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...
  • 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.
  • 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 ...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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,...
  • 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.
  • Alex English
    After my third time reading this book, it remains one of my favorites. A must read for anyone in ministry or church leadership.
  • Christina
    Provocative and readable, this is a nice introduction to the thought of Stanley Hauerwas, especially his ideas related to the Church as polis or colony.
  • Jeff
    I found it unsettling, not in a good way ... going to read again before I comment
  • Matt
    ���The church is a colony, an island of one culture in the middle of another. In baptism our citizenship is transferred from one dominion to another, and we become, in whatever culture we find ourselves, resident aliens.��� This is an accurate summary of Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon���s book titled, ���Resident Aliens.��� In Resident Aliens, Hauerwas and Willimon draw out the idea that as Christians each and...
  • Matthew Richard
    “The church is a colony, an island of one culture in the middle of another. In baptism our citizenship is transferred from one dominion to another, and we become, in whatever culture we find ourselves, resident aliens.” This is an accurate summary of Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon’s book titled, “Resident Aliens.” In Resident Aliens, Hauerwas and Willimon draw out the idea that as Christians each and every one of us operate from ...
  • Nathaniel Spencer
    I've known lots of people who need this book, but didn't know that anything like it exists. That is partly because good ecclesiology is perhaps the most under-valued idea in American religion, esp. evangelicalism. This book presents the antidote to the persistent muddle that Christians make of their attachment to politics. The goal? To restore the local church, as opposed to the secular political sphere, as the center of God's action in the world...
  • David
    This is a very thought provoking book about the church regaining its sense of mission in a culture that desperately needs good news. Many highlights and things worth considering:pg. 4 - they come out of the gate firing, "North America is a place where people have absorbed just enough Christianity to inoculate them against the contagion of the real thing."pg. 26 - Harry Truman calling the first atomic bomb "the greatest thing in history" and our m...
  • Patrick Willis
    This is a phenomenal book, and I can't help but marvel at how good and relevant it is even though it was published back in the 80's. I first heard of this book (and bought it) back when I was a sophomore in undergrad. It was an optional supplemental reading for my ethics class. I didn't really read it then, but because it had such high marks, I've had it on my 'to-read' list for quite a while. I REALLY like the concept that the authors take up an...
  • John Desaulniers, Jr.
    Like too many books, the first half was better than the second, still it was a worthwhile read. Hauerwas, and his co-author, William Willimon, rightly critique the failed politics of both the liberal church and the conservative church, arguing for living out the Gospel as the true politics of the Christian. Their proposition is that Gospel living, especially as embodied by the Sermon on the Mount, isn't about making this world a better place, but...
  • Michael Henebry
    Resident Aliens, written by Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, is a book about the changing face and the heart of the church in America. Hauerwas and Willimon both posit that the church has not faced a change like experienced in the 1980’s since the Constantinian Shift in 313 B.C.E. where the Christian faith was interpreted to fit the world in which the people lived in. This view that the Constantinian Shift brought to the church negated th...
  • Aaron
    NOTE: The reviews for this book on are much much better than mine - please go read them here.As I reflect on this book, I'm saddened that it was written twenty years ago, yet has not seemed to have the impact I would have hoped. But I realize that challenging your own assumptions about God, church, and ministry is not an easy task, and takes time.The authors expose the American church for what it is: a Constantinian, sentimental group ...