Learning to speak Christian

Stanley Hauerwas reflects on the challenges of learning how to “speak Christian” at the ABC News Religion blog:


By Stanley Hauerwas

Posted at ABC News’s Religion and Ethics

I have spent a lifetime, for better or worse, as a teacher. No doubt I deserve to be judged, as the letter of James in the New Testament suggests, with greater strictness because I have surely made many mistakes.

But I am also sure that, to the extent I have learned to speak truly, I have done so because I have had to teach others how Christians in the past have spoken.

In truth, I have only come recently to understand that what I have been doing for many years has been teaching people how to talk.

I was startled by a remark a friend made to me recently. He is a graduate student in anthropology with whom I was writing a paper, in which we tried to challenge the presumption that “global Christianity” was an adequate description of what it means for the church to be “Catholic.”

He told me that, when he is asked by his colleagues what it was like to write with me, he has to say it is not easy because, in his words, “Hauerwas only knows how to write Christian.”

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