Living Gently in a Violent World

The Prophetic Witness of Weakness

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Stanley Hauerwas, Jean Vanier
  • Downers Grove, IL: 
    IVP Academic Press
    , July
     128 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Shaun Brown forthcoming.


How are Christians to live in a violent and wounded world? Rather than contending for privilege by wielding power and authority, we can witness prophetically from a position of weakness. The church has much to learn from an often-overlooked community—those with disabilities.

In this fascinating book, theologian Stanley Hauerwas collaborates with Jean Vanier, founder of the worldwide L'Arche communities. For many years, Hauerwas has reflected on the lives of people with disability, the political significance of community, and how the experience of disability addresses the weaknesses and failures of liberal society. And L'Arche provides a unique model of inclusive community that is underpinned by a deep spirituality and theology. Together, Vanier and Hauerwas carefully explore the contours of a countercultural community that embodies a different way of being and witnesses to a new order—one marked by radical forms of gentleness, peacemaking, and faithfulness.

The authors' explorations shed light on what it means to be human and how we are to live. The robust voice of Hauerwas and the gentle words of Vanier offer a synergy of ideas that, if listened to carefully, will lead the church to a fresh practicing of peace, love and friendship. This invigorating conversation is for everyday Christians who desire to live faithfully in a world that is violent and broken.

This expanded edition now includes a study guide for individual reflection or group discussion.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School, Duke University. He was named "America's best theologian" by Time in 2001 and has written consistently about the theological significance of disability.

Jean Vanier is the founder of L'Arche, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities experience life together as fellow human beings who share a mutuality of care and need. Today over 147 L'Arche communities exist in thirty-five countries on five continents. Vanier's books include Life's Great QuestionsCommunity and Growth, Becoming Human, From Brokenness to Community, and Befriending the Stranger. He won the Templeton Prize in 2015.

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