Christian Ethics

I can’t pinpoint the moment exactly, but it was probably around the time that Lauren and I went and saw Stanley Hauerwas in Winnipeg that I began to get very interested in the subject of Christian Ethics. That is the focus of my future Master’s degree, and when I found out that there was such a course being offered in the Prov Seminary this semester, I jumped at the opportunity to cash in my free audit. The first class was this morning, and already I know that this is what I am meant to study, the dwelling place of my academic / vocational passions.

So, what stood out from the first class? Within the first ten minutes of class, we were told that this was not going to be a place where the Christian life is going to be laid out in a set of ethical principles by which to live; for when the Christian life is reduced to a set of rules and principles, ‘there is no longer a need for a resurrected, living Jesus.’ Wow. The main text for the class is Bonhoeffer’s Ethics, and we were given a fantastic [paraphrased] quote from one of his earlier works in responce of whether or not Jesus is a moral figure who gives us a blueprint for how to live a moral and ethical life. He said that in answering this question, “we must stand still, rest, and ask ‘can we, in advance, know what the command to love our neighbour will look like?‘” In other words, all of our black and white presuppositions must be thrown out the window; there are no easy answers.

We must first answer Jesus’ question of ‘who do you say that I am?‘ in order to work through any of the pressing questions of the day. If we believe that Jesus is Lord, that he is alive and speaks to us today, that he is concerned with life [and not only, as the Church would have us believe, life after death], then we have no choice but to acknowledge that our Christian beliefs and practices must shape how we live in the world today. There can be no dictinction between belief and action.

I can’t say enough about how pumped I am for this class, and for my studies next year. I’m sure there will be many posts emanating out of this, so stay tuned.

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    • Sara
    • January 17th, 2008

    Ian.
    I’m so glad you’re taking this class and I can’t wait to hear what you’re learning. I can’t do it. The whole Christian ethics subject is too difficult for me to spend any amount of time studying because it drives me nuts that there are so many questions that we don’t really have any perfect answers for. So if I dwell on it too much I go bonkers. (We should all start using the word “bonkers” a little more.) So… you go do all the mind boggling work and then fill in all the people like me who just can’t handle it. And of course as fair exchange I’ll fill you in on all of the life changing stuff I learn in my narrative critical approach to the book of Judges… what? that’s not a fair trade? (Ha… fair trade…)

  1. Sara,
    I am very much looking forward to this class and studies beyond in this area. It’s been an area of interest that has been growing inside me, and I know it’s what I am meant to study. I’m glad you’re living what you are doing as well. Seems like ineteresting stuff for sure. Keep up the great work at Mac.

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