Monday, March 14, 2011

Cautionary Ideas for the Academic Year V

With the start of the new academic year this week at Sydney University, hebel will be publishing some quotes over the coming days about the current state of academia and the place of Christians within it. Following yesterday's post on the formation of the Christian mind comes Stanley Hauerwas' critique that Christians have failed in both understanding what time it is and how to make sense of the world we live in:
“Just to the extent Christians have confused our time, church time, with state time we have failed to provide an alternative to a world, and the knowledges that are constitutive of that world, which is increasingly unable to make sense of itself.”
Can you imagine a world that makes sense of the current time?

As much as we need Christians in academia to make sense of the times (which Matheson Russell described as the time of the Eucharist - of redemption and forward looking to new creation), Hauerwas also has this to say about the search for truth in a secular univeristy:
“Christians can never fear what we have to learn from honest investigation of the world, even if such investigations are undertaken by those who have no identification as Christians… [W]ork done by non-Christians may well reflect a more determined Christian perspective than that done by Christians.”
Does knowing what time it is mean that we have nothing to fear from the university?

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