Dispatches from the Front: Theological Engagements with the Secular [NOOK Book]

Overview

God knows it is hard to make God boring, Stanley Hauerwas writes, but American Christians, aided and abetted by theologians, have accomplished that feat. Whatever might be said about Hauerwas?and there is plenty?no one has ever accused him of being boring, and in this book he delivers another jolt to all those who think that Christian theology is a matter of indifference to our secular society.
At once Christian theology and social criticism, this book aims to show that the two ...
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Dispatches from the Front: Theological Engagements with the Secular

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Overview

God knows it is hard to make God boring, Stanley Hauerwas writes, but American Christians, aided and abetted by theologians, have accomplished that feat. Whatever might be said about Hauerwas—and there is plenty—no one has ever accused him of being boring, and in this book he delivers another jolt to all those who think that Christian theology is a matter of indifference to our secular society.
At once Christian theology and social criticism, this book aims to show that the two cannot be separated. In this spirit, Hauerwas mounts a forceful attack on current sentimentalities about the significance of democracy, the importance of the family, and compassion, which appears here as a literally fatal virtue. In this time of the decline of religious knowledge, when knowing a little about a religion tends to do more harm than good, Hauerwas offers direction to those who would make Christian discourse both useful and truthful. Animated by a deep commitment, his essays exhibit the difference that Christian theology can make in the shaping of lives and the world.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Hauerwas (theological ethics, Duke U.) takes on time-honored values and troubling questions about the relationship of Christian theology to secular society and reveals the pertinence of a critique of liberalism from a Christian perspective. Hauerwas asserts that Christian theology and social criticism cannot be separated, and attacks current sentimentalities about democracy, the importance of the family, and compassion. He emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and pacifism for maintaining truthful communities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Ray Olson
These seemingly disparate essays are united by Hauerwas' concern for "the actual practices of forgiveness and reconciliation and how and why they require a community that is eschatologically shaped." If that quotation is quite a mouthful, well, Hauerwas is an academic theologian, member of a tribe not known for easy prose. Nevertheless, broadly schooled Christians and others may be enthralled by his discriminating considerations of the virtues of the gentleman in the novels of Anthony Trollope; of the relationship between forgiveness and truthfulness as exemplified in Anne Tyler's "Saint Maybe"; of the problems of the coexistence of Christianity and liberal democracy; of nonviolence as not a theory about the ethics of war but the polity of Christianity; of the moral superiority, re military service, of gays as a group compared with Christians as a group; and of how compassion as a liberal virtue paradoxically perpetrates cruelty. Persistent throughout the book are deep skepticism about the compatibility of Christianity and liberalism, also Hauerwas' particular fanaticism: "I want . . . to convince everyone who calls himself or herself a Christian that being a Christian means that one must be nonviolent." Challenging, sometimes difficult reading, animated by saving grace.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822396581
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 248
  • File size: 410 KB

Meet the Author

Stanley Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University. He is the author of numerous books, the most recent being In Good Company: The Church as Polis. He is also co-editor, with Alasdair MacIntyre, of a book series entitled "Revisions: Changing Perspectives in Moral Philosophy."

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Positioning: In the Church and University But Not of Either 5
1 Constancy and Forgiveness: The Novel as a School for Virtue 31
2 On Honor: By Way of a Comparison of Karl Barth and Trollope 58
3 Why Truthfulness Requires Forgiveness: A Commencement Address for Graduates of a College of the Church of the Second Chance 80
4 The Democratic Policing of Christianity 91
5 Creation as Apocalyptic: A Tribute to William Stringfellow 107
6 Can a Pacifist Think About War? 116
7 Whose "Just" War? Which Peace? 136
8 Why Gays as a Group Are Morally Superior to Christians as a Group 153
9 Communitarians and Medical Ethicists: Or, "Why I Am None of the Above" 156
10 Killing Compassion 164
11 The Church and the Mentally Handicapped: A Continuing Challenge to the Imagination 177
Notes 187
Index 233
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