Monday, November 15, 2010

Stanley Hauerwas on campus (and IWU Religion Coffee Talk 2)

Stanley Hauerwas was on campus today for the undergraduate Fall Religion Colloquium. Here's the link to John Drury's summary of what he had to say.

While I was there, I thought of some more IWU Coffee talk.  The first was that we give each other knowing looks when people use "worldview" language.  It's not that we don't acknowledge presuppositions.  It's the overly cognitive and oversimplified use of them.

The second, mentioned in the first post, is an aversion to Barna's understanding of the church.  We love the local church and think a Christian out in the woods every Sunday worshipping God probably won't remain a Christian very long if s/he doesn't get back into a local assembly of believers.  Stanley Hauerwas put it today even more starkly than I would.  He believes that God mediates salvation through the church.

The third thing, which I remembered in conversation, is that the undergraduate faculty give each other knowing looks when people confuse John Wesley with the Wesleyan Church.  As K. Drury likes to say, Wesley is more our grandfather or even great-grandfather than our father.  Phoebe Palmer is more like our mother or grandmother even.

In short, we like Wesley but don't really care about those who want to correct the Wesleyan Church because it is not enough like John Wesley.  John Wesley didn't found the Wesleyan Church.  There is no need for any more dissertations about John Wesley.


Angie Van De Merwe said...

It seems like you suggest that the Wesleyan Church has become close-minded as to their origins. Has the Wesleyan Church has come to understand itself as a 'replacement' to the Roman Catholic Church as "The" true church in its vision and "call" of action to the believer? Are they are not concerned about what their roots really are, and do they not allow for diversity of opinion concerning those in the Wesleyan Church?

Are the "movers and shakers" in the Wesleyan Church affliated with the "Tea Party"? If so, then, how do they justify their aversion to those that defy what they understand to be the origins of our nation? It seems that if these people were consistant, then they would be more open to understanding John Wesley, as to the origins of their denomination.

Or are these "biblicists" who undermine both the true origins of Wesleyanism and America?

Ken Schenck said...

Angie, your train of thought is a great mystery to me.

I wrote the post in between things, as this comment, so I'm sure I could have expressed myself better.

There's just a certain person who comes to despise their nineteenth century holiness roots who seeks out the more respectable Wesley, as if to get back to Wesley is to find ourselves. There are so many dissertations on Wesley that I think it was Billy Abraham who said Wesley was done--there was nothing new to be said or explored about him.

It's just a good reminder that Wesley's grandparently genes are not as strong in us as our holiness parents'. In fact I resist the slavish study of any church historical figure (Luther, Calvin, Barth) as if these individuals unlocked all the secrets of God. I can think for myself, thank you very much.

And I would sign on with Randy Maddox of Duke to out-Wesley Wesley. For example, there are aspects of the Eastern fathers that would improve Wesley himself.

Just some quick feelings...

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Then, you are correct to say that Hauerwas's "tribalism" (denominationalism/sectarianism/"holiness"/ingroup) is what distinctifies the Wesleyan.

Experience is common among all humans, but not supernatural interpretations. And is this where the social sciences and the social institution of the Church uses Aristole's habit formation (or Kant's categorical imperative) as to virtue to "inform experience"....?