Arguably the most influential Protestant theologian today, Stanley Hauerwas was born to a lower-middle-class family in Texas, son of a bricklayer father and a mother who, like the biblical Hannah, promised her child to God. He spoke his father's rough-hewn language and worked with his hands until a scholarship intervened, ultimately leading him to Yale and enabling him to answer the calling instilled by his mother at an early age. Famously blunt at scholarly gatherings and in his assessment of issues political, theological, or ecclesiological, Hauerwas chooses here to expose his own shortcomings--including the painful details of his devastating twenty-year marriage--to that same brutal honesty. He treats the mentors and colleagues who nurtured his career with profound generosity, crediting the development of his own ideas to the influence of a particular book or teacher at every turn. The resulting memoir is a lively, fascinating read--at once a full-fledged education on the personalities and ideas that shaped twentieth-century theology, and a portrait of intellectual humility and inconceivable patience in bearing the cross of a beloved wife gradually sinking into mental breakdown.
An Eighth Day View:
A loving, hard-working, godly couple has long been denied a family of their own. Finally, the wife makes a deal with God: if he blesses her with a child, she will dedicate that child to God's service. The result of that prayer was the birth of an influential -- some say prophetic -- voice. Surprisingly, this is not the biblical story of Samuel but the account of Stanley Hauerwas, one of today's leading theologians in the church and the academy. The story of Hauerwas's journey into Christian discipleship is captivating and inspiring. With genuine humility, he describes his intellectual struggles with faith, how he has dealt with the complex reality of marriage to a mentally ill partner, and the gift of friendships that have influenced his character. Throughout the narrative shines Hauerwas's conviction that the tale of his life is worth telling only because of the greater Christian story providing foundation and direction for his own.