There is great wisdom, of course, in not short-circuiting the restoration process, but I wonder if there is a better, more compassionate path to wholeness.
Several years ago, a dear friend experienced experienced moral failure, and was removed from his congregation. They put him through a punitive process of discipline which he honestly tried to embrace for a while, but like Ted Haggard, stepped away from it before the disciplinarians thought he was ready.
He ended up starting a non-denominational church in the same city -- and, quite frankly, for the last decade, has done a splendid job serving the Lord, extending His compassion and grace to those broken by sin.
The Haggard article also reminded me of the time I spent an evening with the great prayer warrior, Wesley Duewel. He invited me to join in his prayer time, and I was impressed with the multitude of Christian leaders on his intercession list. He prayed for them all out loud -- by name.
Dr. Duewel came to Leith Anderson and stopped to talk with me about him.
"That good man carries such an enormous load as he leads the National Association of Evangelicals."
"Yeah," I responded, "especially after what happened with his predecessor."
He looked puzzled.
"You know. . . Haggard"
He still looked puzzled.
"Surely you remember. . . the big scandal?"
Then Dr. Duewel smiled and said, "Oh yes. . . I had put that completely out of my memory."
And at that moment, I wished I had done the same.