Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir

Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir, by Stanley Hauerwas.  ($16.49)

Amazon sez:  Most contemporary memoirists tell stories about themselves that are the next thing to first-person-narrator fiction. Renowned theologian Hauerwas prefers to talk about others. While he relays the facts of his life, he focuses on his family, friends, and colleagues far more than on himself. He obviously owes his rooted, second-nature Christianity to his parents, and he maintains the working-class consciousness he imbibed from them in his unpretentious friendliness and candor, though he did have to lose the salty workers’ diction he’d picked up from his bricklayer father’s work crew as his academic career advanced. His friends and colleagues (mostly the same people) helped him shape his thought as he became increasingly sure that Christians must be nonviolent, helped him transfer from Notre Dame to Duke and thrive at both, and helped him persevere while his first wife descended into angry, delusive mental illness and, then, separate from her and carefully find new love. You don’t have to be interested in theology to enjoy, perhaps a little bemusedly, this theologian’s warm testimony. –Ray Olson

A loving, hard-working, godly couple has long been denied a family of their own. Finally, the wife makes a deal with God: if he blesses her with a child, she will dedicate that child to God’s service. The result of that prayer was the birth of an influential — some say prophetic — voice. Surprisingly, this is not the biblical story of Samuel but the account of Stanley Hauerwas, one of today’s leading theologians in the church and the academy. / The story of Hauerwas’s journey into Christian discipleship is captivating and inspiring. With genuine humility, he describes his intellectual struggles with faith, how he has dealt with the complex reality of marriage to a mentally ill partner, and the gift of friendships that have influenced his character. Throughout the narrative shines Hauerwas’s conviction that the tale of his life is worth telling only because of the greater Christian story providing foundation and direction for his own.

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