Friday, October 06, 2006


Ordinary Time
William Tyndale

This has been a slow reading week. I promised I'd read and write about Spencer Burke's new book, but so far I disagree with every single premise he offers for his arguments. We'll see. Oh, this will be good. I've used my time to finally organize my lecture notes (all of them!) from college and grad school so I'll finally know where stuff is.

I finished Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow at Brennan Hancock's recommendation. Really, how could I turn down something described to me as "Jesuits in Outer Space"? It's a good, suspenseful read. It's not as deeply philosophical as I thought, but it does raise issues of divine providence and tragedy. And really, for a good novel, what more could you want?

When Monday comes around, I'm going to start spending the mornings at LTS' library again.

As I mentioned earlier, Jesse and I made it to Georgetown for the Hauerwas lecture. He said the lecture, "Sacrificing the Sacrifices of War" was meant to honor combat veterans, and he spoke of the strange intimacy that comes with killing together, and how difficult it makes readjustment to civilian lives. Some military psychologists have talked about how marriages get destroyed afterwards because they cannot cope with the expectations of intimacy that were forged on the battlefield. I wouldn't have thought of any such thing.

The bottom line? Christians cannot appropriately make a sacrifice for a country or a cause. The one meaningful sacrifice for Christians was made by Christ at Calvary, and we are joined to that in the celebration of the Eucharist. Anything above that is a lie. Because Christ is the only sacrifice, we don't have to sacrifice ourselves for other competing narratives that seek to give our lives meaning. As he often says, the Church does not have a social ethic, the Church is a social ethic. We demonstrate that one does not have to kill, because we will not kill. Does that mean we won't be killed? Of course not. Consistant convictions will bring suffering, he says.

We had lunch with the Jaspers, Jarrod, and the Mullikins. It was a good time. So many people get all hot and bothered about religious convictions, that it was great to just sit back, talk about what had been said, debate, agree, and disagree without anybody being angry that someone disagreed. Nobody had to be assured that it was okay for them to talk, and nobody tried to preach. Not even me.

Pretty sweet.

Somehow I continue to fraternize with the dastardly PHAs. Zac Bailes came over for dinner the other day, as did the other Kyle (not a PHA). We prayed the hours like big ol' Catholics. I'm hoping he lets me put some cantankerous opinion pieces in the school paper. I need people to pay attention to me!

Today I'm reading, and working at the bookstore. Woohoo!


James Church said...

Out of interest did Hauerwas give any directions for how to pull out of Iraq? I mean it is easy for the church to say don't go in, or even when the war is being lost to say pull out (as many are doing) but we need to have a pattern for bringing peace not leaving war. I am alarmed that the growing anti-war movement is largely concerned with avoiding the loss of soldiers lives rather than the Christian position of non-violence because violence is itself wrong. i.e. an understanding of virtue ethics rather than a utilitarian understanding of ethics.

If we join protests about the war are we lending support for self-preservation which flys in the face of sacrificial Christian peace?

Anonymous said...

1. I am glad to hear that so far you disagree with every single premise of Spencer Burke. That's my boy!

2. Excellent reflections from and on Hauerwaus. The way you write about him almost convinces me to actually read one of his books, and find out more.

3. Uh...I should probably know (and maybe I do), but please pardon my middle-aged ignorance (if that is what it is); what exactly is a "PHA"?


Anonymous said...

PS: Oh, and on your "commemorations" for today, you forgot St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusians. Oh, but maybe I'm just being way too Catholic and monastic....

Anonymous said...

Delightfully subersive. Disengaging from (Big-E Evangelical) society's Christian militarism seems to entail so many other changes in ways of thinking that I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

So... yay, SF book! I'll have to read this one.

Kyle said...

James, I don't think all the theologians should have to be political scientists before they're allowed to be theologians.

I also don't think it was easy for the church to say "don't go in." The Southern Baptists - the largest Prot denomination in this country were complete hawks, and the others were completely ignored.

Hauerwas also didn't say anything about death counts - only that violence is wrong for disciples of Jesus.

Antony, Burke is killing me. Every chapter just makes me want to go play video games. Violent ones. :0) 5 years ago, Hauerwas and Willimon's Resident Aliens might well have pissed you off. Now...? Anyway, the book is a great introduction to his thinking and some of its implications for the Church.

A PHA is an independant fraternity (non-greek) that was started at Georgetown College about 40 years ago. Lots of the Christian students join it. (Somewhere around half of G'town students are in 'social organizations.')

Emo Jesse, as Stan would say, the Church's job is not to make the world work better, but to be the Church, and to let the world know it's the world.