Friday, March 11, 2011

A Theologian's Prayer For His Cat

I've just finished Stanley Hauerwas's memoir 'Hannah's Child'. It's a great read. There are many things I liked about it and which I could blog about. His honesty, his theological journey, his acute awareness of the possibility of self-deception, his tragic relationship with his first wife, who was mentally ill, his amazing relationship with his son, the fact that he is a Methodist who almost became a Roman Catholic, who is known as a neo-anabaptist, who now worships at an Episcopal church. But I think the thing that impressed me the most was the fact that he clearly believes that theology matters. That may sound obvious for a theologian, but believe me there are plenty of theologians who see theology purely as an academic discipline. Theology matters because God matters, and not just any old god, or some vague notion of the creator, but the God who is the Father of Jesus Christ.

His theology clearly impacts every area of his life. He explains how he doesn't think of himself as a good 'pray-er'. His wife Paula encouraged him to begin praying before his lectures, so he started writing his prayers down, and if you ask me they're pretty amazing prayers.

Here is one he wrote when their cat, Tuck, died:

'Passionate Lord, by becoming one of us, you revealed your unrelenting desire to have us love you. As we were created for such love, you have made us to love your creation and through such love, such desire, learn to love you. We believe that every love we have you have given us. Tuck's love of us, and our love of him, is a beacon, a participation, in your love of all your creation. We thank you, we sing your praise, for the wonderful life of this cat. His calm, his dignity, his courage, his humor, his needs, his patience, his always "being there," made us better, made our love of one another better, made us better love you. We will miss him. Help us not fear remembering him, confident that the sadness such memory brings is bounded by the joy that Tuck existed and, with us, is part of your glorious creation, a harbinger of your peaceable kingdom. Amen.


Sam said...

I love that this is the first post I see on your site - shame it's taken a year for me to look! I also like that you appreciate Hauerwas for the same fundamental reason I do - his theology stems from a firm belief that God is real and God matters - that's why theology (the study of God) matters. That's why it is so strange to hear people criticising Hauerwas as being so focussed on the church that he forgets the need for Jesus - David Ferguson gives this kind of critique. Rather, Jesus, the reality of God's present activity, is so fundamental to everything Hauerwas writes - is the starting point and foundation of his thought - that take Him away and there is nothing left. It's like oxygen - you forget you need it but everything is dependent upon it - not just as the starting point, but as an ongoing life giving presence in every aspect of life. And so you find Hauerwas finding Jesus in even the most mundane aspects of life, like the death of his cat, not just in abstract theological thinking. Love it.

beth bennett said...

I happened on your blog by accident.

Loved it and would like to read Hannah's Child.

I am a blogger too but mainly keeping my family updated with news.

Thank you for the prayer and sharing your thoughts.


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