Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas

Resident Aliens

In this bold and visionary book, two leading Christian thinkers explore the "alien" status of Christians in today's world and offer a compelling new vision of how the Christian church can regain its vitality, battle its malaise, reclaim its capacity to nourish souls, and stand firmly against the illusions, pretensions, and eroding values of today's world. Hauerwas and Willimon call for a radical new understanding of the church. By renouncing the ...

Details Resident Aliens

TitleResident Aliens
Release DateSep 1st, 1989
PublisherAbingdon Press
GenreReligion, Theology, Christian, Nonfiction, Christianity, Church, Cultural

Reviews Resident Aliens

  • Kyle
    Who doesn't love a repeated swift kick in the backside?As a loud and clear call for the Church to start acting like the Church, this book was a gem. There is a reason, it is becoming a modern ecclesial classic. Although many of the socio-political references are dated (Reagan, Iran/Contra, yuppies, etc.) the attitudes behind the critiques are not. Some of the pokes at mainline denominations are even funnier (and thus more sad) because the critici...
  • Crimson Sparrow
    One of the most powerful and pertinent messages this book offers is its depiction of a church narrative enslaved to the doctrines of democracy and consumerism. It paints both liberals and conservatives as two sides of the same coin, both looking to the government and her articulation of freedom, human rights, power, peace, and prosperity as method and mode of salvation. They cite Yoder’s paradigm: The “activist” church desires to transform ...
  • Charlie
    The first several chapters present the authors' neo-anabaptist social ethic. The last few are more focused toward ministers. This is somewhat of a "movement" book. If you buy hard into the vision the authors are selling, it's great. For outsiders, there are few takeaways.
  • Nate D.
    Resident Aliens is a book that I found to be extremely important for the Church today. It is a book that the people around me quote often and I have quoted often, but have never sat down and read the whole thing. I am glad I finally did. I feel like I and maybe the church have been floundering at how to handle our world right now. We feel a panic to do something. We feel like a new sense of urgency to change the world before it crashes down on us...
  • Weston Durrwachter
    This was a fantastic book, just as I initially thought it would be. Hauerwas is a great writer and provides some great thoughts on living and doing ministry in a post-Christian world. This is one of those books that I would put in a "Every book Christians must read" list. I plan to return to it regularly throughout my life and ministry.
  • Alex
    When I loved this book, I really loved it; and when I hated it, I really hated it; either way I won't stop talking about it. Which means it is probably a commendable read for anyone trying to figure out what it means to be a Christian - or more importantly - what it means to be the church today.
  • Bethany
    A refreshing vision of what the church should be, I recommend for any Christian to read, especially any Christian in America.
  • Jeremy Manuel
    Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon is a book I remember reading in seminary. I remember not enjoying the book very much during those days, so I must admit that I wasn’t looking forward to revisiting it. However, once I re-read the book I was able to appreciate it much more than I remember appreciating it during seminary. It doesn’t mean that this is my favorite book by any means, but well we’ll get to that.In some w...
  • C. Harvey
    Inspiring. I kept thinking, how could I be a catalyst for change in a large urban Lutheran church. The examples in this book are inadequate. Makes me wonder if what is being advocated is only possible in very small congregations of like minded believers with some strong awareness of how spiritual pride can so easily corrupt the best intentions.
  • Longfellow
    As a layperson with limited knowledge of theological context, based on what I’ve heard Resident Aliens was a fairly important work of theology when it was published in 1989.The most surprising thing to me was the ease and speed with which I was able to finish this book. It is neither pretentious in its word choice nor in its construction of sentences, something I’ve come to expect from theology, philosophy, and literary criticism. I realize n...
  • Jim Dressner
    This profound book teeters on the brink of being amazing, but occasionally falls just a little short. The "resident alien" metaphor (the church's allegiance is not first to the state, so she is a "colony" of resident aliens) is apt, insightful, and freeing. The church need not make sense to its culture nor be a partner to the state in creating a "Christendom", but rather is free to live in a way that points to God's work of redeeming and reclaimi...
  • Phillip Howell
    The first few chapters are dynamite and the final couple chapters fade a bit. It made me wonder if Hauerwas wrote the first few chapters and Willimon wrote the last few. The punchy and provocative aspects of the first few chapters are almost completely absent in the last few chapters. There is a lot to like about the way the church is described and the encouragements for the ways the church should be a politically subversive colony of heaven. Or ...
  • John
    Hauerwas and Willimon do a nice job articulating a vision for the church that transcends political loyalties, refusing to confuse loyalty to a political party with loyalty to Jesus Christ. In many ways, the book is an exhortation for Christians to create culture that embodies the eschatological kingdom. This entails a strong emphasis on the defining story for Christians, that of Jesus, His sacrifice, His resurrection, and His return. The communit...
  • J. Alfred
    Now this is a political theory I can get behind: why should Christians try to use their worldly influence to force a worldly government to force worldly people to act like Christians? Christendom is an injurious myth, and therefore the Christian's job is to be a member of the church, which is the only truly unworldly institution out there.
  • Geoff Glenister
    I was first introduced to Stanley Hauerwas at the Society of Vineyard Scholars conference in 2015. There was a lot of excitement surrounding him, and so I had quite a big anticipation for his talk. But as I listened to his address, I got the impression that, while he and I would agree on a lot of things and would largely be in harmony with each other, we might be speaking different languages and that he might want to watch the way he uses certain...
  • Roland Clark
    In 1951 an American theologian by the name of H. Richard Niebuhr wrote a book called Christ and Culture, which quickly became the definitive guide to how Christians should relate to the world. Christians generally approach the world in one of five different ways, Niebuhr said, the best of which was 'Christ Transforming Culture'. Hauerwas and Williamson summarize Niebuhr's approach as being one in which the Church 'neither capitulated to culture n...
  • Paul Batz
    This is a surprisingly quick book to read from Hauerwas and Willimon. It is easily accessible (though certain examples are slightly outdated) but also deeply challenging. Essentially, the authors call the church to be the church. They are highly critical of the Constantinian approach which has prevented the church from being anything more a service to and a reinforcement of the empire/nation and its own agenda. Instead, Hauerwas and Willimon prop...
  • Timothy Goldsmith
    Haurwas & Willimon say Christian community, life in the 'colony', is not primarily about togetherness. It is about the way of Jesus Christ with those whom he calls to himself. It is about disciplining our wants and needs in congruence with a true story, which gives us the resources to lead truthful lives. In living out the story together, togetherness happens, b ut only as a by-product of the main project of trying to be faithful to Jesus.This n...
  • Nancy Nehila
    Completely delusional The authors compare clergy to being used like prostitutes. They must live a very sheltered life where issues like the need for affordable childcare are wickedly promoting non Christian values like single parent households or both parents working. They preach poverty while themselves living lives of privilege. They can’t even agree with themselves. Not sure if the run on sentences and use of specialized vocabulary add to th...
  • Aurel Lazar
    Christendom is falling. Since the time of Constantine, the church has been the crutch of modern politics, influencing ethics and politics, and creating a "Christian Civilization" that has now rejected Christianity itself. In such a world, Hauerwas argues that Christianity can finally be free of the Constantinianism that has plagued it for 1700 years, and be a colony of Resident Aliens living among the people of the secular world. In my journey th...
  • Spencer
    Hauerwas and Willimon were not seeking to make friends when they wrote this book! Such is the role of prophets. This book, in my mind, is a series of truth bombs about how the church has lost its way, and can regain its authenticity by resolutely being itself. It argues against the church selling out to the culture both theologically, politically, and also in ministry, arguing instead for recapturing a Christ-centred and virtue driven understandi...
  • Jeff
    I somehow got through a Biblical Studies degree at a Christian college and an M.A. from a seminary with reading only one small essay from Hauerwas. Though I had never read any of his works, I felt like I already knew most of his ideas from references to his work in other works.Though this book was published in 1989, it could have easily been written in 2019 (if you update the references to the Soviet Union, AIDS epidemic, etc.). Hauerwas and Will...
  • Kaia
    This book is definitely still relevant today, although I'd hope that there'd be a bit of re-examining about the violence implied in the colony analogy. I especially appreciated the clarity with with the authors confront Christians (of any political inclination) to stop idolizing the power of the state. Our hope is in the Kingdom of God and it is our job is to be the church ~ not to compromise with politics to make some improvements in the System,...
  • Chloé Bennett
    This is a really good book for people looking for something to spark a discussion of evangelism. Hauerwas challenges readers to self-examination without feeling as if they have been attacked or condemned, but rather have been encouraged to see the ways in which we can grow as the body of Christ and more fully inhabit a vision of the church founded on its biblical establishment. With a focus on what "effectiveness" looks like for a Christian commu...
  • David Rawls
    I don't normally give 5 star ratings but this book I believe hits at the heart of how Christian's should see themselves and act within the American culture. If your tired of Christiandom and ready to simply be a disciple of Jesus this is a book for you. If you are content with a false narrative where Christians need to align themselves along political lines of left and right than you can find other books. Hauerwas and Willimon do a great job of s...
  • Claude Futurax
    Un avertissement aux évangéliques américains pour ne pas basculer dans une religion civile. Le soutient majoritaire des évangéliques pour Donald Trump démontre que les auteurs avaient raison sur bien des points. Le lecteur catholique francophone risque d'être parfois perdu ici pour ne pas dire très troublé.
  • Nithin Thompson
    While this book is dated there a lot of interesting ideas of what it means to live as a citizen of Gods kingdom in the world. Especially after looking at some of the things happening in places like Charlottesville it's so important that we live in this world and are called to engage right here and right now, but also to bring the healing hand of Shalom to the places we've been placed in.
  • Joel Ken
    Hauerwas and Willimon frame their discussion around the view of Church as colony, quoting Philippians 3:20, “Our commonwealth is in heaven.” This reality changes everything, and the authors aim to show its change in how we think about the relationship between Church and state. Very interesting.
  • Hannah Scanlon
    Just as timely today as it was when it was written, Hauerwas and Williams calls contemporary American protestantism to to recover the political significance of the church as an alternative to the politics of the world. A valuable read.
  • Joshua
    This book puts its finger on some real problems and also offers many helpful insights. However, I do not embrace the neo-anabaptist theological framework. Bottom line: helpful analysis with, at times, iffy solutions.