We Don’t Choose Our Stories — S. Hauerwas

Long story short:  we don’t get to make our lives up.  We get to receive our lives as gifts.  The story that says we should have no story except the story we chose when we had no story is a lie.  To be human is to learn that we don’t get to make up our lives because we’re creatures.
                                         – Stanley Hauerwas


5 thoughts on “We Don’t Choose Our Stories — S. Hauerwas

  1. a creature that has no imput into it’s story is an animal living on pure instinct. at best it may be a caged animal attempting to write it’s story within a restricted space. If this is correct I am not responsible for sin….Its Gods fault he gave me the instinct.

    Mr Stewart are you agreeing with this quote?

    • Is this a quote (if so, from whom) or an original thought?
      I like the sound of the first part, but I can’t say for sure that I fully understand the thinking behind it.
      The second part sounds like yet another revisiting of the old problem of free will.
      I have come to be convinced of the following: Our lives, as individuals and as communities, are stories being co-authored by God and ourselves. The fact that I am not aware of the amount of overlap between what the hand of God is writing and what I am writing does not excuse me either from sin or from the call to live out the story of Christ in an active and passionate way.

      • The statement from Mr Hauerwas does not allow for choice. We are merely creatures in a story. Thus the author has written all parts. At best we act in the nature of the creature that the author has written. How then do we take responsibility for action. I believe Mr. Hauerwas is speaking of free will…in a back handed way. As it is written, it’s bad theology. I agree with your statement of coauthorship. These statements are original to me….as much as that is possible. I may though be influenced by a cousin of mine.

      • I believe Hauerwas, in the context of the quote (a book called Living Gently in a Violent World), is decrying Sartrean existentialism, among other things. Like so many others, Sartre had some important insights. But they are fatally vitiated by his atheism and his failure to be freed from modernistic individualism.
        Hauerwas never mentions Sartre in the book, but the idea he is talking about here is precisely that advocated by Sartre and the other mid-20th century existentialists. “Existence preceeds essence,” therefore, we are free to decide who/what we will be. i.e. We are utterly free to write our own stories. This has great appeal to American and western European people who are in a desperate search for identity and meaning but who are unwilling to find it by coming humbly before the God who created them.

  2. So if I understand your last reply correctly….the quote here actually means the opposite of what Stanley Hauerwas meant. Without the context of the book or paragraph, we are lead to believe his theology is flawed. Isn’t that a key ellement of manipulation. Was that your purpose? lol

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