Monday, November 08, 2004

hauerwas #3

in the essay “reforming Christian social ethics: ten theses,” hauerwas makes ten claims about the way ethics should look. here i quote the third thesis, which can be found on page 112 of the hauerwas reader.

3. The ability to provide an adequate account of our existence is the primary test of the truthfulness of a social ethic.
No society can be just or good that is built on falsehood. The first task of Christian social ethics, therefore, is not to make the “world” better or more just, but to help Christian people form their community consistent with their conviction that the story of Christ is a truthful account of our existence. For as H. R. Niebuhr argued, only when we know “what is going on,” do we know “what we should do,” and Christians believe that we learn most decisively “what is going on” in the cross and resurrection of Christ.

i don’t have much else to say about this entry, i think hauerwas nails it on the head, and i need to take this to heart when i think about the ways i act and the ways i think about actions and ethics. the first task cannot be to change things, but to understand what it means to be in relationship with Christ, both as an individual and in community, because they are both of utmost importance.

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