Saturday, November 04, 2006

New Life Church Acts!

Good for them! New Life Church in Colorado Springs has dismissed its founding pastor, Ron Haggard, for "immoral conduct". They must be very sad, and I don't blame them. Haggard has been their shepherd for twenty years, but he has been proved to be someone they really didn't know very well at all. They have found out a key truth that Christians must keep in mind at all times - that the church is not a person, nor a building, nor even a rigid theology. Rather, the church is a whole bunch of individuals striving for a relationship with a God who says "my thoughts are not your thoughts". Even pastors do not have the same thoughts as God, much as they would like to convince their congregations otherwise.

Hopefully the Haggard mess will trigger the evangelical movement to become a bit less pastor-centered and a bit more open to the Jesus of the gospels. That Jesus was not enamored with big temples and self-righteous religious leaders, and he did not preach the gospel of success in this world. That Jesus commended praying in secret and said that the poor will inherit the kingdom of God. That Jesus died on a cross, rejecting power and prestige in this world.

As far as I'm concerned, Warren Buffett in his little house and old car and cheap suits is far more of a minister than every TV pastor who looks as though he or she stepped out of a fashion magazine. Warren Buffett has lived right and given his riches to the poorest and most needy of our world, while the TV pastors ask you to live right and give your riches to them!

Ex-reverend Haggard, I pray that the humiliation of this experience will help you renew your striving for God and give you a new heart for the poor and the fallen. I sincerely hope that you have not accumulated wealth and possessions that will keep you from being the servant you were called to be. Your story is not over yet.

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