Hauerwas’ lack of confidence in the political system (well founded, I believe….see this: Stanley Hauerwas on Christians and Politics at Theoblogical) is something that has, for me, crept into my sense for the church in America, not just for the ones who have sold out completely to America and its representative principalities and powers, but also for the most of the others, who just seem content to keep “offering” the same wares, the same programs, the refusal to “offend anyone”. This includes those “progressive churches” who continue to ignore the structures of formation for adults (we don’t cease to need formation once we’re past confirmation). Alcoholics anonymous recognizes the inability of addicts to have any shot at recovery if they simply “return” to their prior surroundings. They have to have the support structure that holds them accountable, and recognize their need for each other. This is where the individualism that is so representative of “being an American” is so heretical; we think we can recognize and withstand the allures of our culture on our own, simply by making our appearances and listening to pep talks.
The church for me has been very much like the politics in America; frozen in a status quo that seems unable to pull away from the rampant individualism and create some way for members to be encouraged to seek one another out, develop a kinship and a sense of responsibility to one another, and consider this their calling to determine other callings.