Idol Chatter

If you watch the news, read the paper or log onto Beliefnet for news, you’ve heard about Colorado’s Rev. Ted Haggard and his indiscretions. My heart goes out to him, his family, his congregation, and his friends, some of whom I know.

From a media points of view, Rev. Haggard’s news is, well, news. But I don’t think it rises to the level that some in the media–including some of our own–have taken it. One example is David Kuo, who writes a religio-political blog (or is it politigeous blog?) for Beliefnet and has a current book on the New York Times best seller list.

“At the end of the day, this comes down to bringing Jesus into politics,” Kuo writes. “Right now, it’s not Ted Haggard on trial. It’s Jesus. This is about the God he represents. When you make yourself a public figure and you fall, you bring the perception of your God with you.”

While that may be the case personally for David, I categorically disagree with him in terms of the public dialogue about spirituality in our culture–especially how it plays out on TV.

The Bible is full of God’s leaders who’ve failed personally and morally. Hebrews 11 names several Biblical leaders of faith–including Moses, Abraham, Noah, and others whose names you probably recognize but whose sins you may not know of. Their names are thought of in culture as something like God’s “Hall of Fame,” but they all qualify for God’s “Hall of Shame!” Most Christians know that God is the only One who is perfect. The rest of us walk with him–and enter heaven–by faith which starts with His grace.

For David Kuo or anyone to say that somehow Jesus is “on trial” because a religio-public leader has fallen misses the point, I think. Ted Haggard’s story represents a tragic illustration of the spiritual truth that has existed since Adam and Eve: We are all human, we all come up short, we all miss the mark, and we all can be grateful for the grace of God which is greater than our imperfections and shortcomings.

From a media or cultural point of view–and please forgive me if this sounds insensitive–Rev. Haggard’s story is just this week’s piece of the news cycle, which knocked Mr. Kerry and his bad joke out of it and which will be replaced by Tuesday’s elections. Far more important is the fact that Rev. Haggard deserves our prayers as he journeys through recovery and restoration, because the spiritual journey before each of us–and it’s ramifications–will last for eternity. Current events will quickly (and literally) become yesterday’s news.

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