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Yeah, I know

Sorry for the sparsest April I’ve ever given you folks. I do intend to rectify the situation soon, rest assured. My time has been spent of late with family, hectic work, and as much rest and exercise as I can squeeze into the mix. But I promise you are not forgotten. For the moment I’ll leave you with the  words of Craig Keen, which, of late, have been ruling, shaping, and transforming whatever theological thoughts come through my head:

Agape–and here I must ask one to listen hard to what must remain counterintuitive–agape opens wounds, it doesn’t heal them. It opens the walls of communities, it doesn’t guard them. It tells a story that even the most far-reaching and flexible narrative cannot get its arms around. It lives not for us, but for them. It is not a perfection that is hard to come by. It is a gift, even if a rare gift. It is not taught by hard times, but in spite of hard times; just as it is taught in spite of good times. It is an openness that prevails even when one can no longer cope with the chaos of another day, cannot say how the events of one’s life are steps on a journey. Agape is perfection, holiness,  because it is a kind of ek-stasis that unravels every communitarian fabric, every story, every virtue, every habit.

Does this mean that “community” is to be jettisoned in some lonely return to individualistic pietism? Is there no story of the holy life? Does virtue, does habit, have no complicity with perfection? No. Not this. There are indeed a community and a story and a habituation that are hallowed. However, this community is ecclesial, gathered–and gathered by what can never be lodged in that community–gathered by what will only disruptively dwell there. And so, the story of the community, however wordy it gets, however effectively it appropriates the events that befall it, must always come to silence–before an ex-propriating mystery that cannot be said. So, too, one’s habits, as helpful as they are as a kind of collection of our worldly goods, are to be offered–in the freedom of the gift, the gift that is the Holy Spirit.

~ Craig Keen, “The Human Person as Intercessory Prayer,” 6-7. In Embodied Holiness.


  1. Halden thank you for quoting these wonderful thought. I think I remember reading this essay published in Embodied Holiness, ed. by Sam Powell and Michale Lodahl. Is it the same one or is it a new edited article?


    Friday, April 30, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink
  2. Bruce McCormack wrote:

    My thanks to Craig for his remarkable words – and to you, Halden, for posting them.


    Friday, April 30, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    Brian, it turns out you’re right. I guess I just have a copy of the original lecture. It was originally given as a response to Hauerwas at a conference, I believe.

    Friday, April 30, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink
  4. Scott Savage wrote:


    I had to read this book when I took a class with Powell in undergrad. Just wondering how you came across it?


    Friday, April 30, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink
  5. Bruce Hamill wrote:

    That is a very nice quote… comes nicely after hearing John Barclay (visiting NZ) lecture on the Christ event as Gift and as ‘unconditioned singularity’ and the key to Paul.

    Friday, April 30, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Permalink
  6. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Yes, these are good words, Halden! Thank you, brother . . .

    Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  7. roger flyer wrote:


    Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink
  8. kim fabricius wrote:

    Yes, a pearl.

    Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 5:43 am | Permalink

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