Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Review: Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir

Stanley Hauerwas has written a lot of book over the years, so I haven't read them all, but I don't think there's one out there that's more accessible than Hannah's Child. It's a memoir that he can't help but do in his own style, and a story of how a working-class child of a bricklayer entered and negotiated the strange world of academics. It's sad and funny, smart and humble. I think Christians should read it, and academics should read it ... so Christian academics should read it twice. It makes me want to reread especially his Gifford Lectures and his book on academia (The State of the University).

Some quotes:

"Creation is not 'back there,' though there is a 'back there' character to creation. Rather, creation names God's continuing action, God's unrelenting desire for us to want to be loved by that love manifest in Christ's life, death, and resurrection." p. 158 (I just note this is one of the few times Hauerwas uses the word 'love' instead of his preferred 'friendship', which he usually opts for because the former has been so devalued by common use.)

"Dennis's 'vision' for the school, as far as I could tell, assumed that the church's primary role, a role enshrined in the Methodism of the 1950's, was to support those who think they run the world. In contrast, I wanted a church capable of reminding those who think they run the world that they are in the grip of a deep delusion." p.231

"Moreover, I do not trust intentional communities or people associated with them. They have to spend too much time reinventing the wheel. But Jon makes the Church of the Servant King in Eugene work. The church works because Jon does not have a pious bone in his body, so he and the church know they are no 'ideal.' The community stays healthy because with Jon at their center they have an appropriate sense of humor." p. 248 -- and I hope this describes my church and pastor too.

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