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A Cross-Shattered Church: Reclaiming the Theological Heart of Preaching Paperback – July 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"One of the most satisfying contexts for doing the work of theology is in sermons. That should not be surprising because throughout Christian history, at least until recently, the sermon was one of the primary places in which the work of theology was done. For the work of theology is first and foremost to exposit Scripture. That modern theology has become less and less scriptural, that modern theology has often tried to appear as a form of philosophy, is but an indication of its alienation from its proper work. I am, therefore, making these sermons available not only because I think they are my best theological work, but because I hope they exemplify the work of theology."--From the Introduction

Stanley Hauerwas has established himself as one of today's most exciting theologians. Here he shows how the sermon is the best context for doing good theology. According to Hauerwas, recovering the sermon as the context for theological reflection is crucial if Christians are to negotiate the world in which they find themselves.

A Cross-Shattered Church includes seventeen sermons, divided into four sections: Seeing, Saying, Living, and Events.

Sermon titles include:
Believing Is Seeing
The Glory of the Trinity
The End of Sacrifice
Was It Fitting for Jesus to Die on a Cross?
Only Fear Can Drive Out Fear
The Appeal of Judas
Slavery as Salvation
To Be Made Human
Water Is Thicker than Blood

Professors and students of theology, pastors, and all who are interested in what Hauerwas has to say about theology and preaching will value this work.

About the Author

Stanley Hauerwas (PhD, Yale University) is the Gilbert T. Rowe Emeritus Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. His previous books include Cross-Shattered Christ, The Peaceable Kingdom, With the Grain of the Universe, A Better Hope, and Christian Existence Today.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587432587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587432583
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Englewood Review of Books on July 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
[ This review originally appeared in
The Englewood Review of Books ]

Language matters to Stanley Hauerwas, and he is not shy when it comes to saying so. As a theologian, he consistently demonstrates precision with his words; as an ethicist, he reduces the matter to a simple, "don't lie." So for those of us who have come to deeply appreciate both his words, his work and his advocacy for truthfulness in the Church, A CROSS-SHATTERED CHURCH should be read with high expectations. From the preface to the three-fold appendix, this new book by the noted Duke University professor offers far more than seventeen well-crafted sermons. Here we find a real prescription for what ails the world and that which ails the Church in the world...a distillation of reflection from a brother in Christ who loves the Church, honors the preached Word and has worked carefully as a theologian for many years. I have a sneaky suspicion those of us whose theological labors are shared with the Church from behind a pulpit will long savor his strong words in support of preaching and will be challenged by the economy of language without sacrificing real substance in the sermons. However, those who walk the halls of academia and primarily speak from behind lecterns will be quoting from this book for years to come because of the "Hauerwas explaining Hauerwas" revelations found in both the Introduction and the Appendix.

Hauerwas raises expectations concerning this book in the Preface. Referencing additional works as well...THE CROSS-SHATTERED CHRIST, DISRUPTING TIME and his recent commentary on the Gospel of Matthew... he writes, "But if you can only read a little Hauerwas, read one of these books. They are what I most care about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan M. Platter on April 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hauerwas, a prominent Methodist theologian and ethicist, has here collected a selection of his own sermons. He admits in his introduction that he is not ordained and that many of these sermons were preached in University chapels and ordination services, so if they feel like they have more theory than an average sermon would have, the context may give some explanation.

I will make three summary notes about these sermons:

1) They are fairly short, which is a good thing. A short sermon (especially when read) comes across as more direct and focused. Also, this makes for the possibility to use the sermons in something of a devotional manner. One sermon has plenty in the way of intellectual stimulus and spiritual inspiration, yet it won't occupy all your devotional time with extra-biblical reading.

2) They are theological (also a good thing). Hauerwas clearly does not believe there is value in 'watering down'. He gives it straight and understands that there is no way to speak truthfully as Christians without speaking in the language of the church! Sermons are not self-help guides or motivational pep-talks, and the preacher who works to present Christian proclamation will find that substantial doctrines are essential to the story that shapes our lives, our community, and ultimately our world. To work around the substance is to proclaim a different message.

3) They center on Church practice and the sacraments. This is something that anyone familiar with Hauerwas would expect, but it is encouraging and challenging to witness it being done well in a sermon. For Hauerwas' ethics, he holds concrete practices and the way those shape values and one's vision as central to moral development.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. P. Jay on April 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am glad that I am not the only preacher whose sermons are `tight': economical with words, requiring the full attention of the congregants. Nor a preacher who sticks to scripture without being an evangelical.

This collection of sermons is a master class in the art of preaching, though I note that the author claims that it is OK to quote other preachers without acknowledgement because sermons are a gift of the Spirit to the whole church. So why does the author assert his copyright at the front of this book?
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