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8/16/2005

MEET STANLEY HAUERWAS

From time to time, when there's nothing interesting enough about my life to journal for others, I'd like to introduce you to great minds and lives that have in some way impacted my own. Today: Stanley Hauerwas.

This introduction is from The Progressive...

"As a theological ethicist, Duke University Divinity School professor, and as a writer cruising through his forties and fifties, Stanley Hauerwas enjoyed the twin blessings of personal achievement and professional obscurity. Then, in 2001, the assessors of talent at Time magazine declared him "America's best theologian." Oprah Winfrey gave him air time. Invitations to talk, exhort, and entertain poured in.

Hauerwas, a Texan who speaks in the twangy cadences of Jim Hightower and is as adept with the barbs and jibes, guffaws when recalling the praise from Time: 'Best is not a theological category! Faithful or unfaithful are the right categories. The last thing in the world I'd want to be is the best.' "

Hauerwas is full of quotable quips that provoke us to anger and holiness. Here are a few that have made me think:

"I do not have a foreign policy. I have something better--a church constituted by people who would rather die than kill."

(On the movement he calls religious conservatism) "Christianity is defended not so much because it is true, but because it reinforces the `American way of life.' Such movements are thus unable to contemplate that there might be irresolvable tensions between being Christian and being `a good American.' "

"Generally, I think the strongest argument against pacifism is it’s immoral. Namely, we abandon the innocent who should be protected. Just war is committed to believing that you cannot commit an evil that a good may come. You cannot bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s better for more people to die on the beaches of Japan than to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That’s murder. So we are people, those committed to just war and non-violence equally, who often have to watch the innocent die for our convictions."

"The problem with capitalism is it makes us wealthy, and being wealthy is not a very good thing for Christians to be, if we believe the Gospels."

To read more about Hauerwas check out this list of links.

Got thoughts? Post a comment below or discuss on my message-board.

7 Comments:

Blogger Lane said...

I love Hauerwas. I read "A Community of Character" and "Resident Aliens" (written with William Willimon, another great mind in the church today) in college and it changed my life.

I love Hauerwas because he doesn't try and solve the problems of the church and faith with circular rhetoric or glossed over interpretations. He uses "hard words", which really, are Jesus's words, which makes them that much harder.

Thanks for promoting such good stuff here. Good use of space!

8/16/2005  
Blogger Kathryn said...

well from that quote sampler, i would read his books. . thanx.

8/16/2005  
Anonymous keith said...

I saw Dr. Hauerwas a few years ago in a debate with a prominent Southern Baptist leader at a seminary not far from Duke University. They were discussing a topic in one of his books that, if I remember correctly, dealt with how Scripture is read and who should be reading it. During the Q&A at the end of the debate, Dr. Hauerwas fielded most of the night's questions, which came from conservative seminary students trying to probe his beliefs on the most fundamental tenets of Christianity. Aside from feeling sorry for him as he showed fatigue in what was obviously a hostile environment to him, I found myself disagreeing with him on the nature of heaven and hell and how they relate to humans and on the nature of the words in the Bible, so much so that I wondered if I could call him a brother in Christ. I still believe that we have differences in the fundamentals of our worldview, but I am now interested in hearing more of what he has to say... and more of what you have to say, Dr. Groves. Thanks for writing.

8/17/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I've never read anything on his views of Heaven, hell, and , how'd you say it?..."the nature of the words of the bible."

Care to elaborate? Very interested.

SG

8/17/2005  
Anonymous keith said...

I said "the nature of the words of the Bible" as a simple way of referring to "the infallibility and the inerrancy of Scripture." I believe that the words of the Bible only have one meaning, what the writers meant by them, and that I am capable of understanding it. I also believe that this meaning has been accurately preserved, that it is true, and that it is reliable and trustworthy as an authority over all aspects of my life. Why? Because, they accurately communicate the very thoughts of God however reduced they had to be to fit through a human skull. We may agree on the “thoughts of God” part. I don’t know. But from his answers, I deemed that we differed on the ideas of meaning, understanding, and authority.

I may elaborate more later.

8/17/2005  
Anonymous keith said...

On “heaven,” he described it as a situation in which we might find ourselves on any given day rather than an actual place, which I believe is how the Bible depicts heaven. This led me to believe that we have different views on the Bible, which would lead to many other differing views on the foundations of Christianity.

8/17/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Very interesting. Thanks for the info. I'll look into that for my own peace of mind.

SG

8/17/2005  

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