Scivias, Part One

Bearing Reality

I've also been reading Stanley Hauerwas' latest book Approaching the End: Eschatological Reflections on Church, Politics, and Life.  Riding in the passenger seat of the car on Christmas Day, I read the essays "War and Peace" and "Bearing Reality."  I was overwhelmed by them and had to shift to fiction at that point because my brain couldn't think anymore on that level.

In the first essay he writes about how we don't even really know what war is.  He criticizes the liberal, Kantian notion that we can create a rational society devoid of war.  He, of course, recommends Eucharist as the Christian alternative to war.  But this essay deserves reading, as any summary I might attempt will fail to do it justice.

The same for the essay "Bearing Reality" which is, ostensibly, about J. M. Coetzee's novel Elizabeth Costello and its philosophical implications for the limitations of rationality in the human project.  Our moral and rational projectst can be ways to avoid the difficulties of reality.  The church should be the place that reminds us that reality is difficult to bear and will get even worse if we are living faithfully and authentically.  The church also assists us in bearing that reality.  Here is a key section:

The difficulty of being a creature wounded by sin is forgotten.  Indeed, we forget or deny that we are creatures subject to the illusions we create to insure our significance.  As a result, we lose the necessities that create imaginative alternatives that make it possible for us to live without denying the difficult task of acknowledging our humanity and that of our neighbors.


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