SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness; Expanded Edition

Hauerwas, Stanley & . IVP. Jul. 2018. 128p. notes. ISBN 9780830834969. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9780830873913. REL
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Compassion toward those with physical or mental disabilities by the able-bodied is commonly seen as acting for those less fortunate. Hauerwas (emeritus, Divinity & Law, Duke Univ.; The Character of Virtue) and Vanier (founder, L'Arche Communities; From Brokenness to Wholeness) insist that this sort of compassion is misplaced. Instead, the Gospel invites those who presume themselves to be able-bodied to live among those who are not. Vanier, having spent most of his life in such an expansive community, provides a witness to the healing and joy found there, pulling readers in with a kind of invitation. Hauerwas leads with a critique of the prevailing tendencies to view disabilities as problems to be solved and the idealization of persons as autonomous and self-determined. Such ideals view those with disabilities as somewhat less than human and place disabilities ahead of human integrity. This updated work, originally published in 2008, includes a series of study guide questions.
VERDICT For those interested in a practical, compassionate spirituality rooted in the integrity of the individual, this is a valuable resource.

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