One of Rowan Williams' 2011 Books of the Year, Learning to Speak Christian is a collection of essays, lectuers and sermons by Stanley Hauerwas, one of the best known theologians and ethicists in the world.
The crucial challenge for theology is that when it is read the reader thinks, 'This is true.' Recognising claims that are 'true' enables readers to identify an honest expression of life's complexities. The trick is to show that theological claims - the words that must be used to speak of God - are necessary if the theologian is to speak honestly of the complexities of life. The worst betrayal of the task of theology comes when the theologian fears that the words he or she must use are not necessary.
This new collection of essays, lectures and sermons by Stanley Hauerwas is focused on the central challenge, risk and difficulty of this necessity - working with words about God and learning to speak Christian. The task of theology is to help us do things with words. 'God' is not a word peculiar to theology, but if 'God' is a word to be properly used by Christians, the word must be disciplined by Christian practice. It should, therefore, not be surprising that, like any word, we must learn how to say 'God'.
"Anything by Stanley Hauerwas is going to be worth reading, and his new collection of essays, Learning to Speak Christian (SCM Press) is a real treasury, including both sermons and articles, reflections on some fundamental Christian issues (‘Why Did Jesus Have to Die?’) and engagements with figures who have marked Hauerwas’s thought in one way or another, including MacIntyre and Bonhoeffer."--Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
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