Saturday, 19 September 2009


I went to hear Stanley Hauerwas, who is one of the few living theologians any of whose work I know. He was talking about his youth, and also, which made me uncomfortable, about the breakdown of his marriage to a woman with bipolar disorder. (Although the last bit was because of a question someone asked.) The whole thing was very like a novel by Robertson Davies -- the small-town boy who travels a long way without ever quite leaving the small town behind him. He talked briefly about the theory of memoir writing, and was clearly going for the idea of drawing the events of his life together into themes and a progression. I think maybe that's why I felt quite so uncomfortable about the breakdown stuff; it seemed so much like something written, with his wife as a narrative character. I suppose this probably isn't his fault. Anyway, it was a very interesting evening, and I got to catch up with a good friend I haven't seen for ages, which was pleasant.

Stanley Hauerwas was brought up a Methodist in the baptist style, and talked about something I remember from my own youth, the worry that the preacher would feel like a failure if no one went up to be saved. I spent some of this afternoon talking to a young family member who has been in California on a worship course, and is very into signs and wonders. On the last day they all had a barbecue at the prophet's house. He's a sweet youth who has roughly half a brain. But is truth only for the intelligent? Probably to the same extent as only the beautiful can be loved.

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