Monday, April 02, 2007

A WEEK WITH... STANLEY HAUERWAS (again) day 1


I know, I know!! I have already done a week with stan "the man" hauerwas. but HEY, get over it!! I have absolute guy love for the cussin' texan. what can i say? if you don't know much about dr. hauerwas- well check out his bio here. his work has been probably THE biggest influence on my theology and thoughts on ministry over the last few years.

so i hope you have a wonderful week and that maybe the words from dr. hauerwas might spark a little conversation and stimulate our minds and hearts to be challenged and stirred.
may the lord bless you and keep you through holy week,


stPhransus


STANLEY HAUERWAS ON THEOLOGY, SCRIPTURE AND SALVATION:

"I really don't have a "basic theology." I'm not sure what that description would imply. I believe what the church tells me to believe. I assume that the question about Scripture being inerrant assumes that such a view of Scripture is what constitutes "basic theology." But inerrancy is anything but basic. It's a modernist view that is in deep tension with the church's claim of the authority of Scripture. Of course I believe that Scripture is the word of God. It contains everything necessary for salvation, but it does so through the Holy Spirit through the discernment of the Word by the Body of Christians. To ask, 'Is salvation only through Christ?' presumes you might know what salvation is separate from Christ. Christ is our salvation—so you cannot separate the new creation enacted through Christ from His work."

8 comments:

Andrew C. Thompson said...

I am in my first seminar with Hauerwas this semester at Duke, and it has been tremendous. That interview from 1998 that you link from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly does a good job in bringing out several of his basic convictions.

One of the aspects of modernity that has really been brought home to me in this seminaris the pervasive sense in which philosophical liberalism has constituted all our understandings of life. We are a people without a story, Hauerwas might say. Since the Enlightenment, we have been taught to reject our past in favor of a disconnected, foundationalist worldview that is based on universal claims that turn out to be groundless. And as a result, we lose the ability to engage in any kind of meaningful practical reason. In short, we do not know how to live.

Hauerwas gets that quality of modernism as it relates to Western culture as a whole from Alasdair MacIntyre. He brilliantly applies it to the church, though, and if you look at the confusion in the body of Christ at present, I think circumstances point to the truth of his view.

I have been raised in the UMC since birth, so one of the primary parts of my background that my engagement with him has chafed against is the sense that it is not the church's role to set about intentionally trying to influence broader society. But he said something in our seminar the other day that makes a lot of sense: "It is not the church's role to make the world more just. It is the church's role to make the world, the world." The idea is that the chief means that Christ has given the church to bring about the transformation of the world is exactly wrapped up in faithfully being the church. Only when the world is exposed as hopelessly lost can those outside the church truly understand what salvation in the community of Jesus Christ is about.

A recommendation: the orienting text for our seminar this semester has been a new book out called "Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation," by Jonathan Lear. It is an interesting commentary on the fate of the Crow Indian tribe by someone whose analysis is influenced by a lot of the same people that influence Hauerwas: Aristotle, Wittgenstein, MacIntrye, etc. A very good read.

St.Phransus said...

Thanks for the suggestion Andrew. At Trevecca 'Hauerwasian'/postliberal/narrative theology has really shaped the entire graduate program. As someone who came into the program as a very progressive liberal I have been challenged to not shed my being liberal but to examine my beliefs and ideas through the lens of ecclesiology. My conclusion is that the United Methodist really has ecclesiology crisis. We've traded "our story" and tradition in for liberal and conservative fundamentalism.

This nazarene graduate school that is in a lot of ways "post conservative" has been such a blessing to me. If I could relocate I would be at Duke right now. Good luck with the rest of this semester bro.

jonathon

Jonathan said...

Ecclesiology has always been a problem for Methodists, since, as Hauerwas says, we are a movement that became a church almost by accident. When Wesley conceived of Methodism, he was not trying to formulate an ecclesiology, but a theology of discipleship to be lived out in the societies and bands. Come to think of it, that sounds like a pretty good ecclesiology, except for the fact that it overlooks the sacraments, since he assumed people would participate in the sacraments through the Church of England. So, the key to a more robust Methodist ecclesiology might be found in renewing our Anglican sacramental theology of the body of Christ.

St.Phransus said...

Amen and Amen Jonathan. Thanks.

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