Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir

Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir

Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir

Hannah's Child: A Theologian's Memoir

Synopsis

In this award-winning memoir Stanley Hauerwas gives a frank, transparent account of his own life interwoven with the development of his thought. Unique to this paperback edition is a new afterword that offers Hauerwas's reflections on responses to Hannah's Child.

Excerpt

Where to begin? Not with the beginning, but with the decisive “decision,” that is, what I did because I could not get myself “saved.” I became a theologian because I could not be saved. I was baptized at Pleasant Mound Methodist Church in — you will not be surprised — Pleasant Mound, Texas. Pleasant Mound was just that — a small mound just outside Dallas on which sat a small, white, framed Methodist church. I lived in Pleasant Grove, which was not far from Pleasant Mound. the Texans who insisted that these places were “pleasant” exemplify the proclivity of Texans to reassure themselves through exaggeration that it was a good thing to be a Texan. of course, in the Texas heat even a small group of trees, a pleasant grove, could be quite pleasant.

Pleasant Mound Methodist was Methodist, but like most folks in that area we were really Baptist, which meant that even though you had been baptized and become a member of the church, you still had to be “saved.” Baptism and membership were Sunday morning events. Saving was for Sunday nights. Sunday night was an hour hymn sing, a time for “personal prayer” at the altar rail, a forty-five minute to an hour sermon, and then a call to the altar for those convicted of their sin. If you came to the altar, it was assumed that you had struck up a new relationship with God that was somehow equivalent to being saved. I wanted to be saved, but I did not think you should fake it.

I am not sure how old I was when I began to worry about being saved, but it was sometime in my early teens. I had begun to date a young woman who also went to Pleasant Mound, which meant I was beginning to sin. I was pretty sure I needed saving, but I just did not . . .

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