by Walter Brueggemann
WJK, Louisville, Ky. 284 pages
Walter Brueggemann has been described as the gold standard for relating careful critical scholarship to urgent and recurrent human problems (Harvey Cox). Rightly so, for who among contemporary preachers is not in debt to Brueggemann? His preaching (and teaching) is speech that does the very thing that he ascribes to Scripture: It creates an alternative world of God that runs counter to the hegemony of this world. Book after book, sermon after sermon, he has encouraged listeners to imagine a world of abundance rather than scarcity where the relentless power of Pharaoh is met by the counter-story of the liberating power of God. His creative capacity is astounding and the stuff of legend among preachers.
It doesn’t matter if, by now, one knows the Brueggemann categories that are bound to appear in such a volume. Witnessing the way he crafts each sermon around each text is always enriching, occasionally shocking and usually astonishing. One never tires of the cadence of the prophet who imagines a better way. This collection includes sermons from the liturgical year as well as sermons for other occasions: weddings, stewardship, graduation and peacemaking. One should read these sermons to be reminded of the serious task involved in preaching that actually shapes a people to imagine a new world of God. These sermons encourage us to live as if the new world were real — more real then the slave-producing world of fear and anxiety.