Recently, the adult children of two prophetic Christian leaders revealed more about their deceased parents' lives than many of us wished to know. One of the prophetic voices was the late Paul Moore, the Episcopal bishop of New York who led that denomination's shift from the Tory Party at prayer to the spiritual vanguard of progressive politics. The other was the late Francis Schaeffer, whose impassioned appeals moved American evangelicals from thinking that fighting abortion was a Catholic issue to embracing it as their defining political cause.
Writing in The New Yorker, Bishop Moore's daughter, poet Honor Moore, tells us that the bishop was a distant father to his nine children and an unsatisfying lover to his wife. Only after his death did she discover that his affections had been lavished outside their family on a long-term gay lover. And, in his book Crazy for God, activist and artist Frank Schaeffer is less kind to his parents than Moore is to hers. He unveils his family's inner dynamics in order to offer a mea culpa for manipulating his father into shilling for the Religious Right. In CT's sister magazine Books & Culture, Schaeffer intimate Os Guinness called the book "a death-dealing charge of hypocrisy and insincerity at the very heart of their life and work."
What does it mean to honor one's father and mother in this therapeutic age of the self?
Justification by Freud
Hardly anyone buys the gospel according to Freud anymore, but the notion is culturally entrenched that our families shape our ends, that our parents' lack of affection for us or each other explains our struggles and excuses our failures. The struggles of our stunted selves we inevitably connect to childhood emotional malnutrition.
The Bible knows nothing ...1
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