Walter Brueggemann on Idolatry | ANNOTATE

Walter Brueggemann on Idolatry | ANNOTATE


The tacit, dominant narrative of our society is about military consumerism. It is propelled by greed, and anxiety, and violence. And that narrative is a lie. It cannot produce life. My scholarly work is an attempt to bear witness to an alternative metanarrative that is based in God’s holiness and neighborliness. And that when social power and social resources are administered in a neighborly way it produces a just and peaceable society. My mind works in terms of these profound tensions which we have to contest. And that contestation, as I understand it, is between the dominant narrative, which cannot produce life, and the alternative narrative of the gospel which is a promise of life through neighborly vulnerability. And I think in as many ways as I’ve been able to imagine I’ve been trying to elucidate that tension. In my Old Testament theology book I talked about testimony and counter-testimony. And so it’s always this tension that we have to negotiate that interests me always about doing exegesis. I think so much of this is hooked into an uncritical notion of American exceptionalism in which we imagine that we are God’s people and we get our nationalism all confused with our Christian faith and therefore America’s enemies are the enemies of God and the enemies of the gospel and all of that. When it seems to me that what we have to recognize is that Islam, like Christianity, and like Judaism, we all have our nuts. The nuts are very powerful now in all three traditions and our incredible anxiety about these matters is totally disproportionate to the reality of the facts on the ground. We confuse America being God’s chosen people with the whole national security state and all of that. The prophetic tradition of the Old Testament is profoundly critical and subversive of those kinds of idolatries. I think we are thick into idolatry. Our fear, I believe is because we are trying to protect and save something that is quite penultimate and should not be invested with that kind of ultimate importance. So I think we have huge witnessing and teaching to do to the contrary. And I think what is happened is that we think that our safety is in the American military system or the American economic system, when in fact Christians’ faith is invested in the truth of God and the truth of the gospel. And we’ve got that all confused. And for the most part do not want to sort it out.

2 thoughts on “Walter Brueggemann on Idolatry | ANNOTATE

  1. This is a well considered approach to the concept of the Kingdom of God as it stands opposed to the kingdoms of men. In the end, the people of God have their ultimate citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven, which also applies to their ultimate loyalty.

  2. Walter Brueggeman withdraws  his support for Israel conflict in

    Palestine , https://vimeo.com/148431713 , I  find his style very easy

    to follow  , and agree with him on this position , his latest book

    called '' chosen '' will upset many people , you may enjoy this radio

    interview on this latest book  if you find  an hour of free time he is

    as usual well  worth listening to

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