Conversations and Proverbs
Jesuit Fr. Ray Schroth approached his phone interview with Stanley Hauerwas (Page 17) having read that he has a salty, Texas tongue and having been told he is a great conversationalist They hit it off, talking about eschatology, mutual friends at Notre Dame, long-distance running (which both had to give up), how to describe Christ's presence in the Eucharist (Hauerwas recommended P.J. Fitzpatrick's In Breaking of Bread), and how the church could get out of the sex abuse mess. Schroth reports, "The Texan voice was warm and ready to laugh and matched the voice on the memoir's page."
Hauerwas once was named by TIME magazine as "America's Best Theologian." Schroth asked, if TIME were to pick a new best American theologian, who might it be? Hauerwas laughed and confessed that the very idea of a "best" was "stupid," but he praised Robert Jenson, a Lutheran now at the Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, N.J., and David Bentley Hart, an Orthodox patristics scholar who writes frequently for First Things.
Schroth, a regular NCR essayist, has been dean at several Jesuit colleges, and has just taken a position with America magazine.
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So frequently we fall short. We see the lengthy distance between the human family we are and the human family we want to become; we see the great gulf between the church we are and the church we dream we should be. This distance, this gulf, appears in some of the news stories and commentaries you will find in this week's issue. Not surprisingly, because journalism attempts to reflect a world that is even as it can highlight people, as we do in this issue, who dream and work to make it otherwise.
In what you might say is a related matter, I find comfort in the proverb: "This, too, shall pass." For me it carries both spiritual and street truth. I've found myself saying it many times, sometimes to others in partial jest. In difficult moments the words hover in my mind. I've taught this proverb to my children. As I began writing this column I did a quick Wikipedia search to learn the origins of this proverb and found several sources taking it back to a Solomon story. Here's one version:
One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, "Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot, which gives you six months to find it. …