January 31, 2009 / David Fitch

Stanley Hauerwas and the Evolving Church Conference 09

If I had to pick one theologian who has influenced me more than any other, it would be Stanley Hauerwas. Stanley, more than any theologian I know, can in one fell swoop cut through the obfuscation and get to the heart of the matter on so many issues the church faces in society. He can isolate what is wrong about evangelicalism, protestant liberalism, Jerry Falwell and Brian McLaren all at the same time. He can then tell you what is right about them. His thinking will disturb you. Yet the uninitiated will have to be patient because Hauerwas can be thick, talking in Wittgensteinianism’s while at the same time talking about “getting saved.” This is why I have no idea what to expect when he appears at the evolving church conference this March in Toronto. This is why I wouldn’t miss this conference if my life depended on it because I want to see what Hauerwas has to say to 7-800 Canadians.
The topic is “Amidst the Powers.” There will be a host of other speakers who simply won’t offer what their last book said. They are theologians in their own right. There will be Walter Wink and Marva Dawn, but also Sylvia Keesmaat, Craig Carter and musician Derek Webb. I’m privileged to also give a workshop. I have been to a lot of conferences. A lot of them have talented speakers – but often they present well worn pragmatic lightweight materials. This will not be one of those conferences. I have no idea how these speakers will gel with the audience. This will be half the fun seeing what happens here. One thing for sure, and I’m not just saying this, this conference, I am telling you, will be unlike any of these aforementioned conferences. It will people with a lifework of theology challenging the way we think about being Christians in the world. they will not be speaking the language of “conference speak.” Will the people coming be able to handle this? I’ll be there! Check it out right here or look at the banner on the left. If you’re coming please let me know and there’ll be time for coffee.