Hauerwas commented twice in Hannah’s Child about “the loss of ecclesial identities”:
“Theology in modernity, moreover, has been position driven. Thus you are a Tillichian, a Bultmannian, a liberal, a conservative, a Barthian (if you can ever understand what that might entail), a process theologian, and so on. That many theologians think they need to have a position is, I suspect, the result of the loss of ecclesial identities.” (60)
(To put it very crudely, theologians don’t go to the church, and that’s why they need some kind of position rather than the traditional denominational identifiers. Hauerwas, too, recollected how he learnt to belong in the church. It is perhaps an honest admission of the oft-mentioned divide between the academia and the church.)
“It was true that I was neither a Protestant nor a Catholic. I did not have to be a Protestant or a Catholic because I had gone to Yale. The sad reality is that, for many of us, where we went to graduate school was more important than our ecclesial identification.” (94)
And I think I can resonate with his claim to the extent that I like to identify myself more with the book publishers that I like the most. Thus, I like to identify myself with Eerdmans, which claims to be “deeply rooted in the historic Christian tradition, ecumenical in spirit, open to emerging dialogue with other faiths, [and] continues its commitment to the life of the religious academy, to the church, and to the role of religion in culture.” Or, IVP Academic, which describes who they are as being “evangelically rooted [and] critically engaged.” So, here is my five points of Eerdmans-IVP-ism: academic, evangelical, ecumenical, traditional, and critical.
(Sorry but I can’t make a good flowery acronym for my five points.)