Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Time to doubt your salvation

Halden has posted this little gem from Stanley Hauerwas – some questions which he asked a group of trainee youth pastors in Princeton:

  • How many of you worship in a church with an American flag? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
  • How many of you worship in a church in which the fourth of July is celebrated? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
  • How many of you worship in a church that recognizes Thanksgiving? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
  • How many of you worship in a church that celebrates January 1 as the “New Year”? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
  • How many of you worship in a church that recognizes “Mother’s Day”? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
Of course, things are a little different here in Australia – we never bother much with patriotic gestures, except perhaps at a football game. But I did once visit a church where they prayed solemnly for God's blessing on “our Queen” and for “the success of our troops” – at which point, I felt pretty sure that the odds on my salvation were getting longer...

52 Comments:

John C. Poirier said...

The saddest part about this is that Hauerwas is probably serious.

Wake me up when he gets something right . . . or at least *close* to right.

John C. Poirier said...

I posted this on Halden's blog, but it belongs here as well:

"Following Hauerwas’s logic, anyone who worships in a church that recognizes Daylight Savings Time would also be in danger of losing their salvation."

Chris T. said...

I am not exactly Hauerwas' most ardent supporter, but I would at least agree with the sentiment of one, two, and four. Complaining about Thanksgiving and Mother's Day strikes me as far sillier.

Of course Hauerwas is not making hard-and-fast theological statements here, John. He's stirring people up. But the practices he's aiming at are deeply, deeply problematic.

Will said...

Well, he has toned down his language. In class he once showed us an order of service celebrating 4th of July and he said that if he found out any of us did a service like that he would pray ever day that God would send us to hell.

Anonymous said...

Surely there is nothing wrong with praying for God's blessing and guidance on the legitimate head of your nation?

John C. Poirier said...

Interesting remark, Will. It shows that Hauerwas is fully aware that he has a bigger problem with this stuff than God does!

dan said...

Do you agree with john c. poirier? I'm sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.

;)

kim fabricius said...

Hauerwas should do a line in "I Love Stanley" t-shirts - and sell them outside the National [sic] Cathedral in Washington!

Of course if you worship in a church that doesn't commemorate the Alamo, your salvation is also in doubt.

As for national leaders, prayers are de rigueur - for repentance. And for the Queen - abdication - which would bring Chuck to the throne and help to secure a republic.

John C. Poirier said...

Thanks, Dan. I'd be honored to hear Hauerwas say that some day.

Anonymous said...

I am really unsure what would be much better about a "republic" or if it would be any different from the current British system. Is this a theological issue or just a matter of personal taste?

Erin said...

funny stuff. I appreciate Halden's comments about the calendrical nature of thewarnings, but honestly, with the exception of flags/4th of july, I just can't bring myself to believe that the church calendar is so important. While I am not opposed to observing the church year, it is largely irrelevant to most of the immediate problems for churchgoers. -as if Maundy Thursday in the calendar will somehow stop divorce, and beat addiction. ymmv

Chris T. said...

Erin, I hate to sound harsh, but perhaps you shouldn't trash the liturgical year without having lived in a community that actually takes it seriously? I have in fact seen communities where faithfulness to traditional daily prayer following the liturgical year has in fact energized those communities to minister to the poor and homeless in incredible ways.

Catholics, Anglicans, high-church Lutherans, and others have our reasons for following these traditions. It's the heights of arrogance to go around trashing them because you don't understand their power or the reason for them.

Erin said...

I'm sorry to cause you distress Chris; I mean no disrespect, nor did I think I was trashing anyone. I suppose our family parish did not take these things seriously enough. Similarly, I did not intend to "trash" any denominations or even treat anyone as "other." I had hoped to own my own frustrations and limited vision though clearly, I was once again not articulate enough! -nor do I wish to be arrogant.

I do think the liturgical calendar can be a helpful tool of formation (a line that got chopped out upon submitting -the work of the Devil it seems!), but Hauwervas was talking about heresy and faithlessness :) , over the top and provocative as usual. What I question is whether or not the liturgical calendar is the most effective means of formation. In my experience it has not been, and I concede the limited scope of that experience, but at what point is it fair for me to come to this conclusion? I don't know. Perhaps not yet, but I wonder what other options are available beyond wholesale endorsement? Is there space to call it not-gospel, helpful but not central? How do we understand it as a cultural phenomenon?

Regardless, I apologize if you felt slighted. I am heartened by the people whose hearts have been sated and challenged to care for people in their suffering! I promise I'm much more genial in person and will buy you a pint if given the chance :)

Shane said...

I would like to see Jean Bethke Elshtain sucker punch Stanley Hauerwas: he's quite a belligerent asshole for a pacifist.

dan said...

Shane,

That, of course, is one of the reasons why Hauerwas is a pacifist.

Pseudonym said...

One of the other differences in Australia, of course, is that almost nobody would take someone who encouraged people to "doubt your salvation" seriously.

OK, maybe Continuing Presbyterians. But that's about it.

Rory Shiner said...

I'm all for raising questions about the way the church relates to the state and to nationalism, but I can't help but note that it is America's virtues that make those kinds of comments possible. That is, America (along with western liberal democracy in general) for all its faults allows someone to speak as Hauerwas does and still hold a post at a prestigious University.

America is an easy target, 'cause it doesn't cost you much to verbally assault it. The Christian who stands up to the state in Saudi Arabia, on the other hand...

Anthony Paul Smith said...

Jean Bethke Elshtain is a war monger. I'm really unsurprised that a Medievalist has a worthless political opinion. I am more surprised that the readers of this blog seemed to have titled towards those of the horrible persuasion.

Thanksgiving is not a Christian holiday. To treat it as such is to perpetuate a narrative about America that is simply untrue.

As to America's virtues, sure, I guess we should all be so lucky to live in a country that lets us say things. But come on! It is not really up to the State whether or not I have the freedom to say these things. Let's also keep in mind that Duke is not a private institution.

JOhn said...

It would be great to see the Church really reclaim Mother's Day from the card companies. Originally it was a holiday celebrating the work of pacifist woman progressives leveraging the gravitas of grieving mothers against the hyperbole of warmongers.

A church I attended once did a one time thing recognizing the Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina. It was one of the most moving and empowering services I have ever attended.

kim fabricius said...

In the UK, "Mothering Sunday" is always the fourth Sunday in Lent, and it has long been part of the church's liturgical calendar. According to the Concise Dictionary of the Christian Church, "The name has been referred to: (1) the custom in some parts of England of visiting one's mother on this day; (2) the practice of visiting the cathedral or mother church on this day; or (3) the words in the traditional Epistle of the day, 'Jerusalem ... which is the mother of us all' (Gal. 4:26)."

Of course now it has virtually morphed into the US Mother's Day, the commercial enterprise against which Hauerwas (who loved his mommy dearly) rages. Flowers, cards, and gifts, and insisting mum have a lie-in before taking her out to lunch - all are pretty essential - even when the kids are gone and it's just you and your wife!

On this trajectory, soon on Easter the call to worship will go:

V: "The egg is boiled!"
R: "It is boiled indeed!"

Earl said...

Hauerwas is almost relevant. He is not unlike a moron throwing bricks in a glass shop.

Shane said...

@Dan,

I know a bit of Hauerwas's story, but it seems to me that if you're a pacifist and an asshole, then you really want to be and do and say whatever you want, but you don't want the ass-kickings that you properly have coming to you for your assholery.

Read Hauerwas's review of Elshtain's book and tell me he doesn't have an asskicking coming. I never said I thought Elsthain was right--I just said that it would be personally gratifying to me to see her coldcock Hauerwas.

@Anthony Paul Smith

For a moment I thought your post was entirely ironic, then I thought it was merely stupid--but now I can't decide. Duke definitely IS a private university, but I don't know what that's supposed to have to do with anything. I AM a medievalist, but again I fail to see the relevance. Presumably biologists that study bees don't advocate a bee-politics. Maybe there's a joke here I just don't get.

If you and Hauerwas really think the nation-state is so evil, then man up and go be a real pacifist. Move out into the country with the amish, don't pay taxes, don't register for the draft, don't get student loans from the government, don't take welfare, don't take social security, etc.

I don't have a problem with the Amish, because renouncing the benefits of the state allows them a position of moral authority from which to speak against it. What I can't stand is people who use the benefits of the state and want to pretend to speak from that same position. If you accept state benefits of any sort, you are tacitly participating in a system that preserves itself through violent means.

If you really think that the government's money is blood money, don't take any. But if you take the money, stop calling it blood money and--I'll go even further--if you believe that the nation is a good thing whose benefits you enjoy, which is preserved by the sacrifices and struggles of people who came before you, then you should be ready to take up arms to defend your country for the sake of your family and community if need be. If you accept the benefits their sacrifices bring you and then scorn the sacrifice and the sacrificers, I will think you are just an ungrateful coward hiding your weakness behind the name "pacifism".

Dave Belcher said...

If you are looking for less "toned-down" Hauerwas, I heard a story from friends who attended an "Ekklesia Project" meeting some years ago where Hauerwas told of a sermon he had recently preached, which went something like this:

"If you would, I'd like all of you who supported the war in Iraq and think we should 'support the troops' to please raise your hands." Some folks begin to put their hands in the air, and Hauerwas proceeds to point at each one, repeating: "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you...."

From all accounts, this is a "true story."

dan said...

Shane,

In my comment to you, I was thinking of a particular remark Hauerwas made when talking of nonviolence (i.e. "I'm a pacificst because I know that I'm a violent son of a bitch").

That said, Hauerwas's review of Elshtain's book does appear quite mild compared to many of the comments that you have made!

kim fabricius said...

Hi Shane,

I gather that Stanley is not on your Christmas card list, but I think we have it on rather good authority that retiring to the caves or cheerleading in the temple (or being a complacent member of the rural or urban elite who milk the poor to keep it running efficiently) are not the only two options for living in an empire - from one who took the way of nonviolence, lived off the blood money of patrons, yet spoke truth to power. Of course the US is not Rome - it's got baseball. And as for money, the colour of all currencies is red.

John C. Poirier said...

Kim,

If you think the whole anti-imperial reading of the New Testament has something going for it (as you seem to), then would you please recommend a book or article that you think makes the case for that position (rather than simply assumes it). Everything I've read from that point of view (including Hauerwas, Yoder, etc.) has been utterly unconvincing. I just don't see any indication in the New Testament that Jesus or Paul took up such a position *at all*, much less that it matters to the degree Hauerwas and others seem to think.

Shane said...

"Italy for thirty years under the Borgias had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but produced Michelangelo, DaVinci, and the Renaissance. And Switzerland had brotherly love and five hundred years of democracy and peace. And what did they produce? The cuckoo clock."

Orson Welles from the 1949 picture "The Third Man"


@ Dan & Anthony Paul Smith

I never said I wasn't an asshole too.

That said, I try not to be one and I apologize for some of the edge to my previous posts. Not all of it, though.


@ Kim,

There are indeed more than two options. "Cheerleading in the temple" is a pretty gross mischaracterization of the position I've outlined above. For to believe that there might be just wars does not imply that all wars are just (I would have through rather obviously).

At any rate, the point I'm making is that the logic of Hauerwasian pacifism ought to conclude towards being more or less like the Amish. And, as I said above, I have a great amount of respect for the Amish--it's sort of unfair for you to subtly imply that they are complacent members of a rural elite or that they have retreated to the caves. The Amish do lots of good work and they are engaged with society in perhaps more ways than you might think. So, i think the Amish route is actually a viable one--it's also a hard route that demands sacrifices.

The amish version of pacifism is a courageous pacifism because it's willing to endure some hardship and deprivation for the sake of an idea. contrast this with the birkenstock-wearing, soy latte-sipping, fashionable garden variety pacifism and I think the differences are clear. it's easy to say that all war is wrong--it's just hard to live like it, and that's my beef with Hauerwas, his praxis doesn't line up with his theory.

That and the fact that he's a douchebag who desperately needs his ass kicked. (cf. Dave Belcher's story above)

Shane said...

typo in first para of my resp to kim,

*(I would have thought that very obvious)

Halden said...

Shane, I wonder why you respect the Amish at all? I mean, it is obvious that you think that pacifism as such isn't a sound position. Of course I can see why the bourgeois hipsters who sip their latte's would piss you off more than someone who's consistent in thier belief's and practices. But, the point being, if pacifism is just plain wrong, then the Amish should not be respected or admired for their consistency in it. I don't think an utterly consistent vegan is all too admirable simply because they're consistent. There's nothing virtuous about consistently applying an ethic that is utterly wrong, is there?

Shane said...

@ Halden,

I don't respect the Amish insofar as they are pacifists or even insofar as their beliefs are consistent. I respect them for their strength. As I said above, the amish seem to me to possess a form of courage because they are willing to deprive themselves of some of the worldly benefits the nation-state offers for the sake of their theology. Hauerwas wants the sexy sounding bits of that, but none of the resignation bits, and certainly none of the bits about kindness and gentleness.

Only the strong can be truly gentle. The Amish seem to me to possess that strength in a way that Hauerwas and his ilk doesn't. No sacrifice, no strength. All Hauerwas has on offer is shrill, twangy denunciations and a lot of handwaving.

Of course, I don't think you have to be Amish to possess this kind of virtue (virtue = power, excellence, strength). And I don't think becoming strong or gentle in the ways I've outlined here necessarily precludes doing violence upon occasion either. One can be gentle and a soldier or policeman, although it may be quite hard.

Chris T. said...

Erin --

Thanks for the clarification/backtracking. I am particularly sensitive about suggestions that would denude Christianity of its specificity and traditionalism; having grown up in a liturgical but nevertheless fairly spare kind of Lutheran Protestantism, I'm touchy about that as I've had to defend my Mass-and-Office Catholic self quite a bit. ;-)

Shane and others --

Perhaps Shane is being inflammatory himself, but I have to say this is one criticism Hauerwas has done an extremely poor job answering. Given Hauerwas's rather extreme criticism of the liberal democratic project, I'm not sure how one can read his continuing to pay taxes and work for an institution of the liberal "establishment" as anything but hypocritical. His negative criticism is worthwhile, in fact very important to the Church, as is his work on virtue ethics. But it doesn't hang together as a positive project -- and he ought to know it. Lots of people are trying to cobble together a theology of public life out of his criticisms, and it just doesn't work.

I asked him point-blank at a panel at Duke whether Christians must simple give up when faced with opposition in the public sphere that would require coercive activity to overcome. I got a mealy-mouthed answer unworthy of a theologian of his stature, about how he was "engaged in the conversation" and thought "talking about these issues is really important".

Halden said...

But why is an utterly misguided strength something that should garner respect? Jim Jones' followers gave up all their possessions and all sorts of things for the sake their beliefs, but that hardly made them virtuous.

It seems to me that we have to own up to the fact that if pacifism is wrong then pacifists are de facto immoral, misguided, or downright evil people who are refusing to actively pursue the good.

Anthony Paul Smith said...

Apologies for the typos, especially the very bad one that turned into a factual error (I was trying to say that Duke is a private institution and that it isn't therefore all that special that Hauerwas can say what he wants under the auspices of a university since it isn't a State university).

But, sorry, you're wrong. This notion that because I take things from the State but think the State is inherently a flawed institution that propagates human suffering and alienation. Taking up arms to defend it, well, no thanks. I am actually not a pacifist and, in the realm of pure ethics, have no problem with those who take up arms against injustice, etc. In fact the overthrow of certain governments, perhaps including our own, would be something I welcome depending on the system to follow. This, however, has to be tempered by the real material conditions that determine the success of such violence.

The simplistic way you put this (if you get shit from the government you have to be wiling to die for that shit) isn't clever and isn't sophisticated. We shouldn't pretend it is. What Hauerwas has said also isn't, he just has the virtue of being right (about one's salvation that is).

Anyway, I'm sure you have a pipe to smoke and some latin to do, all the while feeling morally superior for accepting that your privilege comes at a price - the suffering of other human beings. As for me, I'll get my moral superiority from the fact that I recognize there is not outside of capitalism and thus one does what one can within it. Neither is all that impressive to me and especially from the viewpoint of what I understand Christianity to be about.

Anthony Paul Smith said...

Halden,

Since you are throwing around the term bourgeois like it somehow only applies to this mystical 'hipster drinking a latte', you do realize that you're part of the ruling class, right? Granted, I doubt any of us are super rich, but we're essentially all clerks and perpetuating certain parts of the superstructure of capitalism by virtue of being in education. I'm fine with that in so far as you can resist even there (and I do find Shane's notion of just accepting and taking up arms to defend the State, i.e. superstructure, to be utterly repulsive), but you seem to think there is some outside, perhaps being very uncool and drinking a tap water instead, from which "true" revolution or change or whatever you think is great and need in society comes from.

Halden said...

You're reading a bit much into my statement there, Anthony. Using the term once is hardly throwing it around. Anyways, I was only referencing Shane's depiction of "the birkenstock-wearing, soy latte-sipping, fashionable garden variety pacifism" in similar language. I have no problem ridiculing such cultural stereotypes, but that shouldn't be taken to mean that I think I am somehow "outside" of the problem. I know damn well that I am inside of it. However, I given that we are all compromised and embedded in capitalist discourse, we should obviously still strive to resist and critique in appropriate places. That's basically what you're trying to do here, is it not?

Shane said...

@Halden,

I don't see why you are looking at things in such a binary fashion as if for every moral stance one might adopt (at least on this issue) one is either completely right or completely wrong.

The truth is that morality is murky. I don't think the Amish are right because I'm not convinced that there is an exegetical case to be made for the claim:

"All violence is necessarily and as such evil."

Nevertheless there might be some other claim in the vicinity that is true, such as:

"Violence is usually evil and also usually avoidable and as Christians we should try to be agents of peace."

I think the Amish are wrong, but I'm glad they're there, because they do provoke us to think about alternatives and stretch our imaginations a little bit. And they embody a community that does develop some virtues, such as gentleness, which most of us lack and of which we ought to be much more aware.

So, yeah the phenomenon is simply a bit more complex than you seem to be making it out to be.

Halden said...

Fair enough, Shane. However, in some ways what I'm pushing for is avoiding sublating communities like the Amish by turing them into "inspiring stories" that we can respect but which make no material difference in our lives or practices. It's realatively easy to respect the Amish because they're so seemingly "outside" of our normal realm of experience, and we can comfortably keep them there. Simply "respecting" them can become a nicely PC way of dismissing the word they may have to speak to us.

kim fabricius said...

Hi John,

Recommend a book? How about the Bible? (Sorry - Shane always gets me in smart-assed mode :)) Seriously though, one word suffices to demonstrate that the entire NT is anti-imperial: Jesus is called "Lord".

Hi again Shane,

Jesus appreciated a good vintage, enjoyed high table dining, liked the company of whores, and had threads fashionable enough that soldiers thought they were worth gambling for. You talk like you know Hauerwas' habits (not to say his heart) pretty well. I suspect, however, you know bugger all about how he spends his money, what good works he may do, for whom he prays, etc. I'd lay odds on one thing: that he'd be laughing his ass off that his studied swagger is pissing off people like you at F&T! In any case, as Diogenes said (and you'd say it if he hadn't), "What use is a philosopher if he doesn't hurt anybody's feelings?"

Shane said...

@ APS

"The simplistic way you put this . . . isn't clever and isn't sophisticated."

No, it certainly isn't. But why in the world should moral obligations be clever or sophisticated? At any rate, the position I'm articulating may not be complex, but it does have a venerable heritage. (Cf. the Crito, 50b and ff.)

At any rate, 'just accepting and taking up arms' isn't quite what i'm saying either--because it seems to imply a universal blanket acceptance of state coercion. Kim made this mistake earlier, so apparently it's revisiting the Square of Opposition.

Take the sentence, (let's call it P):

P: "All (political) violence is necessarily and as such evil."

That's the pacifist position, as I understand it and I'm rejecting it. But the denial of P does not imply:

"No violence is necessarily and as such evil."

Which seems to be the view you and Kim are imputing to me. Rather, all that the denial of P entails is:

"There exists at least one act of violence that is not necessarily and as such evil."

That's the claim that I'm making.

The bizarre detail that I love about your responses is how hung up on the fact that I study medieval philosophy you are. What set of assumptions do you feel like you are justified in making about my politics on the basis of that factoid? That I'm a virtue ethicist? That I'm a Republican? That I'm a very conservative Catholic with a constantinian view of the church's relation to the state? False, false and false.

Perhaps if you laid out some arguments why you think nobody should use violence to defend the state, then we could proceed more profitably. (I assume you have arguments to make and not merely visceral reactions of repulsion.)

Shane said...

@ Kim,

There's a great little quote I picked up somewhere:

"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Is it your position that I ought not to criticize Hauerwas, because c'mon, he might be a pretty good guy after all once you get to know him?

I presume Hauerwas himself has no such qualms imputing motives to say, George Bush--in dead ignorance of how Bush spends his money, whether he does good works or for whom he prays.

Andrew said...

Returning to the original post, I suggest that Hauerwas is either saying something trivial or something patently false.

I guess the basic questions are (1) what puts salvation in doubt and (2) whether this is a constant state.

starting with (2), if Hauerwas holds that our salvation is always in doubt, then there are certain theological arguments to be made about that.

if on the other hand, he thinks these specific acts put salvation in doubt, then he's obviously an isogete.

and i just don't enjoy his flavor of isogesis.

the ghost of Dr. Ruggles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kim fabricius said...

Now we're in different territory, Shane. As far as I know, Hauerwas disses Bush in his public office as the President of the US. If I were Hauerwas, I would claim - forgetting about motives, and with chapter and verse - that Bush has lied to the nation on Iraq, that he has defended the use of torture, that his tax policies fleece the poor and line the pockets of the rich, that his record on the environment is scandalous, etc. Correspondingly, let the critique of Hauerwas in his public office as a professor of theology at Duke begin...

And now I'll shut up. Andrew is right - we are way off the original post.

Anthony Paul Smith said...

Shane,

From your response I'm guessing you didn't notice the part where I said I wasn't a pacifist. The pedantic use of wikipedia (yes, yes, we all had logic class) is annoying, but I have to say thanks for preemptively opposing yourself on this. Just because I think you're wrong, to say we should take up arms to defend the state that gives us so much (I can quote you if you want), doesn't make me a Hauerwasian pacifist.

'The bizarre detail that I love about your responses is how hung up on the fact that I study medieval philosophy you are.'

Huh? No, not really. I do find it annoying when people think, because they study some aspect of theology, they are able to pronounce on the other parts of which they know very little. I'm assuming you've not devoted nearly the amount of time to the study of politics you have to the obscure debates in medieval philosophy.

No, most of what I am assuming about you comes from your, albeit short and undetermined, endorsement of Elshtain's war-mongering book. It leads me to assume, partly due to my experience with other people who study medieval philosophy, that you accept certain kinds of arguments uncritically. Who knows why.

No problem with you criticizing Hauerwas, though most of the critiques I've seen are pretty unconvincing for me.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Paul Smith was 100% correct in calling Elshtain a war monger.

The proof of his statement can be verified by checking out the company that she keeps: namely all the usual USA war mongers.

Shane said...

@ Kim,

You're right we've gone too far afield and it's time to end this little detour. This is the last post for me.



@ APS,

No, I did see you say you aren't a pacifist, and I did not mean to imply that you are one. (I did wrongly assume that after your first post.)

I am merely contesting one particular view that it seemed you were attributing to me: namely, that I might support *all* violence, just because it's mandated by the state. I don't support that position, but both you and Kim were implying that I did.

I don't really know or care that much about modern theology. But I thought that the strength of my points above came from the arguments I gave for them. You don't think those arguments are very strong--and that's fair enough as far as it goes--internet comboxes are not particularly fertile soil for the sort of rigorous arguments you are now wanting. Of course, I might also ask you where your arguments are? Presumably you don't mean to just baldly appeal to your own authority?

At any rate, I'm done with the conversation and I'll let you guys get back to the main point point of the post.

Looney said...

Um, why do I care if Hauerwas doubts my salvation?

Jaume said...

Right, you can never totally trust God. :-P

Tor Hershman said...

Before birth, oblivion, at death, oblivion again.....there is NOTHING to be saved from.

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor

kim fabricius said...

DAS NICHTIGE - Tor's a Barthian!

Lee said...

Friends,
In my view, if Stanley Hauerwas did not exist, we'd have to invent him! We need his "shock jock" approach to jar us into some kind of realization of just what damage the church has inflicted on itself and the its witness by serving as the "chaplain on the good ship America"! Plain speaking is required; yet few step up to do it - and all who do (Tony Campolo, Wendell Berry, Hauerwas), get panned by many for poor manners, insensitivity to cultural mores, or the "what's the harm" in a little flag-waving, Mother idolatry, war-honoring civil religion. What if these kind of practices really do require a pastoral "f-bomb" in response? What is the real obscenity here anyway?

Peace,
Lee Wyatt

Andy Rowell said...

Here is the link to the full article:

The Princeton Seminary Bulletin 28:2 (2007)

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?: An Attempt to Cross the Barrier of Age by Stanley Hauerwas

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