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To work with wood changes the formal character of the matter, shaping what once was a tree into a house here and a table there; and at the same time wood works the carpenter, giving her the callouses and habits of hand that set the maker apart from other sorts of human beings.  The same goes for the work of the banker and the butcher and the barrister: the work of farming is at the same time the work that the human being does on the earth and the work that the earth does on the human being.  And that’s precisely what makes Stanley Hauerwas’s new book The Work of Theology so interesting: we get to walk alongside a master practitioner and see what kind of work he has done and the work that’s been done on him.

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