The crucial challenge for theology is that when it is read the reader thinks, "This is true." Recognizing claims that are "true" enables readers to identify an honest expression of life's complexities. The trick is to show that theological claims--the words that must be used to speak of God--are necessary if the theologian is to speak honestly of the complexities of life. The worst betrayal of the task of theology comes when the theologian fears that the words he or she must use are not necessary.
This new collection of essays, lectures, and sermons by Stanley Hauerwas is focused on the central challenge, risk, and difficulty of this necessity--working with words about God. The task of theology is to help us do things with words. "God" is not a word peculiar to theology, but if "God" is a word to be properly used by Christians, the word must be disciplined by Christian practice. It should, therefore, not be surprising that, like any word, we must learn how to say "God."