On Hauerwas

In seminary, I learned not to say anything negative about Stanley Hauerwas, the theologian: his legions of rabid devotees will never give you a moment’s rest. This, with Hauerwas’s high-handed brand of Quietism, was enough to make me lose interest in him instantly, even if was all the rage.

Priest and blogger Chris Tessone (Even the Devils Believe) isn’t so timid — he and I had lunch today; nice to speak with someone in shorthand liturgese — and laid into the great S.H. in a Independence Day post called “The Church and the Fourth“. Tell him Scott sent you.

Categorized as Theology

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Chris is great. We’re blogger friends and now IRL friends too and recently had our own brief chat about Hauerwas — at whom I am still furious for trashing, in public, the entire younger generation (youth/early young adults) in a plenary session at the Catholic Theological Society of America annual meeting. (He was the honored ecumenical guest speaker that year, two or three meetings ago.) I don’t care how cute he or anyone thinks that is. First of all, it’s rude. Second of all, what he said was untrue. (I teach undergrads and though some of them may be irritating –as we oldsters are!– I will not have them insulted in this way.) Third, if he’s a nonviolence advocate, which he is, he has no business behaving with this kind of violent language.

    I know he’s an Important Ethicist, but he did not help his credibility with me that day.

    And “Oh, that’s just Stanley being Stanley” doesn’t fly with me, either.


  2. I got lucky I guess. My Intro. to Theology prof. and Hauerwas are in an ongoing argument, so when we read H. in class we had a great time disagreeing with the “great” man.

    I’ll have to tell James about this. Thanks for the info.

  3. I first encountered Hauerwas as a guest speaker at the independent Mormon intellectuals’ conference, Sunstone, in Salt Lake City in 1990 or ’91, where he was sitting in the back of one conference session using some of George Carlin’s seven words during someone else’s presentation. It did not generate a favorable impression of him for me.

  4. Don’t forget SH’s piece in the UU Christian Journal in the “What Others See About Us” issue, I think the shortest of all the pieces…We have plenty of the issues for sale for $5 each; order online now at http://www.uuchristian.org. Okay, plug aside, I love someone you can and have to argue with; I love his pacifism, these days, and taking on Neihaus of First Things; I love his reminding the world of John Yoder. Not to negate any of the impressions above either.

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