Friday, February 26, 2010

Post 7: With The Grain of The Universe

So sorry that I have not written in a while. School has been absolutely insane and I have started working at Fuller's Library which has taken up a good amount of time.
          Two weeks ago we delved into Stanley Hauerwas's Gifford Lectures in the book With Teh Grain of The Universe. I have only had a small amount of interaction with Hauerwas so I was very excited to read his work. I must add that although I disagree with Hauerwas on some key issues, he is a phenomenal scholar and extremely exciting to read. There is something about his writing that is captivating. I'm not sure if any of you have ever seen him lecture, but he is an extremely good public speaker and his energy vitality come out in his writing as well.
         We had a very good conversation in our seminar about his book. The mood of the room was about the same for everyone. We liked somethings and disliked others. Hauerwas examines what he considers to be three of the greatest Gifford Lecturers William James, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Karl Barth. Our focus was mainly on the last three chapters of the book where he deals with Barth. Hauerwas does a fine job criticizing James' misunderstanding of Christianity and Niebuhr's natural theology. He is fair in his critique and shows both the positive and negative sides of James and Niebuhr. When it comes to his thoughts on Barth, he takes over as the hero of the story. Although Hauerwas takes issue with Barth's view on the work Spirit as well as his ecclesiology, Hauerwas champions Barth for his rejection of natural theology and his consistent Christo-centrism. I don't have many negative things to say about Hauerwas other than his interpretation of Barth's Pneumatology as well as his view of Barth's ecclesiology are not fully sufficient. He fails, as many people do, to give Barth's Pneumatology the robustness that it is due. Hauerwas also goes farther than Barth in his ecclesiology, seeing the Church as the sole vehicle by which the Spirit works in creation. He moves from Barth's Christo-centrism to an ecclesial-centrism.
         Altogether Hauerwas does a really nice job and I would highly recommend reading his Gifford Lectures, they are filled with a wealth of knowledge