The Table Video

Stanley Hauerwas

Knowing Ourselves by Our Love - Not Hate

Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Divinity and Law, Duke Divinity School
June 2, 2017

After observing that we gravitate towards self-definitions based on what we oppose, Stanley Hauerwas exhorts our society to have the courage to love.


Here’s another quote, and this one, again, pitting love and hate against each other. “I prefer to cherish wrongs done to me.” [chuckle] A provocative phrase. “My sense of who I am is more determined by what I’m against, rather than what I’m for.

Right. I’ll pray that God can have my loves, but not take my hates.


If you take my hates, how will I know who I am?”

Right. Ya, I like that. [chuckling]

You wrote it. [chuckling]

I’m glad I wrote it. I think that it is true that we’re more determined by what we’re against than what we’re for.


And how to have that transformed into having lives of what we’re for, rather than what we’re against, remains an ongoing challenge. I mean, where would I be if I didn’t have the church to criticize? [chuckling] But I love the church, it’s made me what I am.

Ya. As you look out at a society, that is finding itself in it’s hate, what is your message to that society?

Try some courage. What we’re currently experiencing is the continuing outworking of September the 11th. America is the strongest country in the world that runs on fear. And the politics that we currently are experiencing is the politics of fear. That you gravitate toward those that seem strong and promise you safety, and that’s very dangerous.

The name for it is called fascism. And while that’s probably a too extreme description, it is nonetheless, not absent from the American psyche.

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