From his memoir, Hannah’s Child - Hauerwas on encountering Liberal theology in the University, and his attraction to the work of Karl Barth.
“The presumption of many scholars at the time was that the task of theology was to make the language of the faith amenable to standards set by the world. This could be done by subtraction: ‘Of course you do not have to believe X or Y’; or, by translation, ‘When we say X or Y we really mean…’ I was simply not interested in that project. From my perspective, if the language was not true, then you ought to give it up. I thought the crucial question was not whether Christianity could be made amenable to the world, but could the world be made amenable to what Christians believe? I had not come to the study of theology to play around.
I am not sure why I thought like this, but I suspect it had something to do with being a bricklayer. I simply did not believe in ‘cutting corners.’ I was attracted to Barth because he never cut any of the corners. He never tried to ‘explain.’ Rather, he tried to show how the language works by showing how the language works. There is a ‘no bullshit’ quality to Barth’s thought that appealed to a bricklayer from Texas and that seemed to me the kind of straightforwardness Christian claims require” (p. 59).
Hauerwas delved into this fascination with Barth in more detail in a First Things article titled Karl Barth Dogmatics in Outline, and played off of Barth’s understanding of the word “God” in the essay Naming God at ABC.
Also a part of my reading this morning, an old post by Kim Fabricius, Ten Propositions on Karl Barth.