Friday, November 5, 2010

Hauerwas on the church as true family

I love this from Methodist theologian and churchman Stanley Hauerwas!

We, as church, are ready to be challenged by the other. This has to do with the fact that in the church, every adult, whether single or married, is called to be a parent. All Christian adults have a parental responsibility because of baptism. Biology does not make parents in the church. Baptism does. Baptism makes all adult Christians parents and gives them the obligation to help introduce these children to the gospel.

From the beginning we Christians have made singleness as valid a way of life as marriage. What it means to be the church is to be a group of people called out of the world, and back into the world, to embody the hope of the Kingdom of God. Children are not necessary for the growth of the Kingdom, because the church can call the stranger into her midst. That makes both singleness and marriage possible vocations. If everybody has to marry, then marriage is a terrible burden. But the church does not believe that everybody has to marry. Even so, those who do not marry are parents within the church, because the church is now the true family. The church is a family into which children are brought and received. It is only within that context that it makes sense for the church to say, "We are always ready to receive children. We are always ready to receive children." The people of God know no enemy when it comes to children.

Quotes from "Abortion, Theologically Understood" in The Hauerwas Reader (pp. 612-3)


Kimberly said...

this is excellent...thanks! also interesting thoughts on Catholicism/ Protestantism...

Stephen Ley said...

Kim, glad you found the posts interesting. I'm sure with your work you have some insights on the Catholic/Protestant divide.