As the concluding verses of the Sermon [on the Mount] make explicit, disciples turn the other cheek, go the second mile, avoid promiscuity, remain faithful to their marriage vows because God is like this.- - -
The question is, What sort of community would be required to support an ethic of nonviolence, marital fidelity, forgiveness, and hope such as the one sketched by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount?- - -
Christians are not about the business of urging ordinary people individually to launch out on heroic, individual courses of action. The Sermon on the Mount cares nothing for the European Enlightenment;s infatuation with the individual self as the most significant ethical unit. For Christians, the church is the most significant ethical unit....Through teaching, support, sacrifice, worship, and commitment of the church, utterly ordinary people are enabled to do some rather extraordinary, even heroic acts, not on the basis of their own gifts or abilities, but rather by having a community capable of sustaining Christian virtue. The church enables us to be better people than we could be if left to our own devices.- - -
We already have too many people who know something about Jesus, about the church. What we need is people who will follow Jesus, who will be the church.
~Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony
Labels: quote, Resident Aliens