Acknowledging Our Debt

In 2009, Stanley Hauerwas published “Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir.” In Bishop Robert Morneau’s summary, he notes:

Hauerwas wrote: “I am first and foremost a theologian” (192). If we want a summary of his Christian conviction, it lies in the mystery of Jesus: . . . the basic grammar that should constitute our lives as Christians, a grammar rooted in the cross and resurrection of Jesus” (264). The Christian is to be an agent of truthful speech in a world filled with deceit. His plea and prayer: “May His [Jesus’] resurrection shine in you as much as the unrelenting facticity of His death, which, I see, drives you past the human self-centeredness that envelops all of us in modernity” (277).

When Geez Magazine did a review in its Fall 2010 issue, it included this prayer by Hauerwas; I am not sure if it comes from his memoir, or was an addition for this article, but it stuck with me as his expression of being “an agent of truthful speach:”

Dear God, our lives are made possible by the murders of the past – civilization is built on slaughters.  

Acknowledging our debt to killers, frightens and depresses us.  

We fear judging, and so we say, “that’s the past.”

We fear to judge because in judging, we are judged.  

Help us, however, to learn to say, “no;” to say “Sinners though we are, that was and is wrong.”  

May we do so with love. Amen.


About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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