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    Archive for "Jul 08 2011"

    Hauerwas: we don’t have to believe in what we think

    Stanley Hauerwas. If anyone knows the provenance of this image, please advise

    Stanley Hauerwas has made a few little appearances in my life lately. My last post was inspired by a comment I heard him make in one of his lectures many years ago; yesterday I discovered that my friend Brent featured on his blog a nice little riposte Hauerwas executed in response to a remark by the late Richard John Neuhaus; and just today I came across a piece the man published in HuffPost last year just a month after his memoir, Hannah’s Child, was released. I need to share an excerpt from it with all Alert Readers.

    The excerpt has to do with the fact that, by his own admission, Hauerwas has lots of good reasons to not be a Christian. Yet he finds himself one. He’s surprised to find himself a Christian, and this fact is taken up in Hannah’s Child. Many readers were surprised by this revelation. In the HuffPost piece he expresses surprise that so many readers were surprised at his surprise at being a Christian. So that’s our starting point. Hauerwas writes,

    The response I find most surprising is the surprise many express about my surprise that I am a Christian.

    That a theologian should be surprised about being a Christian may seem strange, particularly among folk who have little sympathy with Christianity. They often assume that theologians by definition must believe in what they think about. That, of course, is a deep mistake made, particularly in recent times. Many who become theologians in our time think their task is to try to determine how much of what has passed for Christianity they still need to believe and yet still be able to think of themselves as Christians. I discovered, however, that I did not know enough about Christianity to know what I was disbelieving.

    This reminds me of the theologian’s freedom of thought. Those that think and write about God are made free to do so in faith. Of course we think we’re getting at something when we speak and write, but it’s not like science where the whole point is to be right. In theology alone we’re freed from the trap of having to believe in our own thoughts.

    See the entire article here.

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