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February 6, 2007

Lo, a miracle!

Praise the Lord, Pastor Ted is cured—100% not gay. Still seems to be a liar, though:

The Rev. Ted Haggard emerged from three weeks of intensive counseling convinced he is “completely heterosexual” and told an oversight board that his sexual contact with men was limited to his accuser.
That is according to one of the disgraced pastor’s overseers, who on Monday revealed new details about where Haggard has been and where he is headed.
The Rev. Tim Ralph of Larkspur also said the four-man over-
sight board strongly urged Haggard to go into secular work instead of Christian ministry if Haggard and his wife follow through on plans to earn master’s degrees in psychology.
Haggard broke a three-month silence in e-mails over the weekend to select members of his former church. New Life Church interim senior pastor Ross Parsley for-
warded Haggard’s message to the wider church body Monday.
In the message, Haggard revealed that he and his wife, Gayle, intend to leave Colorado Springs and pursue master’s degrees through online courses.
Haggard mentioned Missouri and Iowa as possible destinations. Another oversight board member, the Rev. Mike Ware of Westminster, said the group recommended the move out of town, and the Haggards agreed.

Translation: the oversight board is running Haggard out of town—and out of religion.

… Haggard, 50, resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was fired from the church he built from nothing into a 14,000-member congregation after a former male prostitute in Denver alleged a three-year cash-for-sex relationship.
… Ralph said three weeks of counseling at an undisclosed Arizona treatment center helped Haggard immensely and left Haggard sure of one thing.
“He is completely heterosexual,” Ralph said. “That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn’t a constant thing.”

Whatever all that means.

In investigating Haggard’s assertion that his extramarital sexual contact was limited to former male escort Mike Jones, the board talked to people close to Haggard and found no evidence contradicting him, Ralph said.
“If we’re going to be proved wrong, somebody else is going to come forward, and that usually happens really quickly,” he said. “We’re into this thing over 90 days, and it hasn’t happened.”
… What has been termed Haggard’s “restoration” is being overseen by another panel: H.B. London, who runs a Focus on the Family ministry to pastors, and megachurch pastors Tommy Barnett and Jack Hayford.
London said he was not surprised Haggard was considering the psychological field.
“Many of us that go into the healing, helping professions do so out of some sort of dysfunction or traumatic event in our lives, and we want to do what we can to help other people avoid what we’ve gone through,” he said. “He is certainly gifted and intelligent and has an intuitive side to him. And he has life experience. Those are good credentials.”

Click here to read Harper’s great 2005 article on Pastor Ted and the 100%-not-gay leaders of his World Prayer Team.

The full text of Haggard’s email is after the jump:

Jesus is starting to put me back together. I have spent so much time in repentance, brokenness, hurt and sorrow for the things I’ve done and the negative impact my actions have had on others. That sadness continues as my family and I, along with so many others, go through the painful consequences of my actions. Jesus and his followers, though, have saved my life. As part of New Life’s efforts to help me, they sent Gayle and me to Phoenix for a three-week psychological intensive that gave us three years worth of analysis and treatment. We all wanted to know why I developed such incongruity in my life. Thankfully, with the tools we gained there, along with the powerful way God has been illuminating His Word and the Holy Spirit has been convicting and healing me, we now have growing understanding which is giving me some hope for a future.
Gayle and I have decided to move from Colorado Springs to go back to school. We love Colorado Springs so much, and will always regard the believers at New Life Church as family, but we have to go in order to let the church determine its own course and for us to retrain. We haven't decided where we are moving but so far have been offered two places, one in Iowa and one in Missouri. We are both planning on getting our masters in Psychology so we can work together serving others the rest of our lives. Since we are taking our classes on-line, we can live anywhere that’s affordable. Then we’ll travel to location for short in-class requirements.
Thank you so much for your love and prayers during this horrific time of transition in our lives. For the last three months, I’ve not been communicative because I’ve been paralyzed by shame. But as God and people like you forgive me, the sun is starting to rise in my life. I look forward to communicating with greater ease.
God bless,
Ted Haggard
“We are Easter People.”

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