Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Fetish of the Family"?

Ordinary Time

Chasity is a sin qua non of lucidity and concentration. Any community capable of sustaining singleness as a way of life ... Yoder and Bonhoeffer both discover singleness is at the heart ... the most extraordinary thing that ... early Christians did that distinguished them from the Jews is that they didn't have to marry. I mean, you gotta remember that Jesus was not a good Jew. He was single, he walked around with twelve guys, you have to wonder whether he really understood his sexuality...

Followers of Jesus didn't have to marry. You may think, that was because they had negative attitudes about sex. They may have had negative attitudes about sex, but that's not why they didn't marry. The reason why they didn't is because you don't have to have a child to be a Christian. You don't have to have a child to be a Chrisitan, because we're an apocalyptic sect that grows by witness and conversion.

Just about every time Christians make a fetish of the family you can be sure that they don't believe in God anymore. It's because they don't want to witness to anyone about the truth of the gospel, they just want to make sure that their kids grow up thinking that they don't have another option but to go to the Reformed Chruch. Singleness is the absolute necessary correlative of the fact that the church is an evangelizing body that grows by witness and conversion. ... One generation God could call every Christian to the life of singleness and yet we believe that God would create the church anew through witness and conversion.

Think about what kind of community, What kind of practice that community must embody. Any community capable of sustaining singleness as a way of life must also be a community of trust made possible by speaking truth to one another...
- Stanley Hauerwas, lecture on the Sermon on the Mount. (Click here to download the mp3, the quote is from about 33:30)

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6 comments:

A said...

Wow, that is powerful stuff!

Thou almost convinceth me to become a Hauerwasite.

J Hearne said...

I stopped Dr. Hauerwas in the hall the other day and asked him how he liked my alma mater. He wanted to know what I majored in and I told him I double-majored in Religio and Philosophy. He had nothing but praise for the students, the philosophy faculty, the institution, and its educational goals. It was a proud moment for the Georgetonian on loan to Duke.

peregrinator said...

Of course, Professor Hauerwas' reflections on this would be more convincing had he not divorced and remarried himself.

This is not meant to be ad hominem as much as pointing out that after 20 years of a steady diet Stan, I have come to the conclusion that he proclaims a difficult Christian ethic that he himself seems unwilling or unable to live into himself.

It was a sobering last straw to realize that he, while articulating an ecclesiology of commitment to community and tradition, did his own church shopping and and left the Methodist Church to become (of all things) Episcopalian. (I could see if he became Catholic or Mennonite, as either of these would be the logical end of his ecclesiology, but TpECusa???)

I take Stan in the same way Kierkegaard once refered to his own writings: like cinnamon; a little adds needed spice and flavor, but you would not want to have your diet based on it.

Kyle said...

See, Antony, he does have his appeal.

Josh, I'm pleased he liked us. :0)

Peregrinator, your points are well made; I think there's a lot to the things he argues, but I see churches as "stumbling into" such an ethic at best rather than living into it. :-| I'd heard the rumor about his move to TpECusa, and was wondering if it's been written about anywhere. I find it... shocking. I do share your dismay.

Jim Olson said...

Hmm. Strangely, I agree. However, I'm married, and I prefer it to singleness.

-mike- said...

I read somewhere that he is attending an Eipscopal parish but remains witht he Methodists. As of last month, he was still a Methodist, according to the Christian Century.

I kind of like the ECUSA. Maybe it's just the diosces I'm in...