Where Jesus Showed Up in the Haggard Mess

I confess that the Haggard business threw me a bit.  No, not a bit.  A good deal.  The whole ex-gay movement gets such a beating from both Christians and gays that some days you begin to wonder if you’re the only one swimming upstream.

So when the Haggard thing happened, I wondered where Jesus was in all of this mess.  “Father,” I prayed, “This…this is such a blow by the enemy.  Everyone thinks that we’re hypocrites instead of a people relying on you in the middle of our own weakness.  How is this going to look to the men and women who are struggling with the same sex attractions?  How is any of this going to call people to YOU???”

Stupid, stupid, faithless me.  Of course Jesus was going to show up in this.  He showed up where He loves to show up: in His church.

Read this, then the comments below the fold:

http://test.denverpost.com/ci_5107908

Things that struck me:

Just about every person who offered him a handshake said the same thing: Welcome, thank you and God bless.

Interesting, isn’t it, that after such a close encounter with a man struggling with homosexual thoughts and feelings, that a church’s heart begins to change toward those who are saddled with this sin.  For some reason, gay people are “witnessed to” by Christians who tell them that they are going to hell in a handbasket and that God burned down Sodom and Gomorrah and the same fate awaits them and by the way there’s a seat here in the back just for you.

But the life of someone known affected.  The brokenness that is part of the gay life.  Witness that and all of a sudden the stereotypes we cling to change when the situation becomes real and personal.  It doesn’t change the fact that the gay person IS going to Hell if they don’t repent of that sin and turn to Christ for healing and wholeness, but when love, forgiveness and grace rises to replace the heated disrespect that we show gay people, we give them something to repent to: a Jesus that is ready, willing, and able to forgive us for it all.

All the more reason those of us who are on this path toward reorientation, healing and forgiveness need to be courageous enough to become known, to share our struggles, and to light the way for those who have yet to figure out that a life with the burdens associated with that brokenness is no real life at all.

Haggard, in an apology to the church, had urged members to forgive and thank Jones for exposing deceit.

That’s incredible to hear from someone who’s been disgraced and humbled as Haggard has.  With all the equivocation of one’s sin that goes on these days, confession, repentance and restoration has become a priority for not only Haggard, but for his church as well.  See?  More Jesus in the middle.

Jones had been invited to New Life several times by church members since Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was fired from the church after admitting in November to “sexual immorality.”

Invited?!?!?  How New Testament of them!  I think it’s at this point where I started to tear up a little bit.

But Jones – who came forward out of anger toward Haggard’s political stances against homosexuality – said he wasn’t impressed on the whole. If the Gospel message is enough, he said, why the loud music and MTV-quality production?

“There seems to be something missing, some realism, in my opinion, because it’s so vast, like some kind of self-contained city,” said Jones, who said he was raised Methodist but is estranged from organized religion.

A vast self-contained city that made sure Mike met Jesus there that morning.  If it’s the trappings of a culturally relevant church service that blinds him, I’m sure that Jesus will be working through His people to show Mike a true picture of God’s love for him.  Ignore the view screens, slick video and emo worship bands.  Look at the people at this church and see Jesus through the work He’s done in His people.  Then you’ll begin to see a reason for re-considering God’s offer to you.

All in all, a lesson that God knows what He’s doing, and that while we wait, we should be faithful and pray for those involved.

Thank you Father God.  Thank You.

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~ by WriterRand on January 29, 2007.

2 Responses to “Where Jesus Showed Up in the Haggard Mess”

  1. Praise Jesus.

    How rare it is for a secular newspaper to write an article about a church that doesn’t make me cringe.

    I was fascinated by this line, however: “If the Gospel message is enough, he said, why the loud music and MTV-quality production?” I find it amusing that the very person that the church is trying to reach with said worldliness saw right through it — indeed, if a visitor is to see anything meaningful at a church, it will be the Gospel alone.

    Yes, thank the Father that the Gospel is on display in the people of New Life Church.

  2. Yes, I thank God that there really are Christians who do show the love of Christ and reach out to homosexuals. Sadly there are too many Christians with, as you said, “the heated disrespect that we show gay people”. I urge anyone gay who encounters this disrespect to keep looking. They will surely find some people in any genuine church who will love them as Christ commanded.

    For my part, I will seek to keep demonstrating Christian love and respect to gays while sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Also, I will encourage other Christians to do the same and correct them when they don’t.

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