22 February 2008

Classic Hauerwas

Stanley Hauerwas is always good for a thought-provoking/outrageous comment or two. Here is a classic example from a lecture published in a recent edition of the Princeton Seminary Bulletin (thanks to Inhabitatio Dei for pointing it out):
I assume most of you are here because you think you are Christians, but it is not at all clear to me that the Christianity that has made you Christians is Christianity. For example:
  • How many of you worship in a church with an American flag? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
  • How many of you worship in a church in which the fourth of July is celebrated? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
  • How many of you worship in a church that recognizes Thanksgiving? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
  • How many of you worship in a church that celebrates January 1 as the “New Year”? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
  • How many of you worship in a church that recognizes “Mother’s Day”? I am sorry to tell you that your salvation is in doubt.
Of course the point he is making is that a lot of what passes for Christianity in America today is nothing more than thinly veiled worship of contemporary American values. A similar point might have been made in reply to the fury that greeted the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent speech on the relation of religion to the law in modern society.

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