More To Learn

Yesterday afternoon before class, I spent a little more than an hour at a lecture given by Stanley Hauerwas in honor of Jean Vanier (who himself contributed a series of reflections after the lecture). These two were together at Duke to conduct a workshop on “Living Gently In A Violent World” and to celebrate the publication of a book by that title on which they worked together. The lecture was vintage Hauerwas, and emphasized the work of Raimond Gaita; here’s an excerpt from Gaita’s A Common Humanity published in the Guardian); Vanier’s reflections (from which I will not try to quote) touched me deeply, as a pastor and as a person.
Hauerwas offered a sympathetic exposition of Gaita’s work, only at the end noting that Gaita signals a sort of hiatus, an aporia, precisely where the faithfulness of such figures as Jean Vainer (and Mother Teresa — Gaita’s chosen exemplar) stands to provide the enacted rationale for the pure love with which people demonstrate the sort of life Gaita finds admirable but inexplicable.
I’ll have to catch up on Gaita, now, but Stanley emphasized Gaita’s focal interest in the “pure love” that he saw as the only plausible alternative to an urbane condescension toward those who bear irremediable afflications; this, it seemed to me, provided any number of important clues for themes and arguments at the heart of my “beautiful theology” projects.

1 thought on “More To Learn

  1. I was able to go here them both Sunday night. Quite a presentation.

    Jean talked for a while about the story of L’Arche. Stanley’s talk was much shorter, but it focused on Gregory Of Nazianzus and his call for funding for a leprosarium. It was quite powerful. Gregory was convinced that we need the sick to teach us about Christ.

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