Hauerwas writes in A Community of Character, “Any community and polity is known and should be judged by the kind of people it develops…The most important social task of Christians is to be nothing less than a community capable of forming people with virtues sufficient to witness to God’s truth in the world.” (2)
What does this process of development look like? Is it an ethos to be caught or as Kallenberg would say a grammar to be learned?
Another repost from my old blog…
I just came across these thoughts by Stanley Hauerwas,
“The problem with debates about homosexuality is they have been devoid of any linguistic discipline that might give you some indication what is at stake. Methodism, for example, is more concerned with being inclusive than being the church. We do not have the slightest idea what we mean by being inclusive other than some vague idea that inclusivity has something to do with being accepting and loving. Inclusivity is, of course, a necessary strategy for survival in what is religiously a buyers’ market. Even worse, the inclusive church is captured by romantic notions of marriage. Combine inclusivity and romanticism and you have no reason to deny marriage between gay people.
When couples come to ministers to talk about their marriage ceremonies, ministers think it’s interesting to ask if they love one another. What a stupid question! How would they know? A Christian marriage isn’t about whether you’re in love. Christian marriage is giving you the practice of fidelity over a lifetime in which you can look back upon the marriage and call it love. It is a hard discipline over many years.
The difficulty, therefore, is that Christians, when they approach this issue, no longer know what marriage is. For centuries, Christians married people who didn’t know one another until the marriage ceremony, and we knew they were going to have sex that night. They didn’t know one another. Where does all this love stuff come from? They could have sex because they were married.
Now, when marriage becomes a mutually enhancing arrangement until something goes wrong, then it makes no sense at all to oppose homosexual marriages. If marriage is a calling that makes promises of lifelong monogamous fidelity in which children are welcomed, then we’ve got a problem. But we can’t even get to a discussion there, because Christians no longer practice Christian marriage.
What has made it particularly hard is that the divorce culture has made it impossible for us to talk about these matters–and many of you know, I’m divorced and remarried. It has made it impossible for us to talk about these matters with an honesty and candor that is required if you are not to indulge in self-deceptive, sentimental lies.
For gay Christians who I know and love, I wish we as Christians could come up with some way to help them, like we need to help one another, to avoid the sexual wilderness in which we live. That’s a worthy task. I probably sound like a conservative on these matters, not because I’ve got some deep animosity toward gay people, but because I don’t know how to go forward given the current marriage practices of our culture.”
Things that strike me the most:
1.His criticism of his own faith tradition that gives me freedom to think about my own community. Are we more concerned about being relevant/in-with-the-lost/deep/etc than we are about being a Colony of Heaven?
2.The concept of “Marriage as a practice of fidelity over lifetime” seems so retro and bland in the circles that we move. My wife has been severely criticized for speaking along the similar lines as encouraging women to “settle for less”. I wonder if overly romanticized and sexually charged notions of what we should be “feeling” towards our prospective spouse is the source of much loneliness today and the cause of such high rate of divorce among the Christians.
3.I am curious as to why does his position on homosexuality among Christian takes as primary a desire to help them avoid the sexual wilderness. Why does he not start with an affirmation that this is not a Biblically viable option [which seem to be buried underneath his words here and in other interviews] live out and then move to thinking about the issues of solution?
I am going to repost here few of the posts in the old blog that I am going to delete. Trying to consolidate things with minimal knowledge of technology…
Here is a snippet of Hauerwas’ interview that I just came across. In my mind it summs up pretty well why I have been so excited about this innovative and courageous thinker.
Why are you considered controversial?
Because I tell Christians that they ought to do what they say. They ought to forgive their enemies. There isn’t an asterisk in the Sermon on the Mount that says, “Unless they are Arabs.”
How should Christians make their mark on society?
By telling the truth. I think that one of the problems has been that Christians have often accepted the speech habits that characterize general assumptions about America that have not done us any good in terms of how we should be witnessing to what we think is true. (For example, to say) I think Jesus is Lord, but that is just my personal opinion.
What should Christians be doing?
The first task of the church is to be the church, because only when you do that do you have the ability to be a witness to the wider society. It is only when you worship God that you are then able to say what is true. Most Americans think that everyone believes in God. The God most Americans believe in is not the God of Jesus Christ…
The title of your lecture is intriguing: “Why No One Wants to Die in America.” What does that mean?
It means that we live in a society that’s in deep death denial. Assuming that most Christians live like other people, thinking they can get out of life alive. It’s not going to happen. People care more about who their doctor is today than who their priest or minister is. Most Christians live lives of practical atheism. … Atheism isn’t explicitly a denial of God, it’s to live in a way that God does not matter.
Three things strike me here:
1.Being a follower of Jesus means being a person who is not afraid of speaking the truth. That is the only way to impact our world.
2.The church must be the church. The world does not need another community that mimics something or someone else. So often we are caught up in being purpose-driven, relevant, missional. we place such a big focus on adjectives that define us rather than living out our identity that is defined by a noun- church, the Body of Christ, and yes even Colony of Heaven. We are to give the world what it does need the most a People of God who embrace and live their God-given identity. [Isa. 2:3-4].
3.Atheism is living as if God does not matter. Ouch!!! That’s convicting.