Same God, Different Freedoms?

Ryan T. Woods reports on the case of Dr. Larycia Hawkins and the fraught

entanglement of religious freedom and academic freedom at a Wheaton College. Continue Reading →

In the News: Saints, Slavery, Celibacy, and more!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

In the News: Passover, Prison, Pop Music , and more!

A round-up of recent religion and media stories in the news. Continue Reading →

In The News: A Muslim girl superhero, Navajo Mormons, Uighurs, Pat Robertson, and more!

A round-up of recent religion & media news. Continue Reading →

Tea Party Theology

From “Is the Tea Party becoming a religious movement?” by Jeff Sharlet at CNN.

Liberals and centrists wring their hands over Miller and giggle about O’Donnell, hoping that her political hopelessness somehow proves that the movement isn’t going. They compile lists of what they take to be her craziest statements, such as her confession that as a young woman she dabbled in witchcraft.

That’s a strategic mistake, because they’re mocking what is, in fact, a mainstream evangelical view — that witchcraft and “spiritual war” are real — and a narrative with powerful resonance in American life. Consider not O’Donnell’s words, but her theme: Once I was lost (making bad choices), but now I’m found. Who didn’t do something stupid in their youth?

But it’s the “found” part that reveals the religiosity of the Tea Party movement, spirituality not at odds with the Tea Party’s economics but intertwined with it.

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He Is Stanley Hauerwas

Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (2010) $24.99

Reviewed by Jack Downey

Stanley Hauerwas finds himself in a terrible predicament: he’s a famous American theologian. Perhaps the most famous American theologian. This may or may not mean he’s actually famous by conventional standards, but he seems plenty concerned. He has made himself a very fine career as an iconoclastic ethicist, condemning assimilationist Christianity, academic “respectability,” the military, ill treatment of the differently-abled, and any number of other contemporary issues where Christian mediocrity is laid bare. He has done this largely as a tenured faculty member of the University of Notre Dame and, most recently, Duke Divinity School (with a joint appointment at Duke Law). In 2001, this self-proclaimed institutional “outsider” was anointed “America’s best theologian” by Time magazine. What’s more, he has become an adjective – the benchmark of the bona fide “public intellectual,” a category that Hauerwas disdains. For all his Hauerwasian jeremiads, this “Christian contrarian” has developed a very “respectable” life. Along the way, he has acquired a devoted, often impressively credentialed, and sometimes annoyingly obsessive, personality cult, as well as a laundry list of theological and administrative enemies. Churchill might well have described him as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Or, he’s a hypocritical narcissist. He might acknowledge that he is both, but most likely he would prefer to respond simply that he is a Christian. He is “Stanley Hauerwas,” and Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir wrestles with the stark fact that his name itself carries hefty intellectual baggage, and what that means for Hauerwas the Christian disciple.
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