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    Ted Haggard’s New Church:  Open to Gays, Straights…

    Ted Haggard’s New Church:  Open to Gays, Straights…

    Well, I kinda pegged this one last week... Ted Haggard's launch party for his new St. James Church happened last week.  A few interesting observations about the first service...

    1.  According to media reports, only 160 people attended the first service of this new church.  That's with nation-wide media coverage that it was going to happen; and in a town that is nearly the evangelical mecca of the United States.  Seems like a whole bunch of people just don't care about Ted these days.  Even an LA PR firm wasn't able to drum up a crowd. 

    2.  People that were there:  a production company that was filming the whole thing for a documentary; and a gay couple (that was recruited from CraigsList), one of whom who shared what an inspiration Ted was.

    3.  When asked whether he feels homosexuality is a sin, Haggard told CNN's Joy Behar:  "Sexuality, no matter which grouping, is complex. It's confusing and some people have healthy sexuality, other people have unhealthy sexuality. They're on their own journeys with God. They've got to work that out. And what we're going to do at St. James Church is encourage them in their process to get that settled in their life."

    4.  Here's a bit from an article on Beliefnet:

    Haggard's new church will embrace an open-door philosophy that could raise eyebrows among some evangelicals. The former evangelical icon has said he supports equal civil rights for gays and lesbians, even though he will bar openly homosexual members from leadership positions.

    "Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those who go to Tea Party rallies. If you are straight, gay, or bi, I want to walk through the Scriptures with you," Haggard said at the press conference that launched the new church.

    "If you are black, white, Hispanic, Native American, or a confusing combination, you are welcome here. If you have a friend or family member who struggles, St. James is for you. Adulterers, ex-cons, everyone is welcome."

    With the restriction on gays in leadership, Joe and Jan Narracci were left a little disappointed. "This church is making qualifications that I don't think Jesus made," said Joe Narracci, who with his wife counsels gay and lesbian Christians who struggle to reconcile their faith with their sexual orientation.

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    1. Daniel Davis on Wed, June 09, 2010

      such a sad situation…

    2. CS on Wed, June 09, 2010

      Wait, did I just hear this?

      “I don’t justify my moral authority.  I don’t know for sure that I’d go to my own church.”

      Hey, everybody.  Take Haggard’s own wisdom.  Don’t attend his church.


    3. Peter Hamm on Wed, June 09, 2010

      On one hand, I applaud his welcoming anyone who comes in while telling people who are openly living in a non-biblical-marriage sexual relationship that they won’t be able to serve in leadership.

      On the other hand, I think he’s trying to play both sides of the argument, and will fail with both.

      If he actually preaches what the Bible says about marriage and sexuality (and yes, you can do that without offending people necessarily who are outside those bounds), that will be one thing. If he decides to not make it a big pulpit issue, I applaud that. If he’s actually just preparing to soften that stance to that which our modern Anglican brothers and sisters have, that’s another.

      In any case, as CS has pointed out, and I agree, the man is not qualified to pastor this church.

    4. Lori on Thu, June 10, 2010

      While I think this is so wrong for so many reasons, the least of which is he is doing it a stone’s throw from New Life, I’d like to make one point of correction.

      This was supposed to be a launch/focus meeting and not the first official “worship service” even though it evolved into one.  Haggard has announced that the first official, public worship service will be June 20.  I will be interested to see how many show up for that event and if it is more than the 160 that attended last Sunday.

      Todd, you were right on the announcement.  Using the words of the PR firm, I found his announcement neither “groundbreaking” nor “surprising”.

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