Today I want to highlight a new book – The Character of Virtue: Letters to a Godson - co-written by Stanley Hauerwas and Sam Wells. Available from April 15th 2018.
“Would you invite Stanley Hauerwas—the famously “angry” theologian—to become your child’s godparent and agree to write a series of letters to your son or daughter? That is what the Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells and his wife did two decades ago, fully aware of the famous theologian’s “happy anger,” as Well describes it.
The Wells’s chose Hauerwas—and he agreed—because of the rock-solid foundation of Hauerwas’s prophetic voice: Truthfulness. “All I can promise is that I will try very hard never to lie to you,” the theologian writes in his first letter to little Laurie.
That’s exactly what the Wells’ were hoping. Samuel writes in this new book’s introduction:
“His restlessness resonated with my sense that Jesus came to unsettle, rather than to comfort, and the angles from which he addressed the issues of today and forever intrigued and challenged me to a degree I hadn’t found in any other contemporary theological writing. He was, in short, talking about the questions I was asking, with a fearless relish that I longed to imitate.”
That honest counsel about growing into a life of faith is precisely the role of an ideal godparent, Wells and Hauerwas both argue in this book.
Wells and Hauerwas became friends when Wells served as Dean of Chapel at Duke University, where Hauerwas has taught for many years. Today, they are separated by an ocean. Wells now is Vicar of the landmark St. Martin in the Fields at Trafalgar Square in London. Hauerwas is semi-retired but still teaches and writes—and agreed to publish these letters as a book with some collaboration in the form of a 28-page introductory essay by Wells about the role of an ideal godparent.
Then each of the letters in this volume reflects on a different Christian virtue—including Kindness, Truthfulness, Hope, Justice, Courage, Humility and Generosity. That opening section [written] by Wells [is about] what it means to serve as a godparent…”
You can read the full article online here.