Suggestions for questions for my Christianity Today interview with Stanley Hauerwas about Hannah's Child?
Update: Thursday, September 9. The interview is now posted:
Update: Monday, August 16, noon. I finished my interview and did a slightly different set of questions than those listed below. Thanks for all the good comments.
I'm interviewing Stanley Hauerwas for Christianity Today tomorrow (Monday, August 16th) about his memoir
Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir. I'm open to your suggestions for questions to ask him but keep them mostly about the book, memoir writing, and his life story.
Here are my draft questions so far:
- Some college students go away to college and lose their faith. But education played a huge role in your life and had the opposite effect. Mentors in college, books you read, and people at Yale, Notre Dame and Duke led you to Christ. How did the life of the mind help make and keep you a Christian?
- Some people dismiss your work as unrealistic because you call yourself a pacifist. John Stackhouse, in his book Making the Best of It, has understood you to be advocating for “cultural withdrawal” (p. 6-7). Nathan Kerr in his book Christ, History and Apocalyptic argues that you overreact to the civil religion found in American liberal mainline Protestantism by emphasizing church practices deeply rooted in the Christian tradition such as the Eucharist. Kerr argues that one can get the impression you are saying the Holy Spirit is only operative in church practices. What would you say to these type of criticisms that accuse you of burying your head in the sand?
- Some people assume that theologians like to pray in public and preach but these were acquired tastes for you in your fifties and sixties. What happened?
- One theme in your new memoir Hannah's Child is the importance of telling the truth. You describe the tough work you did with your father laying brick. Did you learn the importance of directness and telling the truth from the straight talk of fellow bricklayers in Texas in your youth? Did a tenure job in the university give you a unique opportunity to tell the truth?
- You have had your doctoral students become professors at Wheaton College, Westmont College, Bethel University, and Fuller Theological Seminary and other “evangelical” institutions. The church historian David Bebbington says the term “evangelical” is associated with four characteristics: crucicentrism, biblicism, activism, and conversionism. What parts of being an evangelical do you appreciate?
- Much of your work that builds upon Alasdair MacIntyre attempts to clear away common intellectual obstacles and objections to Christian faith. Is this what evangelicals would call “apologetics?”
- Following Karl Barth and John Howard Yoder, you urge that the Bible is crucial for the church. But you also urge Bible readers to utilize the wisdom of church’s tradition. How should Christians read the Bible as a church?
- You say at the end of your memoir Hannah’s Child that the process of writing helped you realize that you are in fact a Christian. [“As I shared this manuscript with friends along the way, someone asked me what I had learned in the process of writing Hannah's Child . . . But in fact what I have learned is quite simple--I am a Christian. How interesting” (p. 284)]. Did the process of reflecting on the events of your life give you perspective on the whole?
See also my category Stanley Hauerwas for more posts about Hauerwas.