I imagine that I will eventually get around to posting on William Stringfellow. Reading his theological biography by Anthony Dancer is helping me make connections in a better than intellectual way. In the meantime, here is a portion from Rowan Williams’ foreword to Dancer’s work on Stringfellow:
William Stringfellow is one of those people who is impossible to classify easily, and who is an equally unsettling figure for partisans of all complexions. A passionate radical, committed to the poor and to a variety of “progressive” causes, he was a scathing critic of the reduction of Christianity to social service. A persistent proclaimer of the absolute authority of the Bible, he was perpetually in conflict with fundamentalists and deeply hostile to what he regarded as defensive, moralistic, or pietistic readings. Identified by the greatest Protestant theologian of the twentieth century as the man that America should be listening to, he never held an academic post or indeed any significant public role…
At a time when the marriage of religiosity and fearfully defensive nationalism is as much in evidence as it ever was, and when the churches are showing an exceptional talent for throwing away any residual credibility by the bitterness of their internal quarrels, Stringfellow’s uncompromising witness to the biblical imperatives is water in a dry land. He still summons believers to say no, in Jesus Christ, to the power of death, as expressed in oppression, religious anxiety, moralizing superiority, and to say yes to the new creation, life in the “holy nation” which is called out as a sign to all human social existence of what God makes possible. I hope this book will send many back to Stringfellow’s own unique and disturbing work, so that the churches may again be challenged to be what they actually are for the sake of the world’s healing.
Rowan Williams, “Foreword,” in An Alien in a Strange Land: Theology in the Life of William Stringfellow, by Anthony Dancer, (Eugene: Wipf and Stock) 2011.