So here we are on All Hallow’s Eve, and here I am in my home office, preparing to polish a first draft funeral sermon. It’s slow going this morning, not due to the cold, which I adore. But it’s slow going because I am distracted for I’m pondering still the point of Reformation Day.

I guess I am over in the camp of Stanley Hauerwas, at least in the camp where Hauerwas was when he spoke the following excerpt during a lecture in 2013:

“Reformation names the disunity in which we currently stand. We who remain in the Protestant tradition want to say that Reformation was a success. But when we make Reformation a success, it only ends up killing us. After all, the very name ‘Protestantism’ is meant to denote a reform movement of protest within the Church Catholic. When Protestantism becomes an end in itself, which it certainly has through the mainstream denominations in America, it becomes anathema. If we no longer have broken hearts at the church’s division, then we cannot help but unfaithfully celebrate Reformation Sunday.”

I’m certainly in the camp of Hauerwas when he crafted the attached article in 1995. To me, Reformation Sunday often looks like the celebration of divorce. We need a better message if our message is some triumphal self-congratulatory separation incantation, for God’s world deserves a better more hopeful message.

1995 Hauerwas article