Friday, October 31, 2014

Stanley Hauerwas in a mournful sermon on Reformation Day in 1995:
Protestants look over to Christian tradition and say, ‘How much of this do we have to believe in order to remain identifiably Christian?’ That’s the reason why Protestants are always tempted to rationalism: we think that Christianity is to be identified with sets of beliefs more than with the unity of the Spirit occasioned through sacrament.  
Moreover, once Christianity becomes reduced to a matter of belief, as it clearly has for Protestants, we cannot resist questions of whether those beliefs are as true or useful as other beliefs we also entertain. Once such questions are raised, it does not matter what the answer turns out in a given case. As James Edwards observes, “Once religious beliefs start to compete with other beliefs, then religious believers are — and will know themselves to be — mongerers of values. They too are denizens of the mall, selling and shopping and buying along with the rest of us.” 
There are quite a few problems elsewhere in Hauerwas' sermon. But in the spirit of this section and in the spirit of Christian unity on this day that celebrates disunion, I'll leave aside the other parts.