Hauerwas on the Mentally Disabled

I’ve been reading through Hauerwas’ memoirs, Hannah’s Child, and came upon this shattering passage:

What an experience it was for me to become part of the world of the mentally disabled. That world, as I suspect it should have, frightened me. I shall never forget the first time I was given a tour of the center [the Logan Center for schooling the mentally disabled]. A seven-year-old boy who had Down syndrome jumped in my arms and hugged me. He was too close, right in my face, and would not let go. I carried him as we continued the tour. I had to act like everything was just “fine,” but really I was terrified. I soon began to think that learning to live with the mentally disabled might be paradigmatic for learning what it might mean to face God. (112)

One thought on “Hauerwas on the Mentally Disabled

  1. I have a life-long struggle with mental illness. Reading Stanley’s book was disconcerting: reading one of my theological heroes facing up to something so personal to me. And the vulnerability with which he faces up to something so incomprehensible and shares his own fears, frustrations and failings.

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