6 maj 2013

#115. Att försöka ändra frågan...

"When you are trying to change the question, you have to realize that many people are quite resistant to such a change. They like the answers they have. People who reacted so strongly against my work thought it unthinkable that I would criticize H. Richard Niebuhrs's types in Christ and Culture, or that I would question Reinhold Niebuhr's theological legitimating of 'democracy.' Over time it was probably the case that many such critics had not even read Richard or Reinhold, because their answers had become the air and water that sustained mainstream Protestantism in America. I wanted to change the questions because I thought the answers were suffocating the church.

Yet I was teaching in a seminary created by and dedicated to the continuation of mainstream Protestantism. I saw no reason to bite the hand that was feeding me, but neither did I want to lick it. I was not trying to tear down the liberal Protestant establishment, an unnecessary task in any case. It was doing such a good job self-destructing. Rather I was trying to help Christians begin to develop the habits necessary to sustain the church when most people assumed that 'being religious' was a good thing only if you did not take it too seriously. I was trying to suggest that Christianity is a good thing only if you take it seriously, which means, at the least, that Christians should raise their children to understand that they are part of a people who have a problem with war.

My assumption was that wherever Christians exist they are constituted by words and actions that should – but may not – make their lives difficult. Given, amongst other things, that Jesus and Paul provide obvious biblical warrant for this assumption, I thought it quite odd that Resident Aliens was received as a radical book. All Will and I did was suggest that actions as basic as preaching had radical implications. It is not as if we thought we were reinventing Christianity. We assumed the exact opposite. God can use even a church as accommodated as liberal Protestantism. We were trying to remind Christians that, in the word of Peter Maurin, we were sitting on a keg of dynamite. Of course, such a position can seem quite threatening to anyone committed to the status quo." (Hauerwas s. 208f)

  • Hauerwas, Stanley, 2010: Hannah's Child; A Theologian's Memoir. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co.

PS. Tack D.

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