Monday, November 06, 2006

thank you ted haggard!

i know, strange title, but i am so grateful that what is spilling out over this mess is a dialog about pastors, christians, evangelicals and their views on sex, power and sexual addictions. we are all talking about it now.

i am horrified at some of the responses i am reading though. i am learning so much about people's theology and what they believe about sex, god and women. i think you can learn more about people when they talk about sex and money than when they talk about church and jesus.

i think that's why the bible spends so much time on these issues. they show the heart and soul of a person more clearly than hiding behind flowery church-talk.

if i can introduce anything into the dialog it would be this:


please understand this people.

alcoholics aren't really thirsty people.

alcoholism isn't about alcohol.

drug addiction isn't about drugs.

and sexual addiction isn't about sex.

hotel rooms and fat preachers wives aren't the reason that pastors stumble into sin.

addiction, especially the sexual type happens when there are broken parts of the past that have injured the body, soul and spirit of the addict. masturbation, pornography and acting out sexually feeds those broken areas in a counterfeit way that masks what we truly want and can't seem to find a way to achieve.

true intimacy and wholeness sexually would fill and replace the need for this acting out behavior, but because so very few of us have the ability or help to navigate this, we settle for the counterfeit and it becomes the fix.

blaming other things and people for our brokenness is NO WAY to find healing. owning our junk, confessing to god, to ourselves and another human being is THE ONLY WAY we can break through the shame we carry so that we can find the healing and wholeness we all long to have in our lives.

i have a precious son (i also have a precious daughter, we're just not navigating this area right now in her life yet) who has awakened to the opposite sex. he was shown pornography a couple of months ago by a friend and since that time we have been dialogging about it.

this morning he awoke and found me at the computer, reading about the ted haggard story, and said "mom, i'm having a hard time when i see someone not thinking about them without any clothes on" (he is so honest and real, i respect this child-like innocence he brings to this so much).

first i prayed for wisdom. and then i reminded him about what we have been talking about for the past couple of months. this is about building muscles. spiritual muscles, that will help him navigate this journey called growing up. we talked about 'taking every thought captive', and that temptation isn't a sin. those pictures will pop into his head for the rest of his life. learning to set them aside and see that person as real and an image-bearer, instead of reducing them to a 2 dimensional picture or image. this is what will help him navigate this.

i reminded him that i must do this. daddy must do this. and pink must do this. all for ourselves. it's not something we can do for each other. it is our responsibility to learn, stretch and grow.

it is a very sad thing to hear of someone, with much influence, reducing women to ornaments and add-ons to their lives. it makes me weep. i would ask that we would each use what influence we are given to speak out loudly against this. it is theology like this that feeds the broken kingdom that cannot truly minister the love of god.

"There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life," Haggard wrote.
how much more powerful would it have been to his congregation if he had started HERE and not ended HERE?

how much light and life could have been brought into the life of his congregation if he had admitted how hard it was to live his life? love his wife? parent his children? how much more could people have learned from him if he lived transparently - free of the shame and owning his junk instead of the portrayal of the shiny plastic christian with no problems and free of struggle?

if we confess our sins one to another, pray for each other, we will be healed.

james 5:16


anj said...

Something that I have been thinking for quite a while is how impossible it is, in our culture, for a paid pastor to be in a relationship of equals with those in 'their' churches. And so while I agree with the spirit of your post, I am beginning to doubt that it is possible, as long as we fashion our churches in a hierarchial way. And in this culture payment will mostly always mean hierarchy. And, IMHO, hierarchy will mostly always lead to masks. Unequal relationships is a key component of dysfunctional relationships.

I am also sorry for the loss of your sons innocence in the area of pornagraphy. We went through that a few years ago with our sons, and it is difficult to talk and process through. I will you, and yours, in the Light for Wisdom.

Love to you -

Anonymous said...

You are a sage woman. Your insight comes from being willing to hold a mirror in one hand and a magnifying glass in another. You look inward with the mirror and up-close with the glass.

You have it right when you say talking about "money and sex" reveals people. From the blogs you've mentioned some should be having "CRAP! You really believe that?!" conversations.

Where's the "Ted really let himself go - so his wife wasn't interested and he had to pay for it." blog?

Break_n_free said...

I agree the word says we perish for lack of knowledge.

The curch and the world in general due not understand the the nature of sex addiction.

If anyone is interested in learning how to minister to sex addicts I know of a great organization that puts on seminars.

Daybreak Counseling Service Presents: Understanding Sexual Addiction

(Spouses, Clergy, Therapists, Employers)

December 12th, 13th, 14th 6:00pm-8:30pm

Van Nuys, California
$75 per night

Chris H said...


Brave words and I thank you for them. It is truly sad when preachers begin to communicate what they wish the Bible said or what they think the bible ought to be saying, which restates your point regarding how we speak about sex and money speaks volumes about how we feel about the church and Jesus.

You experience grace in ways that few allow themselves to. Please do keep sharing that perspective. You consistently encourage me .

Erin said...

Look west... you will see me standing and cheering. I'd whistle too, if I knew how. I am grieved by this whole mess too, but honestly girl, I can't get past what a fine piece of writing this is.

Keep speaking Truth. Again, and again, and again...

Heather said...

Bobbie, thanks so much for a breath of fresh air in this whole mess. I find myself just sad, sad for so many things. I cannot imagine what the Haggard family is going through right now, and I pray that we can all show them a little love and compassion, things that might have allowed all this to see the light of day much sooner, in a much healthier way.

Trudging said...

Three cheers Bobbie. You are right, sexual addiction isn't about sex. I don't like Haggard's politics but, the hell he is in right now...well I cannot imagine. I have been praying for him.

Deb said...

Your insight on addiction is SO helpful to me. Thank you for always being willing to write about "tough" things.

I think it's exeptional that your son is able to be honest and tell you what he struggles with. So, so healthy!!

Anonymous said...

I applaud your candid and truthfilled response. I think that this is a perfect opportunity for us to see how much God loves Ted Haggard. I have heard some of the prophesies on Ted's life and those prophesies still stand. My prayer for Ted is that God will lead him into His arms of love and whisper to those places of brokenness. Only his blood heals and restores. Only his blood has the power to break the addictions in all of our lives...I believe the LORD allowed this because he is after ALL of us...even those places none of us want to go to, and most of the time we don't even know they are there but as Holy Spirit illuminates then the healing begins and it always means taking that old crusty scab off and allowing the blood to come is painful...but it is the process of wholeness...

I believe Ted Haggard has a call on his life that is incredible...we all do and to fulfill our destiny we must walk through the hidden and the denied...Praise God. I pray for Godfilled people to surround Ted right now so he can tangibly see the love of Christ. The last thing any of us need is a religious structure telling us what we ought to do, that only brings death...unfortunately so many of our churches instead of being love/life filled are only filled with religious death. I say death to the religious way of thinking...I cry out for Life and FREEDOM!

Jon Trott said...

Thank you SO much for that bit about "fat pastors' wives." If I hear one more guy whine that his sexual addictions are due to his wife "not keeping herself up" I think I'll scream. I am a man. I have a high libido. My wife is (by her own standards) overweight. And I desire every ounce of her! If I lust, that is MY problem, thank you very much, and certainly NOT my wife's problem.

If my wife sexually refused me (and by refusal, I mean capriciously shutting me off over a long period, not just one night), then she would be sinning against me. Clearly. But even then, if I sin via lust, that sin belongs to ME.

And, uh, guys... women struggle with lust, too. How about a long whine from wives whose husbands struggle with weight issues (or baldness! Hahahahahha!) and just don't appear as sexy as they were once? Heck, let's have a blame-fest where everyone ignores their own issues while blame-shifting their lusts and sexual failures on somone else.

It is, after all, the American way. And blaming women, heck... that's been the way of the Church on and off nearly since its inception.

Guess I had a rant in there I needed to let out... (smile).

Jon Trott