The list of Christian leaders who have fallen because of a sex scandal is too, too long. Today we add another name: Ted Haggard. Haggard is a nationally prominent figure, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and a leader against same-sex marriage. He also is pastor of New Life Church in Colorado, a megachurch.

The accusations come from a male prostitute who works as an "escort." He claims a three-year relationship, including sex and methamphetamine use. Haggard has admitted to buying meth, but claims he never used it; and admits to receiving a massage from the accuser, but not sex. He has resigned from the presidency of the NAE and is on adminstrative leave from his church. See this article.

Forget about the timing of the accusations. Since I have trouble believing in terrific coincidences, I suspect the accusations were timed to impact the elections, especially the same-sex marriage issues on the ballot. But that is not the important issue. The truth and integrity of the Christian ministry is the more important issue.

Haggard's claims so far sound much too lawyerly to me, rather than truly Christian contrition. He admits to the massage but not to sex: what was he thinking when he hired an escort and had a massage? He admits to buying meth but not to using it: again, what was he thinking when he bought it? Brother Haggard, you've done damage. Come clean publicly because you are a public figure; then, after repenting, leave the public eye and your big church. Go work in a Rescue Mission, Soup Kitchen, or some other non-glorious place.

Why do we have these scandals regularly? And why do we have so many, more even than make the national press? (thoughts below)

I am no expert, but have read some and thought some about this issue, being a Christian minister myself. I will speak about men, since most of the problems seem to be with male pastors.

First, successful pastors of megachurches often have psychological issues and/or character issues that predispose them to problems. These men usually are risk takers, needing adrenaline to get them through life. They need the next big project that may succeed wildly, or crash their ministry to the ground: a building project, a media project, a ministry project, etc. They have a real inability to live with status quo. This characteristic has led to their success, but, their need for the rush, the adrenaline, combined with their anxiety/depression when things are status quo for too long, render them susceptible to the lure of illicit excitment.

Second, many ministers, not just of megachurches, are needy. They need affirmation--like me, love me. This drive to gain affection can lead to intense and often successful activity in ministry. The bigger the congregation you can build the more people who show up to love you on Sunday morning. But, a strong drive to be loved again makes this person susceptible to the lure of illicit sex.

Third, the pastoral role itself can lead to depression and anxiety. There is conflict in the job, and frustrations, but the cultural constrains of the church can prevent the pastor expressing his anger and frustration. He is supposed to be nice and upbeat. This can lead to malaise, tension, even depression. And, he has CEO-like responsibilities, especially in a mega-church situation, but not CEO-like powers: the congregation is a voluntary association. This can lead to anxiety or depression. Pastors need diversions, but golf or fishing just do not do it for some guys.

Fourth, many pastors are isolated and lonely. Everyone needs a peer group. Everyone needs friends. But, pastors spend most of their time with their congregations. Real friendship with members is difficult: be too cozy with the Joneses and the Adamses will gossip that you are building a ruling clique. Pastors need the friendship of other pastors, but that can be a difficult relationship to build. And, the real peer group for the pastor of a mega-church would be the pastors of other mega-churches who can understand his situation. But, how many mega-church pastors are there close-by. And, these guys are often competative, not necessarily good friendship material.

Fifth, pastors have power, and the larger the church the more power. And power is attractive. And, pastors tend to be empathetic, more so than the average man. A male pastor can be attractive to women, and I suppose to gay men.

Sixth, on a spiritual level. The devil tries real hard to bring down the leaders, knowing the damage that can be done thereby.