Hauerwas and the Ecological Crisis? A “war” not addressed.

For a few years now, since my “Eco-conversion” in 2014, I find myself bothered by the absence of any attention at all to the Climate Crisis by many of my earlier influential authors, and Hauerwas stands out here. He is definitely a pivotal influence theologically. But he, unfortunately stands out in the absence of theological reflection on the Climate Crisis.
The analysis of Hauerwas below highlights that overlooking. With war, which the reviewer below identifies as Hauerwas’ major “demon” amongst the “Legion”, I see the omission most acutely, for humanity’s “war” upon the earth is compounding the violence of warfare with an even larger “blast zone” of Climate upheaval and all the cascading ecological effects.
I realize, up front, that Hauerwas represents a rather stark example of the power of narrative to generate theological works. Our familiarity with theological narratives enables our writing and speaking, and builds a conversational style complete with its own lexicon and stories of our culture that are commonly told to identify ways in which the Christian community has something to offer in the way of alternative.
Hauerwas certainly has a long and impressive history; one which has it’s presence well represented on my bookshelves. But now I am bothered by how long the science of Climate Change has been known, and how long the theological community has been “able” to virtually ignore it as a theological issue. I can’t help but feel that the dangers we face should have become much more of a regular diet for theological thinking, and for theological writers and thinkers.
And I can see no greater impetus to the “ruin(s) of Christendom” than the neglect of the churches regarding the Ecological Crisis. It is the primary and largest and most consequential WAR to be unleashed in and ON the world itself.
“Christians must be exorcised of the demon of presumptive responsibility for America, not to mention “the West.” That demon’s name is Legion, for it is manifested in countless ways.
Principally, it shows itself in war. This is why Hauerwas is a pacifist and why, in turn, he argues for nonviolence as a hallmark of the church. To forswear the sword is not to reject politics, however. It is in service of an alternative politics: the politics of Jesus. On this understanding the church is by definition a minority community called out from the world in order to live differently than the world as an alternative to the world — its bloodlust and greed, its injustice and idolatry — while simultaneously living in its midst. Thus, his oft-repeated remark: “The first task of the church is not to make the world more just but to make the world the world.” Put plainly, the church is neither chaplain nor soul of the nation-state; it is the sacrament of God’s redemption, bearing witness to the work of the God who made and still loves the world, a witness that takes the form of a certain common life.”


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