The art of improvisation in theater—a kind of jujitsu of the imagination—shapes Samuel Wells’s fresh, engaging approach to Christian ethics. Like actors doing improvisation who must develop trust in one another in order to perform unscripted drama, Christians must develop trust in self, church and God so that they “may faithfully encounter the unknown of the future without fear.”
Discipleship is not simply the performance of a script. Christians do not simply act out scripture or try to repeat a golden era of the past. Instead they improvise—“the only term that adequately describes the desire to cherish a tradition without being locked in the past.”
Wells, an Anglican priest who has written a book about Stanley Hauerwas, keeps character, drama, imagination, worship, nonviolence and care for the marginalized at the center of ethical improvisation.