It's sad. It seems we want people to fail. I think we, as a society, get a certain joy out of watching people crash and burn. Especially, we media types and those who eat up what the media has to say. It's absolutely scintillating to watch someone fall from lofty heights into defeat, it seems. Maybe that's because it's about watching someone, other than ourselves, fail - while in many of our cases, our failures are not broadcast among the millions. So we can sit back, watch and say with a certain order of relief, "Look at that fool," or "How horrible," or "What a disgace." See the link to the above article about Ted Haggard.
But even more so, I think we as a society like to watch the pious fall, as if we "knew" all along that someone who seems to be a follower of Christ, like Ted Haggard, head of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of a 14,000-member church, accused of gay sex, could not stay on his pedestal for long. We don't like people on pedestals unless they're sports heros or actors or talk show hosts who seem to give away their millions to the poor for no reason at all - like our coveted Oprah. But rest assured, if we could find a scandal in the armpits of even Oprah's wings, we would just as soon knock her off and break her legs in the process than help and wonder what in the world happened.
We just like watching people fall, I think, even more than we like to be the recipients of their money and good fortune. It's more fun to say, "I told you so," than to look at ourselves and say, "But by the grace of God, I go."
Even still, Haggard's alleged indiscretions, if true, are nothing to simply shake off. These types of scandals mangle the average Christ followers chances of reaching someone for the "kingdom now" philosophy. But, I imagine if those like Haggard were living true "kingdom now" lives, these types of scandals would be avoided.
"Kingdom now" living, if you're not familiar with it, is NOT looking at Christianity as if it's some sort of fire insurance or a way of telling others "I'm going to heaven to live with God someday, and you're not."
Living "kingdom now," means that we, as emissaries of Christ, bring heaven to Earth now by living as Christ would have lived. If we Christ followers always lived with the idea of living "kingdom now" a lot less hell would be evident on Earth, it seems to me.
Actions like Haggard's, if they are true, crush a little more the idea of heaven on Earth. Less people want to be Christ followers, with suspected Christ followers doing the types of things Haggard is accused of. Who wants to be a hypocrit - Christ, himself, said these are the worst kind.
That said, true Christ followers must continue on in the sometimes quiet and sometimes unnoticeable ways they always have, to bring heaven to Earth - taking care of the sick, taking care of the poor, hungry, naked and homeless. And in their own little pockets of the world bringing the kingdom now, bringing peace now, bringing hope now, bringing love, patience, longsuffering, joy, etc., etc. now. And when the lofty fall, "kingdom now" living shakes it's head, says a little prayer and continues on in it's quiet and mostly unnoticeable tasks and in ways that continue to bring a little bit of heaven to the here and now.
"But by the grace of God, go I."