2/25/2008

The Bishop's Daughter: Interview with Honor Moore

The New Yorker online has a wonderful interview with Honor Moore who has a new book on her father, Bishop Paul Moore. You can find it by going HERE. The interview is well worth the hearing, and in the boil-up that the book and the excerpt in the New Yorker of March 3rd will cause, it will be well worth listening again to Honor Moore's tender words about her father.

Susan Russell, over at "An Inch at a Time" has a blog entry titled, "Heterosexuality is not normal," the title taken from a banner in a photo she posts. The banner says, "Heterosexuality is not normal, its just common." She writes about the death of Lawrence King, the taunting and gay bashing that goes on in schools, and the opportunity for the Episcopal Church to be a place of full inclusion - no killings, no taunting, no exclusion.

The Paul Moore story will be out there and I wager that there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in some parts of Anglican Land., but he will deserve better.

Perhaps there will be a time when we will finally give up on the idea that being heterosexual or homosexual is not an either/ or even a both / and sort of thing. It may be common to say a person is heterosexual or homosexual, but it may be more to the point to say that we are all sexual and sensual and that is about who we are, as a whole person, and being beat up about that or ostracized or shamed does not help anyone get a better grip on being a fully whole human being, saved or obedient to the Word of God.


I am reading William Stringfellow's little book, "The Politics of Spirituality" ( Wipf and Stock Publishers). In it he says this, "...whatever else may be affirmed about a spirituality which has biblical precedent and style, spiritual maturity or spiritual fulfillment necessarily involves the whole person - body, mind, soul, place, replationships - in connection with the whole creation throughout the era of time. Biblical spirituality encompasses the whole person in the totality of existence in this world, not some fragment or scrap or incident of a person. This book has no other aim than to commend, thus, the efficacy of the Incarnation." We too need to be about commending the efficacy of the Incarnation.

The whole Paul Moore, just like the whole of any of us, deserves attention because the Word of God, as opposed to the scraps of this or that translation of this or that bit of holy writ, requires that we place persons precisely where we place the Lord Jesus Christ - in the center - where they command attention as the possible and sometimes quite necessary presence of God among us.

7 comments:

RB said...

Mark, I honestly cannot make any sense of this essay. You keep referring to the Bible, but you never specify wherein.

Do the wives of Paul Moore, whom he wronged, deserve the same attention you believe the bishop merits? Since Bishop Moore now occupies the same place Jesus should (and God, presumably), can the church no longer say, "Thou shalt not commit adultery?" Does this command prevent us from becoming fully whole human beings? Who gets to define what this is: the latest pop-psychology, or the Christian faith?

I honestly believe that it would be better to recognize Bishop Moore as a sinner in need of God's mercy, the same as the rest of us. Such actions are not to be explained away and excused, but confessed and forgiven. Bishop Moore was a good man who did wrong. He wasn't the first, and won't be the last. Isn't that enough?

Anonymous said...

I know I should applaud Honor Moore for outing her father in this way. But it seems to me the New Yorker would never consider publishing a profile of such an apparently respected, broad-minded, and giving Christian leader unless it gave them another chance to suggest that Christianity is essentially hypocritical even at its best. The profile of C. S. Lewis by Adam Gopnick in the New Yorker last year revealed a similar nearly obsessive preoccupation with a man's private sexual life (in this case, his fantasies)---in that article, all praise served as a rhetorical cloak for the essential purpose: a kind of snickering character assassination of a brilliant and complex man the author never had an interest in really understanding. The two articles are different in many many ways, as are their subjects, but they both do a great deal to obscure the question of what makes someone able to inspire and move others to change their lives and perhaps even help the poor and the downtrodden. Isn't this what really matters, and what is most threatening to those who care only for appearances and fashion?

seamus said...

Unlike the previous poster your comments help us understand the nature of divine forgiveness, justice and mercy. Who is to say that the hurt(sin) caused by Paul Moore did not allow a greater compassion towards homosexuals. Would that Mr. Haggert had acted so out of his sin. (The biblical setting of God doing good from evil is found with Joesph and his brothers or more central to our faith- the crucifiction and resurrection).
It is indeed our spiritual wholeness out of our brokeness that permits "the good not to be interred with our bones" and before the sight of God our sins are washed away. Is this not redemption?

Cheri said...

Thank you for this sensitive article on the beautiful tribute to her beloved father by Honor Moore.

I do weep for the wives and children though, I do, we all must...they did deserve better as well, just as Paul Moore will deserve better from those who would play God now and judge him harshly...let's not judge Paul, but let's learn from this: gay, bi, whatever....if we feel these sexual feelings, and we all do, then let us have the courage to say so before the wife (and we all know countless such wives) develop fatal diseases and the children commit suicide. Let's learn from Paul Moore's death and subsequent unveiling by his honorable daugher, just as we learned from him while he was a vital, beloved and marvelous deacon, priest and bishop...and we did.

No matter which side of the aisle we hide in, and we all do, let's wander out into the territory of the nave, into the world, without fear, without judgment from one another.

It's OK to be gay, bi, lesbian, transgender...science tells us is it is perfectly, biologically natural; and we know these days we should be listening to the findings of pure science more than ever. People are gay. They just are.

Let's also encourage ourselves to speak honestly with our spouses and children before sicknesses and self-loathing do take hold in the family...if someone's made a mistake and they need to attend to that mistake, if they're gay and they find they truly are, then let them say so. Let's pray for one another now that Paul Moore's life has been revealed....let that revelation spark others not to be so uncourageous in this day and age.

I happen not to believe that in 1965 Paul Moore could not have opened up to his wife and said he was unhappy...but it would have taken tremendous courage and counselling....the world may not have been ready, who really knows?

Today's world is ready, and no matter who disagrees or agrees, it's a moot point if there are those wandering the ghostly lives of imprisonment due to the fear of judgment and reprisal.

We all know of the cancer victims and suicidal teens and others who have fallen victim to silence rather than openness and truth. Let's pray for courage in the wake of this revelation, and let's give one another courage to be ourselves and to allow families and spouses that same freedom. Thanks for this excellent forum.

Anonymous said...

Seamus - I think you will find that redemption is not for the excusing of sins.

Pls see Romans 6:1 with regard to what is an appropriate response to God's grace. (It is not to take advantage of it in order to justify sin....that is a perversion of grace)


Anyone who deceives his wife (or wives) and children is not fit to be a bishop......according to God, that is.
http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=titus+1%3A7-9

The controversial ordinations conducted by Moore look different if they were the actions of a man with integrity rather than those of a man who was compromised and not fit to be a leader in the church given his adultery, breaking of vows under God to his wife. Again - maybe some posters here know better but God has always been keen on leaders with integrity and when people fail, he has always required repentance (see Psalm 51) and not the attempted justifiction of sinning.

But, if God's standards are no longer what counts, then Moore was a great guy in terms of his social jusice stance....but God's standards do count in the church (including most of the Anglican Communion)

Maybe Moore should have been a Democratic Senator rather than a bishop......God has not set out such rigourous standards for political activists as he has for church leaders.....but as I said, maybe some posters here know better than God.

Gilbert Cantlin said...

What is so common in these comments from "good" Christians is the awful ignorance about sexuality, the understanding of the horrors of closeted living that good, straight Christians force upon good, gay Christians, and their nasty, mean-spirited, unchristian utterances about the good Christian Paul Moore!

Gilbert Cantlin

elena said...

Hello Mark, I linked to this post today at my blog:
http://elenabella.blogspot.com
I've mentioned Honor Moore's book there a couple of times. Thanks for your blog: this is a very interesting discussion.