Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hauerwas on psychology via mental illness

From Harrisonburg, VA, USA
My wife and daughter are on a little vacation at the beach this week, and since we also did a whole lot of running around in June, I'm staying home to work, which in addition to my gainful employment includes taking care of both our cat and our neighbor's cat while they're also away. evenings are kind of quiet this week. Last night I caught some episodes of Battlestar Galactica, since it had been since early June since I last saw one and I only watch that show when my wife's not around. (Nerd stuff.)

Tonight I thought I'd feed my brain a bit more so I watched a three-lecture series that Stanley Hauerwas delivered at Fuller Theological Seminary's 2011 "Symposium on the Integration of Faith and Psychology." I wanted to hear what the old man had to say about psychology, knowing it would be pretty harshly critical, but I was somewhat puzzled (at first) to see him spend the first two lectures reading from his stunning memoir, Hannah's Child, drawing specifically on the parts related to his 24-year marriage to a wife who struggled with mental illness.

It's not until his final lecture where he finally gets around to doing the theological explication of all that had come before, even then reflecting on the writing of his memoir. How this "integrated" with psychology can only be glimpsed explicitly in a few of his offhand remarks, so he's doing what he does best (and may have learned from Yoder): He changes the subject.

Watching all these is a three-hour time commitment, but if you haven't read his memoir this is a great way to get significant bits. It's also great to see him do his work. As I recently indicated, Hauerwas is like a fine wine. He not only gets better with age, he gets better the longer you hang with him.

Mental Illness, My Story from Fuller Seminary on Vimeo.

Enduring, How to Go On from Fuller Seminary on Vimeo.

God and the Mentally Ill from Fuller Seminary on Vimeo.

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