COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP)–Having been “paralyzed by shame” since news of his involvement with a male prostitute surfaced in November, Ted Haggard emerged from three weeks of intense psychological treatment with an e-mail to members of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where he formerly served as pastor, Feb. 5.
“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,” Haggard said of the treatment he and his wife received in Phoenix.
Tim Ralph, a member of the four-man board of overseers charged with guiding Haggard toward restoration, told The Denver Post that Haggard’s homosexual behavior with a male prostitute named Mike Jones was not a lifelong pattern.
“He is completely heterosexual,” Ralph, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in Larkspur, Colo., said. “That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn’t a constant thing.”
Haggard, 50, told the board that the only extramarital sexual contact he had was with Jones, and Ralph said several people close to Haggard found no contradicting evidence, The Post reported Feb. 6.
“If we’re going to be proved wrong, somebody else is going to come forward, and that usually happens really quickly,” Ralph said. “We’re into this thing over 90 days, and it hasn’t happened.”
Ralph said Haggard continues to receive Christian counseling twice a week, and the board of overseers has advised the Haggards to relocate from Colorado Springs in order to continue the healing process. They also advised him to begin a 12-step program for sexual addiction, The Post reported.
“This is a good place for Ted,” Mike Ware, an overseer from Victory Church in Denver, told The Post. “It’s hard to heal in Colorado Springs right now. It’s like an open wound. He needs to get somewhere he can get the wound healed.”
In his e-mail to church members, which was published by The Colorado Springs Gazette Feb. 5, Haggard described the aftermath of the public revelation of his immoral behavior.
“Jesus is starting to put me back together,” Haggard wrote. “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.”
Haggard said “the sun is starting to rise” in his life, and he hopes to communicate with greater ease following a period when he was “paralyzed by shame.” He also said he and his wife Gayle have decided to leave Colorado Springs so that they won’t hinder the progress of New Life Church and so that the couple can “retrain.”
“We haven’t decided where we are moving but so far have been offered two places, one in Iowa and one in Missouri,” Haggard wrote. “We are both planning on getting our masters in Psychology so we can work together serving others the rest of our lives.”
The board of overseers also reportedly recommended that Haggard go into secular work rather than returning to Christian ministry. Rob Brendle, associate pastor for New Life Church, told The Gazette that Haggard’s restoration process could take years and is “not aimed at returning Ted to ministry but rather to holiness and wholeness.”
H.B. London, a member of a restoration committee appointed by New Life’s board of overseers, told The Post that Haggard could have a positive future as a psychologist.
“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,” London, vice president of pastoral ministries at Focus on the Family, said. “He is certainly gifted and intelligent and has an intuitive side to him. And he has life experience. Those are good credentials.”
Compiled by Erin Roach.