« An Incipient Science of Subjectivity: Folk-Psychology & the Power of Psychoanalysis | Main | Bureaucrats are People »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Steve Shiffrin

Patrick, thanks for this. I think the comment from anonymous is dead
on and that Hauerwas is for the most part mystifying. The link Taryn
included to me shows how reactionary the Hauerwas line can become. I
bookmarked the site in which the essay on Hauerwas appears. Looks like
a very interesting sire.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

See too this: http://us-intellectual-history.blogspot.com/2011/09/dilemma-that-is-stanley-hauerwas.html


Not just an academic discussion when we heard Ron Paul say that "the churches" should take care of the 30 year old without health insurance. Only slightly less scary than those who applauded "let him die."

Steve Shiffrin

Thanks Taryn (the link worked) and Clark. Both very helpful comments.

Clark West

I've read only a smattering of Hauerwas, whose cantankerous turns of mind and phrase both please and sometimes annoy me--mea culpa for letting this get in the way of my reading him more!
IN any case, his book The State of the University has a very interesting chapter on poverty as it relates to both the church and the university, in which he champions the L'Arche community of Jean Vanier as something on which universities would do well to focus attention. In a meditation on Gregory Nazianzus' oration: On the Love of the Poor, he writes:

“But I also think any university that would be about the formation of people who can love the poor will need those who have learned ot live as the poor by living with the poor. It may well be, for example, that universities that desire to have what they teach be disciplined by the Gospel have at the center of their work a L’Arche home or a Catholic Worker house.”
Hauerwas' own parish, Church of the Holy Family in Durham, NC, does an impressive job of this work, and I know from my conversations with their current rector that he is committed fully to these ministries. Though he has a tendency to suggest that the church needs to be an alternate polis to the liberal welfare state, which he often excoriates for its failures to serve the neediest (who with a conscience doesn't?), his practice as a Christian is often, as you say Steve, more nuanced than his rhetoric. One simply can't be a part of programs like his parish has without insisting that the state has a duty to support agencies in local communities which serve the poor. The stark either/or of church as polis versus state as polis is broken down by the opening quotation from Oscar Romero which Hauerwas uses to start his essay on the poor and the university: "It is the poor who tell us what the polis is."
Hauerwas' book is here:

Taryn Mattice


will this work?

Steve Shiffrin

Taryn, thanks. I cant seem to get the link to work, but I am
interested to read the article.

Taryn Mattice

Steve, I've remembered this article by Willimon, who wrote books with Hauerwas, and was the Dean of the Chapel at Duke. http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/apr1992/v49-1-criticscorner.html Willimon quotes Hauerwas, and has little good to say about state-sponsored poverty programs. And, as you say here, seems to prefer conversation about charity.

I'm glad for the skewering of social justice liberals who give little, but I think he's wrong to confine the work of God to the work of the church.

The comments to this entry are closed.