First off, I have to get this out of the way. I love Ted Haggard. It wasn't always this way. But since the whole brouhaha in November, I have had serious feelings of love and affection for this man. He loves God. He struggles. He messes things up. What's not to love, exactly?
That being said, I am seriously disappointed with this man I love -- in Christian love, both the agape and philial varieties -- because of his supposed three week turnaround from confused sexual being to raging heterosexual. You heard me right: Ted Haggard says he's completely hetero after three weeks of counseling. Restoration, indeed! Hallelujah!
Except not. Another disclaimer: in this post I will not argue the point that counseling a body/mind from homosexuality to heterosexuality is/is not possible. Instead I'll defer to the Kinsey scale and chalk up Haggard's behavior to the distinct probability that he lies within the 80% of the population that is neither exclusively straight or exclusively gay. Using that logic, it's absurd to force the man to pick a side and draw up battle lines. Let Haggard be Haggard. And not either Will Truman or Magnum P.I. There's some middle ground here that we ought not to ignore.
The Haggard camp doesn't see it that way. And that's a sad fact. One of the pastors who oversaw Haggard "recovery" had this to say: "He is completely heterosexual. That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."
So according to Haggard's boys, his dalliance with Mike Jones was "acting-out." In other words, his gay-ness wasn't 24/7; it was a outlet he pursued to deal with certain problems. No word on what those problems were -- the drug habit is a good guess (though Haggard never admitted to using), and marital problems could be implied from the statement, too. But in the end it doesn't matter. Because it's not true.
Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic Online points out the tragedy of it all -- that Haggard, in denying his bisexual tendencies, is only making himself sicker. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. This doesn't mean that Ted has to have sex with guys to fulfill himself as a human being. No. What it does mean is this: Haggard needs to admit to himself that he likes guys on occasion, and that it's part of him that won't ever go away. But because of his beliefs, he will deny that urge and focus his energies elsewhere. It's the same thing millions of Christians do every year during the season of Lent. It's the same thing priests (well, most of them) and nuns have done for centuries. It's the same thing a married man does when he sees a good-looking woman that isn't his wife. It's done every day. That doesn't make it easy. But it does make it possible.
By refusing to accept the truth, and claiming he's 100% all woman-lovin', Haggard only makes it harder on himself to move on and minister to others. Hopefully, he comes to his senses and realizes that no amount of calling an oak tree a fire hydrant makes it a fire hydrant. Yet no matter what, I'll keep on loving him. Because my love for Haggard is agape, and my affection is hesed. And it doesn't go away because he's a toolbag.