Westminster John Knox Press, 165 pages
Few contemporary scholars are more prolific than Walter Brueggemann. Such profusion often results in boredom for readers who grow weary of familiar themes repackaged with shiny new covers. Gladly, this is not the case for Brueggemann. His students and colleagues continue to gather wisdom from his sermons, essays and comments gathered in collections such as this one. “A Gospel of Hope” is full of readings that the author honestly describes as audacious. In confessing the audaciousness of repeating what one has already said, he points toward the audaciousness of all proclamation that is rooted in the radical claims of the gospel. All preachers and teachers who dare to speak of the hope of God’s presence in troubled times belong to a long line going all the way back to the beginning. Brueggemann is keenly aware of the times we are living in and the necessity for counter-narratives of hope strong enough to shape the people of God around the gospel of Jesus Christ. The chapters focus on familiar themes: God’s fidelity, anxiety and freedom, faithful practices, Jesus, justice, abundance and generosity and more. In each, Brueggemann has gathered excerpts from his writings into brief penetrating insights on the topic. To call this a devotional book because of the brevity would be misleading. Rather, it contains selections that stir both mind and heart to further reflection for preaching, teaching and action. Small groups will benefit from studying this book. Preachers will gain additional encouragement and insights for their own audacious proclamation of hope. We need all the audacity we can summon forth.