Stanley Hauerwas, at his side-stepping, dummy-serving, best:
You have been called ‘contemporary theology’s foremost intellectual provocateur’. What do you thinkabout the controversy that your work generates? Do you consider that it’s a sign that you’re doing theology properly?
I don’t like the language of provocateur. I’m oftentimes introduced as being very provocative, and I always tell people, don’t tell me I’m provocative. You can say I’m outrageous, wrong etc. but provocative is a liberal word, it means, I understand you better than you probably understand yourself. It means, I’m not really in agreement with you, therefore I’m able to distance myself, which means I finally don’t have to take you seriously. So screw provocative! I think that I make a lot of people angry, because I have something to say, and I have something to say because I take Christian convictions seriously and straight up, and that’s a very big challenge to Christians, who have spent some generations trying to show the world that we don’t have anything to say other than what the world already thinks it knows.
From Rebecca O’Loughlin, “Interview with Stanley Hauerwas,” Discourse: Learning and Teaching in Philosophical and Religious Studies 8, no. 1 (Autumn 2008): 19-28. Available here.