“That we may have the haunting thought we are only playing at being a sinner, I suspect, involves the more general worry that, in the world in which we now find ourselves, we are not at all sure if we know what it means to be a Christian. I suspect we are not even sure we know what being a Christian looks like. Surely, to be a Christian means more than being a nice person that believes stuff about God. There is, after all, the Sermon on the Mount. But then that is one of the problems: we cannot imagine living out the demands of the Sermon. But because we cannot imagine living the type of lives the Sermon seems to envisage, we cannot help but fear that we are only playing at being Christian. Continue reading On (Not) Knowing our Sins (Series on “Minding the Web”)
On Thursday, November 1, a surprisingly large and energetic group of pastors, professors, seminary students, and college students gathered at Providence to hear and engage in conversation surrounding my paper, “A Plea for Pointless Preaching.” The paper was an abbreviated version of an essay that I wrote for Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections. In the essay, I suggest that the work of “two Stanleys” – the evangelical mega-church pastor Andy Stanley and the theological ethicist Stanley Hauerwas – present two contrasting homiletical paths open to preachers today. Since that volume will soon be appearing in print, I will not be reproducing the essay here. However, my colleague Lissa Wray Beal, who served as the respondent to the paper, has graciously allowed me to publish her insightful engagement with the essay here on the blog. Continue reading Responding to “A Plea for Pointless Preaching” – A Guest Post by Lissa Wray Beal
“Consider how death is reported in the news. Those that produce the news seem to know that we have a morbid desire to know how someone died—in an automobile accident—because, as Tolstoy observed, a passion for finding the “cause” of someone else’s death can be a way of satisfying ourselves that they died accidentally or fortuitously by virtue of special circumstances affecting the one who died (but not me). It seems that we are at once obsessed by death while striving in every way possible to conceal its power over our lives. Accordingly, we ask those charged to care for us when we are ill to do everything they can to get us out of life alive. This is yet another form of self-protection, as it means we then get to blame health-care providers for any miseries related to keeping us alive at all costs.”1
This is the fifteenth in a series of posts highlighting captivating, provocative, or simply entertaining quotes from the forthcoming book Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections by Stanley Hauerwas edited by Robert J. Dean (Cascade).
- Stanley Hauerwas, “Resurrection,” in Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 185. ↩
“Unless Jesus is the only way to the Father, the martyr cannot exist. For the martyr’s death is her confession that Jesus is Lord, the Messiah of God. The martyrs are those who have died in a manner that make the cross of Christ unmistakable as God’s victory over death. Therefore just as the Father glorifies the Son, the Son glorifies those who suffer for his sake. That is why it is so important that we remember the martyrs, that we remember Stephen. Continue reading The Politics of All Saints’ Day (Series on “Minding the Web”)
“Yet the novel is all-important for me exactly because it forces one to imagine other lives. In short, novels are an exercise in the enrichment of the imagination through which we develop empathy that is crucial for the acquisition of the virtues.”1
This is the thirteenth in a series of posts highlighting captivating, provocative, or simply entertaining quotes from the forthcoming book Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections by Stanley Hauerwas edited by Robert J. Dean (Cascade).
- Stanley Hauerwas, “In Defense of ‘Our Respectable Culture’: Trying to Make Sense of John Howard Yoder,” Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections, edited by Robert J. Dean (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018), 153. ↩
In the essay “Minding the Gaps, or, Theologians Writing Memoirs,” Stanley Hauerwas examines the similarities and divergences between the British theologian A.E. Harvey’s memoir and his own, Hannah’s Child. In addition to belonging to the subset of “memoirs written by theologians,” both works also reflect upon a shared reality of life with a spouse suffering from mental illness. Here is an illuminating quote from near the end of the essay: Continue reading Hope Beyond Optimism (Series on “Minding the Web”)