God knows it is hard to make God boring, Stanley Hauerwas writes, but American Christians, aided and abetted by theologians, have accomplished that feat. Whatever might be said about Hauerwas-and there is plenty-no one has ever accused him of being boring, and in this book he delivers another jolt to all those who think that Christian theology is a matter of indifference to our secular society.
At once Christian theology and social criticism, this book aims to show that the two cannot be separated. In this spirit, Hauerwas mounts a forceful attack on current sentimentalities about the significance of democracy, the importance of the family, and compassion, which appears here as a literally fatal virtue. In this time of the decline of religious knowledge, when knowing a little about a religion tends to do more harm than good, Hauerwas offers direction to those who would make Christian discourse both useful and truthful. Animated by a deep commitment, his essays exhibit the difference that Christian theology can make in the shaping of lives and the world.
Stanley Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University. He is the author of numerous books, the most recent being In Good Company: The Church as Polis. He is also co-editor, with Alasdair MacIntyre, of a book series entitled "Revisions: Changing Perspectives in Moral Philosophy."
Preface 1 Introduction / Positioning: In the Church and University But Not of Either 5 Part I. Behind the Lines 1. Constancy and Forgiveness: The Novel as a School for Virtue 31 2. On Honor: By Way of a Comparison of Karl Barth and Trollope 58 3. Why Truthfulness Requires Forgiveness: A Commencement Address for Graduates of a College of the Church of the Second Chance 80 Part II. Engagements 4. The Democratic Policing of Christianity 91 5. Creation as Apocalyptic: A Tribute to William Stringfellow with Jeff Powell 107 6. Can a Pacifist Think About War? 116 7. Whose "Just" War? Which Peace? 136 8. Why Gays (as a Group) Are Morally Superior to Christians (as a Group) 153 9. Communitarians and Medical Ethicists: Or, "Why I Am None of the Above" 156 10. Killing Compassion 164 11. The Church and the Mentally Handicapped: A Continuing Challenge to the Imagination 177 Notes 187 Index 233