Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ted Haggard on the True Meaning of Christianity

Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, has an interview with Harper's Magazine. In it, he has some things to say about the Ukraine:

Kiev is, in fact, home to Europe’s largest evangelical church, and over the last dozen years the Ukrainian evangelical population has grown more than tenfold, from 250,000 to 3 million. According to Ted, it was this army of Christian capitalists that took to the streets. “They’re pro-free markets, they’re pro-private property,” he said. “That’s what evangelical stands for.” (italics mine)
Well silly me, I thought evangelical stood for sharing the good news of Christ. But I guess what it really means is being a proponent of capitalism. More reading:

In Pastor Ted’s book Dog Training, Fly Fishing, & Sharing Christ in the 21st Century, he describes the church he thinks good Christians want. “I want my finances in order, my kids trained, and my wife to love life. I want good friends who are a delight and who provide protection for my family and me should life become difficult someday . . . I don’t want surprises, scandals, or secrets . . . I want stability and, at the same time, steady, forward movement. I want the church to help me live life well, not exhaust me with endless ‘worthwhile’ projects.” By “worthwhile projects” Ted means building funds and soup kitchens alike. It’s not that he opposes these; it’s just that he is sick of hearing about them and believes that other Christians are, too. He knows that for Christianity to prosper in the free market, it needs more than “moral values”—it needs customer value.

For Pastor Ted, being a Christian is about 'customer value.' It needs to 'prosper in the free market.' It's all about 'stability.' And let's not forget that many Christians are sick of soup kitchens. Dammit, those hungry homeless people are getting in the way of my building a stock portfolio. Jesus would be appalled at their dragging me down the way they do. Discipleship isn't supposed to be difficult, after all.

I'm glad that's cleared up.