RTN Theology #11: The Character of Virtue w/ Stanley Hauerwas

July 29, 2019
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RTN Theology #11 features “America’s Best Theologian” (according to Time Magazine), Stanley Hauerwas. Chris Breslin brings an intimate conversation from Dr. Hauerwas’ office at Duke Divinity School that touches on the recent passing of his friend, Jean Vanier, the life of the church in the era of Trump, and what it means to become people of virtue and character. Professor and author, Dave Fitch chimes in with some of his favorite Hauerwasisms and the ways that Dr. Hauerwas has shaped his life and work. He also shares his most recent book project, The Church of Us vs. Them. We’re also treated to a special reading of a chapter on the virtue of Justice by Stanley Hauerwas from his recent book of letters written to his Godson. Throughout the episode are selections from Deeper Well Music Collective’s (Portland, OR) new release, Volume III.

Bibliography: Essential Hauerwas

The Character of Virtue

Featured book of letters written every year on the occasion of his godson’s birthdays. Each chapter explores the wisdom of a seasoned theologian communicating to a child about such serious matters as Truthfulness, Kindness, Patience, Justice, Hope, Courage, and Joy.

Resident Aliens (with Will Willimon)

Written with fellow Duke theologian Will Willimon, this classic book is a diagnosis and challenge for the Church to “be the Church” in an increasingly post-Christendom society. This book was ahead of its time and remarkable for it’s bracing hope.

Prayers Plainly Spoken

A compilation of written prayers before Dr. Hauerwas’ lectures, touching on current events and concerns of students. This reveals just how human, intimate, and relevant academic theology is and can be.

Hannah’s Child

Stanley Hauerwas’ memoir. As you read you begin to understand how someone so committed to Story has been formed by the stories of his family, place, relationships, and institutions, and above all God’s Story.

Living Gently in a Violent World (with Jean Vanier)

Hauerwas and Jean Vanier trade chapters in this beautiful and accessible volume of Intervarsity Press’ Resources for Reconciliation, which pairs a theologian with a practicioner.

Matthew (a Theological Commentary)

This commentary on the first canonical gospel is worth the price just for Stanley’s narration of the sermon on the mount (ch 5-7).

Cross-Shattered Christ

A great personal or group devotional meditating on the seven last words of Jesus on the Cross.

Next-level Hauerwas

A Community of Character

The beginning of Stanley Hauerwas’ academic career. This sets the agenda and pace for much of what’s to come.

 Approaching the End

Hauerwas waxes eschatological, considering the end of scripture, time, career, “Christian society,” and life.

 God, Medicine, & Suffering

A book considering specific theological-ethical questions related to medicine, health, disability, and dying.

 The Hauerwas Reader

Essential essays featuring such notably provocative titles such as “Sex in Public: How Adventurous Christians Are Doing It (1978),” “Should War Be Eliminated? A Thought Experiment (1984)” & “Why Gays (as a Group) Are Morally Superior to Christians (as a Group) (1993).”

 The Peaceable Kingdom

Stanley’s primer/textbook on Christian ethics.

 Performing the Faith: Bonhoeffer and the Practice of Nonviolence

Engagement with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and pacifism.

 The Work of Theology

By categorizing theology as a craft more akin to bricklaying than philosophizing, Hauerwas opens up some of the trade secrets to the sort of practice that it takes to “do theology” well.

 Becoming Human by Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier’s vision for hospitality and vulnerability that acts as a challenging and radical call to change and action.

 Community and Growth by Jean Vanier

Vanier’s treatise on the importance and necessity of cultivating and living in community.

 The Church of Us vs. Them by David Fitch (audiobook via Libro.fm)

Professor and Pastor David Fitch attempts to identify and break down the antagonisms that divide the church and society in this new book from Baker.

 Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines That Shape the Church for Mission by David Fitch

A creative reimagining of the Church’s sacraments for the life of the world.

Music by Deeper Well

A ministry of Door of Hope Church in Portland, OR. Deeper Well was formed in 2012 as a collective for followers of Jesus who want to use their creative gifts to explore the depths of the Gospel. Pay what you want for their releases via Bandcamp.


Music by Wesley Randolph Eader.

Music by Evan Thomas Way.

Other Episodes in the RTN Theology Series:
RTN Theology #1: The Intersection of Christianity & Culture in the United States
RTN Theology #2: Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?
RTN Theology #3: A Conversation with Kate Bowler
RTN Theology #4: Kutter Callaway on Reconstructing Our Cultural and Spiritual Norms.
RTN Theology #5: Jeremy Begbie on Theology Of And Through the Arts
RTN Theology #6 The Road to Hope? The Challenges of Faith in Politics
RTN Theology #7 Remembering Walter B. Jones: Living by Faith and by Truth
RTN Theology #8 Elizabeth Seton and Catholics in Early America w/ Catherine O’Donnell
RTN Theology #9: Burying White Privilege: Resurrecting a Badass Christianity w/ Miguel De La Torre
RTN Theology #10: The Life and Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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