The Contagion of Jesus

Moore, Sebastian
Darton, Longman & Todd (2007)
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Sebastian Moore has developed almost all of his theology in sermons and short talks and so, to make a coherent whole of his challenging theology, his editor, Stephen McCarthy, has sequenced his work, interpolating it with some of his verse and providing appendices of more verse and Sebastian's notes on "Focusing", a Christian equivalent of Zen Buddhism.

On the whole, this book works as well as it can but there are some repetitions and some maddeningly cryptic remarks which bear almost interminable contemplation.

Put simply, and that is always dangerous in theology, Moore's case is that we were created with "Desire" which is: Love trying to happen"; in other words, the Protestant ethic based on the basic corruption of humanity is totally misplaced and is, he says, attributable to the horrendous error of St. Augustine who, in my words, transferred his personal experience of youthful sexual excess into a universal ethic which has affected/infected The Roman Catholic Church, with a small period of enlightenment when St. Thomas Aquinas held sway, until today, given added impetus by the Reformation. Moore says that we need to concentrate on God and not godliness and he effectively uses the example of St. Paul.

Relationship is at the heart of Moore's theology which is built on the ground of his understanding of the Trinity as a working relationship, a verb rather than a noun. For me, the most illuminating insight was his interpretation of the Resurrection by the Apostles as, to use my paraphrase, the power of The Spirit giving birth to their incarnational perception. Not surprisingly he then goes on to discuss the relationship of the Virgin Mary to The Holy Spirit in plangently erotic terms.

Most readers will no doubt be interested in how he argues for same sex relationships from the perspective of "Natural Law" which, he thinks, is better equipped to come to terms with them than Protestantism based on The Bible which is always subject to cultural interference.

The passage I liked most but understood least was the importance he places on Jesus giving himself as bread rather than the Priest 'turning' the bread into Jesus. That one, suggestive phrase, makes the whole struggle worthwhile but there is much, much more to challenge and delight.