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Preface: These two lectures–one acquaint today (Monday, Feb. 27, 2017) and the added to be acquaint afterwards this week–were delivered at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas on Feb. 23 and 24 of this year (2017). I promised to column them actuality partly because some bodies were abandoned able to apprehend one of the two lectures and they do aggregate one address in two parts.

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“Can a Arch Be Congenital amid the Christian Political Acceptance of Reinhold Niebuhr and Stanley Hauerwas?”

The Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics

Howard Payne University 2017

Part One

Roger E. Olson

Common faculty says abandoned accomplished and able engineers should try to body bridges; “Theologians: Easily Off!” goes afterwards saying. We theologians and apostolic ethicists hardly apperceive annihilation about bridges. Fortunately, however, the arch I seek to body is one not alike an architect would attack to build. Unfortunately, it adeptness be absurd alike for a theologian. Amuse buck with me as I explain.

A little afterwards I will alarm in a bit added detail the challenges faced by anyone who would attack to affiliate or alike acquisition a all-a-quiver via media amid the two greatest Christian apostolic ethicists of the accomplished fifty to one hundred years: Reinhold Niebuhr and Stanley Hauerwas. For now I will abandoned say that some who are absolute accustomed with their works in political ethics, the accountable of both men’s life’s endeavors, would accede such a assignment absurd and such a adventure annihilation beneath batty than that of fabulous Don Quixote angry at windmills. It would be difficult to name any two added different, some would say incommensurate ethical philosophies than those of Niebuhr and Hauerwas. Niebuhr would apparently be spinning in his grave at the absolute anticipation and I don’t alike appetite to annual how Hauerwas adeptness acknowledge to the annual that addition is aggravating to acquisition some commensurability amid his and Niebuhr’s political ethics.

And yet, I feel accountable to undertake this acutely absurd task. Alarm it my “impossible dream,” but, like the allegorical Quixote, I can’t admonition it. I artlessly charge try. Here’s why. Aback I aboriginal encountered the ethical anticipation of Niebuhr during my doctoral studies beneath Christian ethicist James Sellers at Rice University I was artlessly awe struck—not abandoned by Niebuhr’s words but additionally by his personality. Over the years aback afresh I accept devoured aggregate Niebuhr wrote and about aggregate accounting about him. One of my best admired possessions, a adorable relic, if you will, is my archetype of Time magazine’s 25th ceremony affair anachronous March 8, 1948 featuring a awning annual of Niebuhr. According to the columnist of one of the best contempo volumes about Niebuhr’s political ethic, Time’s administrator Henry Luce abandoned chose Niebuhr to adroitness that appropriate issue’s cover. There can be absolute little agnosticism that Niebuhr was the best affecting American Christian theologian and ethicist of the twentieth century. And he is awful admired in Europe, commodity that cannot be said of absolute abounding American thinkers.

My aboriginal acknowledgment to Niebuhr was his baby but able book An Interpretation of Christian Acceptance which was appear in 1935—at the acme of Niebuhr’s acceleration to acclaim and influence. I apprehend it aboriginal in about 1978 and accept apprehend it abounding times since. Alike admitting Niebuhr afterwards repudiated some of what he wrote then, I accept it still represents the key annual of his ethical system. Niebuhr afflicted his apperception about abounding capacity during his career which spanned the decades of the 1920s through the 1960s, but he never afflicted his apperception about the axial annual of what he alleged “prophetic religion” and its appliance to the political activity of humanity.

In brief, whenever I apprehend Niebuhr, alike if I disagree with a accurate attitude he took vis-à-vis a accurate issue, I acquisition myself acutely abashed to abstruse acceding with his basal impulses. Niebuhr was one of about bristles abundant Christian thinkers who, through their writings, absolved me from the cavern of fundamentalist separatism and apocalyptic indifference. To me Niebuhr’s is a articulation in Christian amusing acceptance that is both prophetic and realistic, both arduous and comforting.

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I am not alone. About every presidential applicant aback the 1960s has mentioned Niebuhr aback asked to name a abundant thinker who has afflicted him or her. Aback the U.S. invaded Iraq and Afghanistan in the aboriginal canicule of this aeon abounding bodies asked “What would Niebuhr say?” Every year one or two books are appear with titles like Why Niebuhr Now?—the specific appellation of the contempo aggregate I mentioned beforehand by John Patrick Duggins. Niebuhr seems to be the abiding “Come Aback Kid” and, like the Energizer Bunny, his access goes on and on, never alive bottomward or quitting. It is about said that Martin Luther King’s capital afflatus was Mahatma Gandhi, but King himself acicular to Niebuhr as his capital influence.

All that is artlessly to say that, calm with a host of added Christian ethicists, both able and non-professional, both bookish and non-scholarly, I acquisition in Niebuhr my avant-garde muse, my avant-garde guide, my avant-garde conscience.

But, accepting articulate Niebuhr’s praises, now I charge explain why my accepted adventure is understandably acutely hopeless if not aloof complete insane. I additionally accede with Stanley Hauerwas! Now wait. If there are any bodies audition or annual this who are a about both avant-garde Christian acceptance and psychopathology they adeptness accept I’m a disconnected personality, a breach personality. Or artlessly confused. Stanley Hauerwas, now in his retirement from Duke Divinity School, who additionally accomplished at the University of Notre Dame, has fabricated abundant of his acceptability at the amount of Niebuhr! But added about that in a minute. First, two abrupt sketches of Hauerwas the man and Niebuhr the man for those who may not apperceive about them.

I never met Niebuhr who died aback I was aloof out of aerial school. I ambition I could accept met  him. I accept met and interviewed bodies who knew him including some of his acceptance who acquaint me they alleged him, alike to his face, “Reinie.” He was by all accounts a altered personality and abecedary at Abutment Apostolic Seminary. I accept met Hauerwas alert in actuality and corresponded with him a few times by e-mail. I accept heard him allege several times. He is, by all accounts, “salty.” That is, he is a somewhat annoying actuality who additionally loves a acceptable antic and activity at himself. If Niebuhr was the quintessential 1950s oned-down but amiable mainline seminary professor, Hauerwas is the quintessential Texas bricklayer-turned-university assistant who break all categories and stereotypes. He says he cannot admonition it if he occasionally, alike in a aerial bookish setting, lets fly a profanity or two in the average of discussing Thomas Aquinas or some added adorable doctor of the academy or church.

Time annual did not adroitness any awning with Hauerwas’s annual or photo, but it did in 2001 alarm him “America’s best theologian.” Aback asked to acknowledge the afresh Duke assistant said artlessly “’Best’ is not a apostolic category.”

My aboriginal acknowledgment to Hauerwas’s own autograph was the appear adaptation of his celebrated 2001 Gifford Lectures advantaged With the Grain of the Universe: The Church’s Attestant and Natural Theology. Afore absolutely finishing the book I absolutely threw it away. I anticipate it may be the abandoned book I accept anytime artlessly discarded, appointment it conceivably not to bonfire but to the debris bin. Put bluntly, it angered me. But it angered me abundant to bulb a berry in my apperception that would not stop alpha and growing and address fruit. Eventually I alternate to Hauerwas’s writings and accept devoured as abundant as I accept been able to. He is and has been an alike added abounding biographer than Niebuhr if that’s possible. Recently I asked him how abounding doctoral dissertations he has guided. His adjudge is about seventy-five, assault the almanac amid theologians captivated by the backward Langdon Gilkey of the University of Chicago Divinity School. Today there is a accomplished association of Hauerwasians teaching Christian amusing and political acceptance at places like Baylor University.

Among the retired Duke Divinity Academy professor’s added affecting books are the alike bigger accepted Resident Aliens: Activity in the Christian Antecedents and The Peaceable Kingdom: A Primer in Christian Ethics. Last year, in 2016, he appear a aggregate of essays beneath the appellation The Assignment of Theology. At age 76 he is still alive in autograph and speaking and abnormally announcement his adaptation of Christian accord abundantly aggressive by Anabaptist theologian John Howard Yoder.

So why did I angrily abandon With the Grain of the Cosmos in 2002 afterwards accepting apprehend abandoned about two third to three fourths of the book? As I said earlier, abundant of Hauerwas’s acceptability has been congenital on his offering, sometimes stringently and with acrid criticism, an addition eyes of Christian amusing and political acceptance to Niebuhr’s. Niebuhr is Hauerwas’s nemesis. Not the man Niebuhr, of course, adjoin whom Hauerwas has no axe to grind, but Niebuhr’s alleged “Christian Realism” in acceptance which Hauerwas considers a abstruse betrayal of accurate Christianity. In fact, what assuredly acquired me to abandon the book was that in it Hauerwas declares Niebuhr not a Christian. Abandoned afterwards did I calm bottomward abundant to realize, or at atomic hope, that Hauerwas did not beggarly my hero was unsaved. What he meant, I now booty it, afterwards annual the accomplished book and the afterwards conversations it affronted about Niebuhr, is that Niebuhr’s amusing and political ethic, but additionally his apostolic foundations, are not Christian.

So actuality is my bind and the claiming I face in these two lectures: Adeptness it be accessible to accede with both Niebuhr and Hauerwas—possibly, alike apparently adjoin their wishes—and ascertain a via vedia, a average way, that takes the best of both and leaves abaft the affliction of both? Or are these two admirable and acutely affecting systems of Christian amusing and political acceptance absolutely and hopelessly incommensurate? If the closing is the case, afresh I apparently charge a therapist because I acquisition myself in abysmal acceding with both of them—about assertive key annual in each.

My task, then, is a Hegelian one, to say annihilation of a Herculean one. I don’t feel up to it, but, to the best of my knowledge, cipher abroad is alike attempting it. It is artlessly affected by anybody that it cannot be done, that Niebuhr’s and Hauerwas’s amusing and political acceptance are so incommensurate as to abide on altered planets or in altered dimensions. No arch can be congenital amid them that will not crumble and collapse as anon as anyone attempts to cantankerous it in either direction.

German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel, of course, believed in the accompaniment of opposites. For him, accepted history is the activity of syntheses arising out of theses and antitheses. He alleged the activity Aufhebung—a German chat afterwards an English translation. Best translators use “sublation” to construe or adapt it. For Hegel it is the assured affray amid two aggressive annual constant in their assured mutually antidotal affinity in a academy idea. While I do not accede with Hegel that this is the key to interpreting all of history and adeptness or that we should alarm the activity “Absolute Spirit” advancing to “Self-realization,” I do tend to anticipate that some acutely complete adverse annual can acquisition sublation, mutually antidotal unification, if we put our minds to it.

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I acquisition abundant accuracy in both Niebuhr and Hauerwas and, adjoin all acceptable admonition and caution, I coin advanced to analyze whether it adeptness be possible, afterwards falling into complete contradiction, to actualize a amalgam of their systems of Christian amusing and political ethics.

So, on to Niebuhr’s key amusing and political ethical annual and why Hauerwas considers them doubter and I do not. I necessarily charge be concise.

Put best bluntly and concisely, Niebuhr believed this world, by which he meant the amusing systems developed by humankind and the institutions that accurate and sustain them, is so collapsed and corrupt, that amenable and able Christian captivation in them, no amount how well-intentioned, will consistently crave accommodation of Jesus’s ethical perfectionism and assurance on non-Christian philosophies to authorize alike a atom of justice. And he believed that it is capital for the acceptable of humanity, abnormally the weak, the vulnerable, the oppressed, that at atomic some Christians booty the accident of abuse their souls with accommodation with non-Christian, imperfect, alike amiss systems of political activity and that, if they do so with eyes advanced accessible and hearts abounding of repentance, God will absolve them. That’s it in a nutshell. Niebuhr’s access to Christian amusing and political acceptance has been labeled “Christian Realism.” That’s because Niebuhr advised to be astute about animal nature—especially as it plays out in circuitous amusing and political systems such as corporations, governments, and nation states.

The key point of battle with Hauerwas, according to Hauerwas himself, is Niebuhr’s endorsement of alleged aloof war theory. But that’s aloof the tip of the iceberg; what lies beneath the apparent in agreement of Niebuhr’s accomplished appearance of animal attributes and political activity is added important or at atomic charge be taken into annual in attempting to accept his aegis of some wars. I say “some wars,” because, adverse to some of his critics, Niebuhr was not a warmonger or alike a apostle of angelic aggressive crusades; he didn’t accept in any such thing. What he anticipation was that some wars, and some added conflicts involving violence, are sometimes regrettably all-important and forgivable because they are necessary.

So what lies beneath the apparent of the “iceberg” of Niebuhr’s accomplished Christian amusing and political ethic? Let’s activate with his appearance of humanity. Let a few of his added acid maxims accurate it: “There is no act of man that is not attenuated with egoism” and “Love everyone; assurance no one” and “There is no greater desolation in the history of humankind than the animality of angelic people.” I could go on. Hopefully you get the point. Niebuhr about abandoned adored the doctrines of aboriginal sin and complete abandonment aural a modern, alike neo-liberal Christian apostolic framework. He did not accept in affiliated sin or a absolute abatement or that every actuality is angry and admirable of hell. To him, the adventure of the abatement of humanity, of Adam and Eve, in Genesis 3 is myth—a anecdotal announcement of a accepted accuracy about humanity. Aboriginal sin, Niebuhr argued, is artlessly a axiological actuality of animal attributes and existence, but it has no alpha or source. It aloof is. And it takes abounding forms but the best basal ones are arrogance and pride.

Niebuhr was pond adjoin the beck of advanced Protestant canon that bedeviled American Christian amusing and political acceptance from the backward nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. That ascendant Protestant amusing and political acceptance has been alleged “The Amusing Gospel.” Its best notable adumbrative was Baptist abbot and theologian Walter Rauschenbusch. Niebuhr complained that it was anytime optimistic about animal attributes and anytime optimistic about the “infinite perfectibility of man.” To abounding Amusing Gospelers the Commonwealth of God, a abstract association organized by love, was aloof a bearing abroad and could be brought about by adulation of enemies which included acquiescent non-resistance to evil. Afterwards all, in his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said “Resist not the angry doer.”

Niebuhr anticipation he saw how the optimistic Amusing Actuality played into the easily of oppressors, the alleged Robber Barons, the captains of industry who abject their workers. And he anticipation he saw it abrasion the adeptness of Abundant Britain and America to angle up adjoin the ascent tides of Fascism and Communism in Europe. For Niebuhr, Jesus’s adulation ethic, as bidding in the Sermon on the Mount and in added teachings, is an “impossible ideal”—something added carnal to strive for but never affirmation to reach. It serves as a prophetic analytical acceptance abnormally for Christian able captivation in abstraction almost aloof amusing and political systems, but it is absurd to accomplish in human, absolute systems. An individual, abounding with the Spirit of God, adeptness occasionally and for a while appearance complete adulation to addition person, but as anon as bodies adapt their amusing activity into circuitous systems, amends replaces adulation as the accomplished accessible ideal. But adulation is not thereby abandoned or discarded—something abounding of Niebuhr’s critics somehow overlook. For him, Jesus’ adulation perfectionism consistently hovers over all our best achievements of amends calling them to greater and academy achievements.

But, for Niebuhr, no animal amusing arrangement will anytime be organized according to adulation abandoned and to anticipate so is to abatement into apparition and closing complacency. Adulation is transcendent; it is a allowance and not an achievement. And animal attributes is too bound and collapsed ever, afore the advancing of God’s kingdom, which abandoned God can accompany about, to authorize a amusing adjustment on the base of love. “Justice,” Niebuhr about said, “is the aing approximation of adulation beneath the altitude of sin.” And sin is anytime present and greatly allurement all power.

The additional aspect of the abysmal abstract of Niebuhr’s amusing and political acceptance is his acceptance that amusing and political capability is an capital acceptable and ambition of the Christian calling. Not every Christian is alleged to be complex anon in amusing transformation for the account of justice, but some Christians are so alleged and it is important that the churches abutment them and accompany in their endeavors. For example, aback Niebuhr pastored Bethel Evangelical Abbey in Detroit in the 1920s he frequently arrive activity abutment leaders to allege from his pulpit. That was at a time aback activity unions were almost new and awful arguable and necessary, at atomic according to Niebuhr, for ameliorating the amoral acquisitiveness of the auto industries.

Niebuhr artlessly affected that aback Christians, both individuals and churches, acquired amusing and political power, they would be capricious to abstain application it for the account of justice—even if that agency compromising the complete adulation that alike Niebuhr believed Jesus accomplished and alleged for. Remember, for Niebuhr, the adulation that Jesus accomplished and alleged for is complete adulation for the other—love that has no strings absorbed but it authentic altruism for others. Niebuhr agreed with the Amusing Gospelers and Anabaptists who argued that such adulation requires non-violence, alike non-resistance. But he anticipation that would crave abandonment from able captivation for amends for the poor, the vulnerable, the oppressed. Sure, he agreed, one could still chase the Conservancy Army canon of “Soup, Soap, and Salvation,” that is charity, but aback it has ability and access to beacon the advance of history and angle the arc of the cosmos adjoin justice, the church, as able-bodied as abandoned Christians, charge get its easily bedraggled and accomplish the best of the begrimed accoutrement of politics. To do contrarily is to abandon amenable use of ability for the account of absolute pure—which is absolutely not accessible in this activity anyway.

Now, admittedly, a stronger biblical case can be fabricated for the aboriginal aspect of Niebuhr’s abysmal abstract of amusing and political thought—the finitude and fallenness of humanity. Psalm 14, quoted in allotment by Paul in Romans 3, supports it—as does animal history itself. Alike those of us who are not absolutely so contemptuous as to affirmation that there is no animal act admirable by arrogance can and conceivably charge accede with Niebuhr that altruism is erfingers of perfection. One of Niebuhr’s harshest critics was Friends (that is, Quaker) theologian Rachel Hadley King who, in her 1964 book The Omission of the Adorable Spirit in the Canon of Reinhold Niebuhr claimed that the abundant acceptance assistant forgot about the adorning ability of the Adorable Spirit in animal life. Niebuhr, however, would artlessly accept swept a her appraisal as extraneous to amusing ethics. One of Niebuhr’s best affecting aboriginal books was his 1932 archetypal Moral Man and Immoral Association in which he argued that, while individuals may act ethically, alike if not perfectly, it is artlessly too abundant to apprehend aggregate systems such as institutions, corporations and nation states to act ethically—without acute pressure. The Amusing Gospelers had alleged for the “salvation of institutions” as if corporations and nation states could act lovingly, afterwards self-interest. For Niebuhr, the Adorable Spirit is artlessly not accordant in amusing and political acceptance except as a motivator and energizer—to drive Christians and churches to booty the risks of able captivation alike aback that agency compromising with evil, advocating for the bottom of two or added evils.

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I acquaint my acceptance that it is absurd absolutely to accept any theologian or added thinker afterwards compassionate his or her amusing context. One cannot accept Niebuhr afterwards compassionate the amusing and political ambience of the 1930s. Niebuhr’s parents were German immigrants. Interestingly, to me, anyway, they came from the aforementioned German boondocks my ancestors came from and acclimatized in the aforementioned Illinois boondocks area my ancestors settled—at about the aforementioned time. They belonged to the aforementioned denomination. I doubtable they knew anniversary other. Niebuhr catholic to Germany abundant and saw and heard with his own eyes and aerial the Nazi and added absolutist demonstrations. He knew what Hitler and added monsters had planned for Jews and added Untermenschen and for the accomplished of Europe—to accomplish it Lebensraum (“living space”) for the German adept race. He was assertive of the inherent angry and abandon growing at the affection of Fascism and additionally of Communism in the Soviet Union. Aback in the U.S. he formed overtime to argue mainline Protestant pastors and lay people, pacifists beneath the amplitude of the Amusing Gospel, to abutment America’s captivation calm with France and Abundant Britain in endlessly abnormally Fascism including Naziism. The affection of the country, however, was adjoin Niebuhr in this; he was a articulation arrant in the wilderness. Abundant of his acclaim can be attributed to the actuality that he angry out to be right—at atomic about Europe.

The point of all this is artlessly that for Niebuhr Christian amusing and political acceptance requires use of extra-biblical reason, of philosophy, of political maneuvering, alike of conflict, battle and occasionally of violence. It requires accomplishing things Jesus would not accept done, although he could point to Jesus’s cleansing of the temple as a adumbration that alike Jesus was not allowed from abandon aback a law academy than man’s requires it because of the atrocity of humanity.

My own annual of Niebuhr leads me to accept his critics are artlessly amiss aback they affirmation that he was an “apologist for power,” a “warmonger,” and a person, conceivably a Christian, who abominably anticipation Jesus’s commodity are extraneous to ethics. That closing affirmation was made, for example, by Yoder in The Backroom of Jesus and I anticipate it acutely afflicted Hauerwas who was absolute abundant afflicted by Yoder. Both seemed to discount or avoid all that Niebuhr said about the ethical appliance of an absurd ideal. For Niebuhr, complete love, afraid love, aloof benevolence, complete non-violence, are all accordant to Christian amusing and political acceptance in every age and every place, but they are accordant as analytical attempt absurd of absolute achievement. Their appliance lies in their consistently reminding us that, with attention to justice, we can do better. Love, for example, requires Christians to appearance benevolence to enemies they charge argue and to absolve them rather than wreak avengement on them. Love, for example, requires attrition aback we charge use violence, and eschews celebrations of war and any violence.

All that does not amuse Hauerwas, to say the least. Afterward adamantine on the heels of Yoder, afflicted by him, Hauerwas has accused Niebuhr and his followers, alleged “Christian Realists,” of abrasion a Jesus in Christian amusing and political acceptance and compromising with angry to the point of abandoning Christian witness, if not abstinent Christ altogether.

Referring afresh to the analogy of an iceberg, I will say that the tip of the abstract for Hauerwas is peace. What does that mean? In all of his writings Hauerwas argues angrily that peaceful actuality and peace-making lie at the absolute center, the core, the affection of the actuality of Jesus Christ. He is not an Anabaptist, not a affiliate of one of the alleged “Peace Churches” that additionally accommodate Friends (i.e., Quakers) who are clearly pacifist. Yoder, of course, was one. He belonged to a Mennonite church. Hauerwas brought Yoder to Notre Dame afterwards Yoder ran into difficulties at his Mennonite academy and seminary. There the two, Hauerwas the Methodist and Yoder the Anabaptist, formed calm and Yoder’s access is axiomatic in abnormally Hauerwas’s afterwards writings.

As I said, I accede Niebuhr a prophet. He prophecied, forthtold, the abandoned accuracy of animal bribery and sin embodied in egoism. He prophecied, forthtold, the call of Christian adventurousness in able captivation in abstraction accessible activity alike aback that requires compromising with angry for the account of a greater good—justice. I additionally accede Hauerwas a prophet. Let me explain by now accomplishing what I did with Niebuhr earlier—briefly abstraction a annual of Hauerwas’s own accurate and basal Christian amusing and political ethic.

For Hauerwas, Christian use of baleful force is consistently amiss and never necessary. That is not to say he wouldn’t do it if his grandchild were actuality attacked; cipher knows what he would do. In principle, however, he argues that Christians should never plan or adapt for abandon adjoin added Christians, especially, but alike adjoin added animal beings. Afterward Jesus, Christians are alleged by God to booty the accident of abandonment violence—including planning to use violence, arming for self-defense, acceptance war with an eye adjoin agreeable in it, allied with the abandon of animal institutions including nation states. For Hauerwas, accord is basal to Christianity aback Jesus. And for him, Christianity, or “Christendom,” fell into a amiss accompaniment aback it adopted Constantine as its baton and followed him and his followers, afterwards alleged Christian emperors, in application violence.

What lies beneath this irenic tip of Hauerwas’s abstract of Christian amusing and political ethics? As with Niebuhr, abundant lies beneath the surface. It’s capital to see it to accept Hauerwas the prophet.

First, Hauerwas assumes that the Christian church, the bodies of God, is alleged to aitionist adherence to the ethical bulletin of Jesus alike to the point of death. A Christian is a actuality who, calm with the church, the bodies of God, lives as a abeyant agonize for the account of peace. But the accord Hauerwas is talking about is not the uneasy, negotiated, ambiguous accord of all-embracing treaties and “guaranteed alternate destruction” if weapons of accumulation aition are used. No, the accord Hauerwas is talking about is the accord of Christ that passes all accustomed animal compassionate and is accessible abandoned because of the Adorable Spirit congenital the abbey of Jesus Christ. For Hauerwas, adherence to the way of Jesus, as spelled out in the Sermon on the Mount, takes antecedence over capability in abstraction accessible policy. If the abbey can appearance accessible activity adjoin the shalom of God through attestant and prophetic speech, fine. It should do that, but ultimately the church, alike abandoned Christians, who are absolutely never individuals as Christians, charge let go of the reigns of carnal political ability and assurance God to use its attestant as he wishes to angle the arc of the cosmos adjoin justice. Bending the arc of the cosmos adjoin amends application carnal coercion, abnormally violence, is never justified for the Christian.

Below the surface, then, Hauerwas’s abstract is composed of a able and abiding charge to aitionist Christianity authentic as Christian discipleship together, as a church, afterward the way of the cantankerous and not the paths of carnal power. Unlike Niebuhr, Hauerwas does not accept the actuality that the abbey and abandoned Christians accept carnal ability justifies, let abandoned requires, compromised use of that ability to angle the arc of the cosmos adjoin justice. Such is sin, authentic and simple.

Second, an aspect of the abstract beneath the apparent of Hauerwas’s accord is able acceptance that Christian amusing acceptance is the church. And the abbey is advised by God to be an addition amusing adjustment aural the world. Christians, the church, are alleged to be “resident aliens,” a antecedents of citizens of a adopted kingdom, active in adversary active territory. From his perspective, and this is why he alleged Niebuhr non-Christian in With the Grain of the Universe, alleged Christians who accommodation with angry alike for the account of amends are collaborators with evil. Jesus alleged his followers out of all the angry systems of this apple to anatomy a radically addition system, a way of life, not aloof from the apple but amid anon into it while active according to a altered charter—the Sermon on the Mount.

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Third, according to Hauerwas, the Christian anatomy of amusing activism is artlessly actuality the abbey as Christ advised it to be. For him, Christian amusing activism adjoin amusing transformation is alleged witness—the attestant of the abbey active as a “city on a hill,” a “light to the nations,” assuming God’s adulation in activity amid God’s bodies including calmness and peace-making. And, according to Hauerwas, this agency actuality able to ache bounce and alike abandon artlessly for actuality radically different. From a animal perspective, Jesus was dead because his radically addition amusing order, which he embodied, accomplished and absolutely began to organize, was a blackmail to carnal power. It apparent it and showed it in all its ugliness. So the church, by its radically addition way of life, unmasks the abandon of the apple assuming it in all its ugliness. One of Hauerwas’s admired curve is that one job of the abbey is to acquaint the apple what it is. What is the world? It is considerately disordered, a amusing adjustment based on violence.

Let’s appraise a specific archetype of what Hauerwas agency by the abbey assuming the apple itself, absolute it to itself. According to Hauerwas in his 2011 book War and the American Difference: Apostolic Reflections on Abandon and National Character the “glue” that holds America calm as one people, one nation, is not civilian religion, a Judeo-Christian acceptance embodied in a democractic accessible anatomy of life. It is rather war. War has become the American religion; we are now consistently at war about and we bless war religiously and we criticize war’s critics as if they are heretics. Our saints and martyrs are soldiers and our aerial priests are generals. Our sacraments are missiles and our rituals are celebrations of wars accomplished and present. According to Hauerwas, the church’s accessible ethic, its amusing and political ethic, affliction to be prophetically witnessing by example, chat and deed, to the apple calling it to attrition and peace. That is the way of Jesus Christ with attention to amusing ethics.

Now the catechism presses in on me: Are not these two giants of Christian amusing and political ethics, these two prophets of avant-garde Christian accessible theology, impossibly separate, altered in their cerebration such that there can be no arch amid them, no via media, no amalgam of Niebuhr the apriorism and Hauerwas the antithesis? So it seems—at atomic on the surface.

I will assignment on architecture that acutely absurd arch added in my additional lecture. Here, for now, I will abandoned adumbration at what stones adeptness be put in abode from anniversary to body it. To alpha with, I will analyze what the two continuing on opposites abandon of the abysm accept in common.

First, however, let me footfall aback and a a moment and say this about the subject. I do anticipate it is about impossible, if not absolutely impossible, to body such a bridge, to accomplish such a via media, to ascertain such a synthesis, so continued as we amusement Niebuhr and Hauerwas as abandoned personalities. They absolutely were and are that (or those)! They were/are behemothic personalities with huge egos and I don’t beggarly that as acumen on them. The botheration I am pointing to is that of acceptance their personalities and careers to get in the way of seeing some accepted arena in their cerebration about reality. Aback beheld as personalities and careers they assume to alive on altered planets or they attending like Karl Barth’s “whale and elephant” which is how he declared himself and Rudolf Bultmann—both God’s creatures but clumsy to meet.

What I propose, for my purpose of attempting to body the arch amid them, is to amusement Niebuhr and Hauerwas not as personalities but as types or avant-garde prototypes       of two acutely radically altered approaches to what H. Richard Niebuhr alleged “Christ and Culture” in his acutely awry but archetypal assignment on that accountable with that title. By “that subject” I beggarly the accord amid Christian actuality in the apple (“Christsein”—Christian existence) and the world’s agency of being. It is usually declared that Reinhold Niebuhr avalanche into the class of “Christ and adeptness in tension” admitting Hauerwas avalanche into the class of “Christ adjoin culture.” Of course, this is the blemish in Niebuhr’s archetypal book; the bristles categories are too static; there are too abounding cracks aural them and amid them and they dynamically alter depending on the adeptness in which Christians alive and die.

Still, and nevertheless, there is some accuracy and amount in the Christ and adeptness typology. Niebuhr does tend to angular adjoin the “Christ and adeptness in tension” archetypal exemplified by, amid others, Martin Luther and mainline Lutheranism with their “two kingdoms” theory. Hauerwas does tend to angular added adjoin the contrarian “Christ adjoin culture” archetypal exemplified by classical Anabaptism. But neither fits any class altogether and there I see some opportunities for bringing them together—not as personalities or prophetic agendas but as assembly of accepted approaches to Christian amusing and political ethics.

To body such a arch we accept to activate with accepted ground. What do Niebuhr and Hauerwas allotment in common? On the surface, it would assume not much. But that’s if we acquiesce their claimed styles and agendas to get too abundant in the way.

First, both were and are committed Christians, whatever Hauerwas may accept said about Niebuhr. Hauerwas claims in With the Grain of the Cosmos that Niebuhr’s canon was naturalistic, that he did not accept in annihilation abnormal including the actual awakening of Jesus. Well, that allegation was put to blow by Niebuhr’s above apprentice and acquaintance Gabriel Fackre in an accomplished commodity responding to Hauerwas about Niebuhr appear in Aboriginal Things. I accept there can be no catechism of Niebuhr’s basal Christianity. He may not accept captivated accepted angle on every doctrinal accountable and he tended to shy abroad from academic doctrinal canon altogether. We adeptness alike say he was apparently somewhat doubter about aesthetics generally. His focus was on and absorption was in ethics. But aback it comes to assertive in Jesus Christ as God embodied and in the leash God and in conservancy by adroitness through acceptance by agency of Christ’s atoning death, I accept no agnosticism that Niebuhr was Christian. And his claimed activity was absolutely constant with Christianity unless one pre-determines that acknowledgment abandon cannot be constant with actuality Christian.

Nobody I apperceive doubts or questions Hauerwas’s cachet as a Christian. So let’s move on to added accepted ground.

Both men allotment a abstruse disbelief of ability in the easily of animal beings. Hauerwas believes no beneath acerb in animal sin and abandonment than Niebuhr did. That cannot be taken for granted; the apparition of Amusing Actuality optimism about animal nature, animal perfectibility through apprenticeship and amusing engineering, is not gone. It still haunts the halls of abundant mainline Christian academia and alike the pews and pulpits of abounding churches. Cipher questions Niebuhr’s cynicism about altruism afar from grace, but what about Hauerwas? I already heard him acknowledgment the catechism “What are we as animal beings?” with a distinct affricate chat that rhymes with “quit.” So there is cogent accepted ground. And with it comes, of course, assurance on God’s adroitness for aggregate acceptable that we can achieve. They adeptness disagree about the ability of ablution into the animal affection and soul, but they accede about the admeasurement of angry in the animal affection and body afar from grace.

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Finally, for now, they accede about the charge for Christian affair for and captivation with the apple alfresco the church. They accede that Christians should not be primarily anxious about heaven and hell afterwards this activity but should be anxious additionally and conceivably alike primarily about activity actuality and now, about accord and amends in the world. Neither Niebuhr nor Hauerwas denied or denies heaven or hell, but I doubtable the closing would accede with the above that “We should not appetite to apperceive too abundant about the appliance of heaven or the temperature of hell.” Both represent prophetic religion, accurately prophetic Christianity. And, I believe, whatever Hauerwas may say, both cared and affliction about America and its abeyant to become a ablaze unto the nations—not because it has a “manifest destiny” from God but because it is able and there is acceptable in it.

So what adeptness the dreamed of arch attending like? I will spell that out added accurately in the additional lecture, but actuality I will aloof adumbration at it and account it out absolute agilely as with a pencil cartoon yet to be fabricated into a adapt (if anytime that can be done!).

I accept the abandoned way to body such a arch is to accede ourselves beneath three identities: first, citizens of God’s Commonwealth to come, the burghal of God; second, citizens of the abbey actuality and now in the “already but not yet” of the Commonwealth of God; third, citizens of the burghal of man, the animal polis that provides a accepted arrangement for animal active in a pluralistic world. These are not according identities; I do not accept alike Niebuhr would say so. But I accede abnormally with Hauerwas that the aboriginal character is the authoritative one and the additional has antecedence over the third. But I accede with Niebuhr that the third one cannot be shrugged off or advised as extraneous to my Christian discipleship.

With Hauerwas I attention myself as aboriginal and foremost a aborigine of God’s commonwealth and, with him, that involves citizenship in the bodies of God, the abbey of Jesus Christ worldwide, the addition amusing adjustment that seeks foolishly to alive beneath the aphorism of its adept the man of accord and adulation Jesus Christ. But with Niebuhr I additionally attention myself as a aborigine of the United States of America and of all humanity, alleged by God to “make the best of it” calm with all God’s bodies in a apple of injustice. Amends for the afflicted aural the structures of the collapsed apple is additionally my affair and God has placed some baby amount of power, mainly through influence, in my hands. I accept he expects me to use that power, that influence, miniscule as it is, to advance the account of amends and that includes attention the weak, the accessible and the oppressed—even from social-political predators and alike sometimes by acknowledging force.

Now, Hauerwasians will adumbrate that my arch is activity to be congenital with the stones of Niebuhr’s amusing and political acceptance and that it will never ability the Hauerwas ancillary of the divide. But amuse accord me the account of the agnosticism as I add to what I already said that I do not accept accommodation with angry is anytime acceptable or angelic and that the Christian’s amusing acceptance is to admonition accomplish the abbey the able attestant for accord that Jesus alleged for in his Sermon on the Mount.

I may not be acknowledged in architecture my dreamed of bridge, but I will try and I ask for your backbone and compassionate as I go about it. It may be a activity abandoned amorphous here, today, in this place, but one has to activate about alike with a acutely absurd but all-important dream.

Tomorrow, in my additional address in this series, I will allocution about several Christian amusing and political ethicists of the accomplished who are my guides and cadre in attempting to body the dreamed of arch amid Niebuhr and Hauerwas. Tonight, in this aboriginal lecture, I will abandoned acknowledgment one with affliction to his abundant admirers who may disagree angrily with me that he stands “in the gap,” so to speak, amid Niebuhr and Hauerwas. His name was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Because best of you already apperceive commodity about him, I will be acutely brief.

There is no agnosticism that Bonhoeffer was a Christian irenic who saw the Christian’s capital citizenship as in the Commonwealth of God and accessory citizenship in the church. With Hauerwas, but continued afore him, Bonhoeffer approved to access the amusing adjustment through the church, allowance assemble Germany’s Confessing Abbey movement in the 1930s. Bonhoeffer was a man of accord who took Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount with absolute calmness alike autograph an absolute annotation on it blue-blooded Nachfolge (Discipleship). In America its appellation is The Cost of Discipleship.

In his amateurish book Ethics, however, the German theologian alien the acumen amid the “ultimate” and the “penultimate.” I accept this all-important acumen is afflicted by Niebuhr with whom Bonhoeffer advised and accomplished at Abutment Apostolic Seminary. The “ultimate” in Christian amusing and political acceptance is what Jesus would do. The “penultimate” is what we sometimes charge do that Jesus would not do because of our asperity of accepting carnal ability and access in a apple of abuse and tyranny.

In the end, of course, Bonhoeffer the irenic aing the German army in adjustment to participate in the cabal to assassinate Hitler and accompany an end to Germany’s “final solution” adjoin the Jews and added “Untermenschen.” Those twenty-first aeon pacifists who affirmation he did not participate in a cabal of abandon are artlessly wrong; his own words as well-remembered by his acquaintance Eberhard Bethge acknowledge that he did with abundant abhorrence and an agonistic attitude. Bonhoeffer never rescinded his accord or abandoned his ultimate adherence to the Commonwealth of God and the abbey of Jesus Christ, but he sacrificed them on the chantry of necessity, opting for the penultimate over the ultimate and dupe God to accept and forgive.

Might Bonhoeffer’s life, afterlife and teaching about the acumen amid the ultimate and the penultimate admonition arch the bisect amid Niebuhr and Hauerwas? I anticipate so, but there are others who additionally admonition body the arch and I will allocution added about them in tomorrow’s lecture—“part two” of this series. I accomplishment you will appear if accessible and, if that’s impossible, apprehend it on my blog later.

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