Thursday, 5 August 2010
Discovering Stanley Hauerwas
I cannot remember exactly when I first encountered Stanley Hauerwas but it was sometime probably during 1982 when I was working for Zadok as an editor/researcher and had plenty of excuses to range widely in my theological reading. Aside from his own provoking explorations of what it is to be a Christian I have also benefited from following up on books that he has recommended and from the theological work of many of his students. I have also enjoyed his company at a couple of conferences and events on a couple of his trips to Australia. He was in person a delightfully accessible person open to conversation with anyone who wanted to engage with him, not standing on the dignity of being a famous academic.
This book is memoir of his life as a theologian and how that life in theology lead him to become a Christian. What's the difference between a memoir and an autobiography you may ask?
A memoir is not a sequenced account of life but the telling of stories that have given a life its internal shape. A biography will have to wait. In the mean time we have a memoir that is powerful in its honesty and truthfulness in its account of how being a theologian has been Stnaley's path to discover what it is and what ite means to be a Christian.
As a long term reader of Stanley's theology what is particularly striking has been the significance of the experience of class for his life and thought. This is a book which is accessible to readers well beyond the theological and academic world. It is a telling of the stories of significant moments in his life and a testimony to friendship and the friends who sustained him through many years of pain arising from the mental illness of his wife.