I’m going to start posting stories about the unexpected times and places I’ve been touched by God. Often, I get a glimpse of God’s grace as I talk to persons on the streets of New Orleans. The language is often rough, but what I learn is sometimes profound. I’ll warn you. I use the languase with only a f*w alterations. If you are easily offended or don’t like street language please just stay away!
Story 1: Feeling a Bit Haggard
Haggardâ€”having a worn or emaciated appearance. The definition of the term is the complete opposite of the image I remembered of Ted Haggard. He was, in my view, the archetype of an Evangelical preacher. Good looking, squeaky-clean with great hair.
Recent events had tarnished that image and I felt that the term â€œhaggardâ€ could now accurately describe the man who was formerly the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of New Life Church, a 14,000 member mega-church in Colorado Springs. My heart was heavy that morning as I headed for work. It seems that when major Christian figures fail, lots of folks love to kick them they are down. Especially someone like Haggard. He was a well-known opponent of gay marriage who had been exposed as having a homosexual affair and using an illegal drug. He had resigned his presidency and his position as senior pastor of New Life Church. He had seemingly lost it all.
Conservative Christians have negatively impacted my life so I wanted to poke fun at Haggard too, but I couldnâ€™t. I knew how much the admission would impact his family, friends, and church family so I couldnâ€™t be â€œhappyâ€ about his fall.
As I parked my car across the street from the residential substance abuse center where I work, I noticed a small dog. The ugliest little dog Iâ€™ve ever seen. He seemed to fit in with his surroundings. The place I work as a case manager is in a very poor neighborhood in New Orleans. Most of the houses surrounding the building have not been repaired since Hurricane Katrina. Many are abandoned and still have not had the moldy contents removed.
As I got out of my car, I noticed the owner of the nappy little creature. She looked like a drug addict. Yeah, like a crack whore. She had on a dirty tank top and really short shorts.
â€œCome here baby,â€ she said as she made loud kissing noises. Our eyes met and I froze. I needed to speak, but nothing came to mind. Then quickly I said, â€œNice collar.â€
The nappy little dog had a black leather collar with bright blue rhinestones. It was the best I could do. She smiled and said, â€œYeah, I know heâ€™s an ugly son of a b*tch. God love him.â€
I struggled again. â€œWell, I bet he keeps the cats away.â€ Cats are everywhere in the neighborhood. They feast upon the countless mice and rats that seem to be everywhere.
â€œNo baby, he ainâ€™t worth a sh*t. He donâ€™t even bark at the rats. Theyâ€™ll walk right up on my porch and he donâ€™t even move. Heâ€™s a worthless m*ther f*cker. God love him. Come here baby, mommaâ€™s gonna get you some breakfast.â€
â€œHave a good day! Donâ€™t let the rats eat you buddy.â€ I turned and went to work. I wondered if Ted Haggard was thinking that he was an ugly s*n of a b*tch that morning. I smiled. Itâ€™s good to know that even though we think we might not be worth a sh*t and we might be worthless m*ther f*ckers, thereâ€™s a God out there who cares for us more than we can know. A God who thinks weâ€™re special and takes care of us anyway.
Ted Haggard. God love him.