthermore, it is written: At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” {Matthew 11:25-26 NIV}

Nonetheless, this does not excuse my own attitude towards the way Reverend Haggard was, and there is certainly no excuse for the way he was treated by the Christian community, especially in his own church, after he confessed to commiting immorality. For instead of forgiving him for his failures, and seeking to help him be restored into full fellowship with our Heavenly Father (even in the way they see such), they permantly banished him from not only his own church, but from the entire state of Colorado, as well.

Alas, is it not no wonder that more and more have become more and more inclined to think that there may very well be a monkey or two hanging from our family trees? For who would want to believe that we were created by the God who approved of the actions of the New Life overseers and others just like them?

Even as hard as that is to take, the hardest part about The Trials of Ted Haggard for me is seeing that he has still not “found” our Heavenly Father in a very close and personal way. For he has been arguably crushed harder than I was because he lost more than I ever dared to dream about, and yet he still clings to what he used to preach.

Yes, most will undoubtedly recoil at how judgmental I sound, but be assured that there is a big difference between knowing about our Heavenly Father and actually knowing Him. For it is written: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” {Matthew 7:21-23 NIV}

No, there is not a doubt in my mind that Reverend Haggard has called out to our Heavenly Father, and asked Him to draw him ever closer. For this has been revealed to me, and I have been assured that his plea has been answered in the same way as mine was.

The trouble is that what our Heavenly Father has been revealing to Reverend Haggard is still unacceptable to him because of how contrary it is to his own beliefs. For if what he is being given now is right, much (if not most) of what he had been preaching all of those years was wrong, and that is a very bitter pill to swallow. So, he would rather believe that all of those crazy thoughts in his head really are just that.

Okay, my plea was not necessarily the same as Reverend Haggard’s. For I was actually offering myself to the devil in exchange for certain favors when the Lord God Almighty Himself made Himself real to me, but you should get the point. Hopefully, Reverend Haggard will get what he is being shown before too much longer.


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  2. Thank you so very much--especially for calling attention to what our Heavenly Father is accomplishing in and through you, my dear Rajeev!!! For I was very impressed your post about Reverend Haggard, and I hope many come to think long and hard on what He has given you say.


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