I have written here before on evangelical immediatism (the assumption that we meet God in an unmediated way) as a toxic solvent that destroys the good we could gain by submitting ourselves to various aspects of Christian tradition.
For all that Stanley Hauerwas annoys me on a number of fronts, he sums up this issue pithily in the course of an interview about his recent memoir Hannah’s Child, with Wunderkammer Magazine: Continue reading
Christian Century Jason Byassee’s got a good answer to Hauerwas and other doomsayers. See his blog entry about the continued viability of the black church, here. It explains why he thinks that “the church – mainline, black, and much farther afield still than either – probably has a bit more left in the tank than headline grabbers like to let on.” It also contains links to interesting reflections on the current state of the black church in America.
Stanley Hauerwas continues his long-time screed against the American church as “too American.” What do you think? Does he go too far here? Not far enough? What is the value and what are the dangers of such categorical critique?
Truth in advertising: (1) I certainly recognize the syndrome he describes; (2) I deny that the church in America has entirely lost its mission, selling its spiritual heritage for a mess of nationalist pottage; (3) I feel Hauerwas’s sweeping critique is excessive and counterproductive. It stands to discourage American Christians and deter us from participating in our churches more than it helps us to participate well.
Feel free to call me out on this. I’m always ready to learn and be corrected.
This is the second of my “Grateful to the Dead: The Diary of Christian History Professor” series on Christianity Today International’s history site a few years back. It deals with the Christ-and-culture question:
#2: “All things to all men” or “Be ye separate”?
In the last installment of “Grateful to the Dead: The Diary of a Christian History Professor,” I took a cue from the Emergent movement and argued that we have to go back to the past to get to the future. (Some Emergents call this sort of thing “Vintage faith“; others, borrowing a phrase from the scholar of historical worship Robert Webber, use the term “Ancient-future faith.”)
More specifically, I argued that we need to read the lives of “the saints”—our forebears, who translated the gospel for their cultures by teaching, preaching, and especially living it—for clues to how we should be translating the gospel for our own cultures.
But now we face a serious question: Is the whole idea of “translating the gospel for culture” off-base to begin with? Continue reading
This chapter will begin by opening up Lewis’s use of medieval understandings of natural law over against modern utilitarianism and relativism (referencing his Abolition of Man, his Cambridge inaugural address “De Descriptione Temporum,” and Mere Christianity). Segueing to Aquinas’s Aristotelian virtue ethics, the chapter will then peer into the development of the famous medieval lists of seven cardinal virtues and seven deadly sins. It will then focus on the moral seriousness and concern for personal holiness reflected in the development of the sacrament of penance and the doctrine of purgatory. Finally, it will exegete “seven corporal acts of mercy” and “seven spiritual works of comfort,” and look at medieval attitudes and actions related to the poor. Continue reading
Posted in Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants
Tagged Abolition of Man, Alisdair McIntyre, Aristotle, C S Lewis, doctrine of purgatory, holiness, Jonathan Wilson, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Mere Christianity, new monasticism, relativism, sacrament of penance, seven cardinal virtues, seven deadly sins, Stanley Hauerwas, the poor, Thomas Aquinas, utilitarianism, virtue ethics