I was privileged enough to chat with Stanley Hauerwas on how our theology impacts our perception of the Other, our political allegiances, and our desired response to our enemies. Nearly every article on Hauerwas mentions that TIME magazine designated him "America's Best Theologian" in 2001, so I guess I'll do the same here. He was also interviewed by Oprah. As the author of a veritable library and known as one of the world's foremost postliberal theologians, he was educated at Yale in a time when George Lindbeck and H. Richard Niebuhr graced its halls. Now the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School, Hauerwas is proud of his heritage as a bricklayer's son and frequently makes correlations between his upbringing in the trades and the theological craft. He hates pretention and dislikes when Christians act nice as a way of flaunting their ostensible superiority. But Hauerwas is probably best known for his outspoken pacifism and censure of American Evangelical Christianity's individualism, emphasis on rationalism or "right belief" -- by both fundamentalist and liberal theologians -- and uncritical subsumption of neoliberal impulses and militaristic state priorities.
Hauerwas had a major influence on my theological development. Along with the writings of John Howard Yoder -- Hauerwas' colleague and close friend from their days together at Notre Dame -- I devoured anything he wrote especially during my later undergraduate years, Resident Aliens begin the most formative for me. His works gave me something in the theological realm to be excited about for the first time. I owe a lot to Hauerwas for this major shift and my trajectory since.