This was a hurtful time for many evangelicals as it was like watching one of their kings fall. He also majorly condemned homosexuals from to pulpit. That added insult to injury.
The talk we thought was going to be on forgiveness, the church coming around leaders who are broken, Christians not shooting our wounded, and not putting leaders up on a pedestal. It turned into more of talk on why Ted thought he deserved a second chance by the public. He reasoning was ok, but it wasn't the message people wanted the hear. They wanted to hear him apologize. Which I don't think he needed to do. It does start an interesting conversation about the understating of sin in leadership. Which is a great dialogue to have and I'm glad that this opened up a way to have that talk. Dealing with brokenness in leadership is something that is very timely in Youth Forum and I think most ministries
Then the wheels flew of the wagon:
Only a few blocks from convention center, a Tennessee Titans football game was beginning, as part of the game, some serious jets were doing a flyby and they flew directly overhead. It shook the convention center and was disruptive to Ted who was speaking. He paused and said something to the effect of “I hope this building doesn’t get hit by a plane of angry muslims”, I think he even said something about “ohh, there is the second plane” as well. We kind of all did a collective gasp, at this point, it would have been wise to take a step back and apologize for a dumb comment, that is not even close to what happened. Ted then said “I’d be mad too if I had to wake up at 5am to pray.”
That was one of the those "did that just really happen?" moments. How hurtful. Many times from the stage the message of destroying the us vrs them environment was preached that that week. It was awkward silence and he made a joke. I get that. I make jokes too, sometimes inappropriate ones. Every once in a while into a microphone. Yet what needs to happen is an apology, right after. Just get it over with. It was clear that something was wrong as 1/3 of the arena got up and left. Yet, nothing. You're up on stage asking for people to move on and let you lead again and you can't apologize for a mistake you made right then and there. Scary.
It opens up a few new conversations.
How to you love people like that? This is someone I'd be dang close to calling my enemy, and Jesus is clear, you need to love your enemies. However, Jesus often said he didn't time to deal with people who can't realize their brokeness. I don't know, this is a good conversation to have.
Is their a spot for them in leadership? Who decides? We know everyone is broken, but when your personal sin is being dealt with publicly does it change the game? Should it?
And it comes around to the full circle to the original conversation of holding broken people (read everyone) on pedestals and dealing with sin in leadership.
At the next session, Tic Long the moderator for the convention, apologized for not making space for an apology and the whole situation. It was classy and well done. I do tip my hat to youth specialties for that part. I hope that it doesn't tarnish their great reputation, because I think the way they've handled it has been Christlike and biblical.
So... Those conversations are what I'm kicking around in my head.