As most have probably seen, Rev. Haggard is in the news again. For fun, go type his name into the news section of google.com. You’ll find all sorts of news stories and satire. And of course everyone is picking up on the claim made that he is completely heterosexual, that his prior behaviors were only acting out and not evidence that he was gay–something he discovered during an intensive 3 week psychological treatment.
Some of my thoughts:
1. Not clear that Ted is saying he is now completely heterosexual, but a pastor who is talking to the media. Not sure I trust a pastor who is talking to the media about something that ought to be private and confidential. And how could he not know how something like this would be perceived by the media and general population. Does this guy not know how foolish something like that sounds. Even if it is true, it doesn’ really explain anything away. It is just not necessary to make this kind of statement from a biblical perspective. I can only see that someone would say this to try to distance Ted from same sex attraction.
2. Sexual desire and arousal are more fluid than we would like to admit. There are plenty of studies that seem to suggest that people become aroused by sexual images that they say disgust them. further, sexual orientation and identity are things that are formed by years of shaping and being shaped (private assumptions, social pressures, gender identity, sexual experiences, values, etc.). It is possible to find out that one’s identity is tied up with heterosexual social constructs and yet aroused and seeking homosexual experiences. Both church and culture seem to reject this idea and both support the either/or mentality.
3. While I’m sure the 3 weeks of intensive counseling was powerful, you really can’t accomplish 3 years of counseling and growth in 3 weeks. You might have lots of conversations and broach many subjects that would normally take weeks to get to in once-a-week therapy, but growth rarely works that way. Insights might come faster, but change? And actually, Ted’s email suggests he is not done and has only just become the growth process. Good. I hope he really believes that!
4. On-line psychology courses? I’m a purist here. In my not so humble opinion, you can’t learn counseling skills and techniques through on-line course work. Further, I just can’t imagine someone used to being in the limelight being satisfied with private counseling. Maybe they plan to be motivational speakers…