Ethics As Unveiling

Throughout this summer I have been primarily reading in the field of Christian Ethics in preparation for a class I will be teaching in the fall. In doing research for this class I was excited to discover a new anthology edited by noted theologian and ethicist Stanley Hauerwas, which is described as “an innovative exposition of Christian ethics, seen through the lens of Christian worship.” This particularly excited me as it has been my developing conviction that Christian ethics is intimately connected to Christian spirituality, both of which should be centered upon and emerge from the worshiping life of the Church. In the academy, however, all of these fields are generally treated as separate fields of academic inquiry, which no doubt reflects our Enlightenment heritage through which knowledge was primarily constructed through rational analysis (analysis being that mode of understanding through which domains of inquiry are broken down, sorted, and categorized). This is a contrary method to more organic forms of knowledge which begins with the conviction that there exists in the whole of things features that cannot be properly understood when discretely analyzed. Anyways, given the thrust of my convictions about the organic relationship between these aspects of the Christian life, I found it fitting and perhaps providential to stumble across the following entry written perhaps ten or more years ago in a personal journal of  ideas that I periodically carry around. And so…

In the Christian faith ethics is not based upon some rational principle nor ideological construct. Rather it is grounded upon worship at the heart of which is sacrifice. First, and by far foremost, is the sacrifice of the One-and-Only sent from the bosom of the Father in the power of the Spirit. Upon this is our own sacrifice, which is first a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and second a sacrificial lifestyle where again and again we offer ourselves to the rhythm of crucifixion and resurrection in Christ. This rhythm is the heart beat of discipleship in union with Christ. In this light, Christian ethics is properly denoted a mystery since it is the product of a believer’s incorporation into Christ by the Spirit, whose life becomes an unveiling of the one to whom they are united.


“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

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