Longtime Hauerwas readers will not be surprised to hear that his new book is maddening—nor that some of the most maddening aspects are also the most rewarding.
Resident Aliens at 25
Resident Aliens effectively makes a virtue of a necessity. It seems to choose disestablishment, which in fact has come down upon us like a judgment.
We need the spiritual agility to recognize counter-hegemonic "citizenship in heaven" whenever and however it becomes flesh.
Resident Aliens, a work of theology, was put to use as applied sociology. The description of life in the Christian colony became, paradoxically, a formula for success.
Resident Aliens helped convince a generation that there is no Christian identity apart from the church. But where exactly is Hauerwas and Willimon's "adventuresome" church?
A funny thing happened on the way to the church-as-polis: I can now imagine being a resident alien and invested in the state, in all of its glorious failing.
I once actually was a resident alien. I wonder if Hauerwas and Willimon have any clue what it means to occupy that space.
Denigrating "social activist churches" was central to Hauerwas and Willimon's agenda. Yet Resident Aliens revived social gospel arguments.
It is disingenuous to deem ourselves alien to a culture and society we benefit from—a culture and society we created.
The image of a resident alien offers an important biblical corrective. But it isn't the only such image we need.
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.
Support us by buying books: