Friday 6 November 2009

Ask Hauerwas a question

Our friend Dan Morehead will soon be interviewing Stanley Hauerwas for a feature in Wunderkammer Magazine. So Dan has invited us to have some input into the interview. What question would you ask Hauerwas? What would you like him to discuss in the interview?


Jason said...

A series of questions a la "Inside the Actor's Studio":

1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on?
4. What turns you off?
5. What sound or noise do you love?
6. What sound or noise do you hate?
7. What is your favorite curse word?
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
9. What profession would you not like to do?
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Arni Zachariassen said...

I really want to know what his church looks like. What does the peaceable kingdom actually look like, specifically in Hauerwas' own life.

X-Cathedra said...

What does it mean to be a God%$#@ Christian in today's world?

adhunt said...

What does he make of Benedict's papacy so far, especially compared to his pre-petrine theology?

Jonathan Marlowe said...

I would ask him to compare the work of N. T. Wright and John Howard Yoder, esp. comparing Jesus and the Victory of God and The Politics of Jesus. I think this would also be a question that his colleague Richard Hays would ask him. Has he read N. T. Wright? (if so, he has never interacted with him in published writings) and now that he is finally entering into dialogue with Richard Hays on Scripture, I would like to see him enter into dialogue with N. T. Wright as well.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if he has a positive theology of preaching as well as a positive ecclessiology, rather than just the observation that the church offers an alernative to everything modern. In other words, what is 'the church' besides an alternative polis?

Also, does the preaching of justification by faith alone allow the church to still hold fellowship with those who are not adherents to non-violence or does use of the sword exclude one from the community?

Anonymous said...

My question to him would be:

1. What are your thoughts about Eastern Orthodoxy?

2. What do you think about the Orthodox understanding of justice ("dikaiosyne" as the Greek translation of the Hebraic word "tsedakav"), as expressed in the writings of Fr. Alexander Kalomiros, according to which justice is the divine energy which accomplishes man's salvation?

Derek D.

Erin said...

I would like to know:
1. In what areas has Nate Kerr understood you best?
2. Where do you disagree with his reading of your work?

These may be common knowledge, but while alluded to (it's on the back cover, lol!), I have yet to find it.

Benjamin Ekman said...

1. I hear you hate Gustaf Aulén's Christus Victor. Why?
2. Do you hate it more or less than you hat Eros and Agape by Anders Nygren?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear him respond to Paul Griffiths' recent post, that the church would be more at home in an Islamic state than in liberal democracy.

A. Bookbinder said...

I've heard him call both Aulen's & Nygren's books "bullshit," but I get the impression he hates Aulen's book a bit more.

Anonymous said...

What is Moltmann full of shit?

Anonymous said...

That is, why is Moltmann full of shit?

MT said...

What is the fundamental difference between John Milbank's theology and Stanley's? Both represent postmodern theologies that seek to make the church "visible" after an age of the "secular" but where do they differ, especially in regard to Augustine's ecclesiology?

JeremyR said...

Ask him why is Altizer a shithead?

I'd also like to know how he sees his project as differing from Milbank's.

kim fabricius said...

Stanley says that the salvation of those who worship in churches with flags is seriously in doubt. What about New York Yankee fans?

Marvin said...

"What are the strengths and weaknesses of United Methodist clergy?"

I think this is an important question because, notwithstanding Hauerwas' important contributions to theology and ethics, both through his own work and through the doctoral students he has mentored, training future ministers in the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., is the grunt work he must do in order to write the books and review the dissertations that he's more widely known for.

He's taught a lot of future preachers, so he surely deserves a pinch of credit for the strengths of UM clergy, and a bit of blame for their weaknesses.

A sarcasm-free, profanity-free answer will get him some bonus points.

Marvin said...

RE: comments upstream. It's too bad ryannewson didn't change the predicate adjective in his ill-advised comment instead of the interrogative pronoun. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the comment says more about the commenter than it does Juergen Moltmann. Ditto the comment about Altizer.

I'm aware that many people (esp. in the theo-blogging world) like to ape callers to the Jim Rome Show when they talk theology, but I don't think it's a very helpful way to get at the truth, which is what God-talk really ought to be about. God ain't the Dallas Cowboys.

JeremyR said...

Ok, so if theology should pursue a discourse that endeavors to to discover truth perhaps theologians like Milbank and Hauerwas could drop the rhetoric. With regards to Altizer I highly doubt he's ever bothered reading his theology, but instead he prefers to engage in rhetoric that attempts to discredit him. Likewise, I have great respect for Moltmann, and again would it be that much to ask him to refrain from making such sensational comments? I suppose I would expect more from America's best theologian.

Marvin said...

Oh, so Ryan's quoting Hauerwas on Moltmann?

That's... so frustrating.

He has tenure. He' given the Gifford Lectures. The bomb-throwing Texan schtick is so, so very old, and so very unnecessary.

ryannewson said...

yes. i should have clarified that i was quoting hauerwas with my question.

JeremyR said...

Yeah he made the comment about the death-of-God theologians being shitheads with regards to their interpretation of Bohoeffer's Letter and Papers. While I understand why he would object to this reading, Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers has to be the one of the most wildly interpreted theology book of the 20th century. Even Gutierrez believes he is fulfilling Bonhoeffer's prophetic call for a religionless Christianity in A Theology of Liberation. Anyway, it would just be great if we could get away from this type of mudslinging. If he has theological reservations about Moltmann or Altizer's project do share, otherwise keep quiet.

james said...


Could you please change my 'incomplete' from Spring 2000 to at least a 'B', so I can take the Duke degree already? The lectures were great I just couldn't care less about the Niebuhr essay.

Thanks, you bastard.

Ben Myers said...

Thank you, James — that's definitely the Comment of the Week.

Paul said...

I'm sure he's done this before, but could he explain some concrete practices or actions ordinary laypeople (or ordained) could make that would help get the church back on track (especially in America) when we're starving for people who know what they're doing vs. individualistic/narcissistic accounts of salvation, fundamentalism, the gospel of self-fulfillment, hopping in bed with neo-conservatism, etc.

Also, (since he didn't respond to an e-mail I once sent him) what should someone do who's bothered by the presence of an American flag in their church?

Andy Rowell said...

Just a few quick partial answers to the 5 questions that all revolve around what he would say constructively about the church.
1. "What does the peaceable kingdom actually look like, specifically in Hauerwas' own life?" 2. "What does it mean to be a God%$#@ Christian in today's world?"
3. "What is 'the church' besides an alternative polis?"
4. "What are the strengths and weaknesses of United Methodist clergy?"
5. "could he explain some concrete practices or actions ordinary laypeople (or ordained) could make that would help get the church back on track (especially in America)."

I similarly had these questions before I got to know him.
First, I think he is finished with his memoirs but am not sure about the publication date for them. That will be one way to get to know him more personally.
Second, if you want to know what he would say positively, you can look at what Aquinas, Bonhoeffer, Barth, MacIntyre, and Yoder say because Hauerwas pretty much agrees with them. Hauerwas wants the church to be the church. He calls himself "a high church Mennonite--that is a Methodist." He currently worships at an Episcopal church and participates in morning prayer daily at Duke Divinity School.
Third, you can hear what Will Willimon his coauthor of Resident Aliens says and does. Willimon is a bishop in the United Methodist Church and blogs and has a podcast. Hauerwas thinks he's doing a good job. You can also listen to Sam Wells's sermons online who is the current Dean of Duke Chapel and has written what Hauerwas thinks is the most accurate book on Hauerwas.
Fourth, I think you can look at Hauerwas's example. He believes in actively defending orthodox Christianity and seeking to persuade others--in his case other philosophers, ethicists, and professors of religion that Christianity--that it is good news that demands one's life.
Fifth, though I wish he wouldn't do it, I think his swearing is his way of reminding himself where he came from--trying to concretize and invigorate abstract academic discourse. Part of him loves academia and part of him is appalled that he has become part of it--the swearing is his way of expressing this tension.

A. Bookbinder said...

Aquinas, Bonhoeffer, Barth, MacIntyre, and Yoder? Not exactly identical accounts of the church. Certainly Hauerwas deploys each of these figures for different purposes, but an accurate description of his ecclesiology would need to be far more nuanced than to say he "pretty much agrees with [all of] them." A more accurate attempt at a brief, name-dropping summary would be something like this: Hauerwas' ecclesiology looks a lot like Yoder's, but with a distinctly Anglo-Catholic notion of the sacraments. At times this looks like Bonhoeffer. And because Yoder is so similar to Barth in terms of ecclesiology, it would be superfluous to have to mention Barth in this discussion.

I think the most interesting critical question to raise about Hauerwas' ecclesiology is its relation to Milbank's vision. Milbank's conception of church is so different from both Yoder and Bonhoeffer, that Hauerwas' flirtation with Milbank's theology strikes me as a troubling aporia.

Andy Rowell said...

An update: Due out May 15, 2010.

Stanley Hauerwas, Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010).

H/T Andy Goodliff

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to see an online response to Nate Kerr's criticisms. Does Hauerwas think Nate has misread Hauerwas/Yoder, or that his criticisms are justified, or something in between?

Andy Rowell said...

On Kerr's book, you might enjoy the discussion from earlier in 2009 at the the "church and postmodern culture: conversation" blog. I'm not saying any of it represents Hauerwas's point of view but it is an interesting discussion.

January 12, 2009 Christ, History and Apocalyptic: A Symposium, part 1
January 16, 2009 Schedule for Symposium on Christ, History and Apocalyptic
January 19, 2009 Christ, History and Apocalyptic: A Symposium, part 2
February 02, 2009 Christ, History and Apocalyptic: A Symposium, part 3
February 11, 2009 Christ, History and Apocalyptic: A Symposium, part 4
February 16, 2009 Christ, History and Apocalyptic: A Symposium, part 5
February 23, 2009 Christ, History and Apocalyptic: A Symposium, part 6
March 02, 2009 Christ, History and Apocalyptic: a week off for further thought
March 11, 2009 Christ, History and Apocalyptic: Nate Kerr's Response

Anonymous said...

I as well am interested on some of Hauerwas's thoughts regarding Eastern Orthodoxy, namely Eastern Orthodoxy's pacifist tradition as put forth in Alexander Webster's "The Pacifist Option. The Moral Argument Against War in Eastern Orthodox Theology."

Basically, I know a lot of people, including myself, who are very sympathetic toward Mennonnite theology regarding war and church state relations, but are attracted to the Catholic or Orthodox church for its worship and history. However, many are at odds with the viewpoint of war in Catholic and Orthodox just war theories.

Here Webster gives us an alternative, which is the Pacifist Option in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Does he agree with this Pacifist Option as the Orthodox church understands it?

markcoffey said...

What's Hauerwas' take on 'To change the World' by James Davis Hunter?

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