In Journey To The Common Good, respected author and theologian Walter Brueggemann turns his discerning eye to the most critical yet basic needs of a world adapting to a new era, an era defined in large part by America's efforts to rebuild from an age of terror even as it navigates its way through an economic collapse. Yet in spite of these great challenges, Brueggemann calls us to journey together to the common good through neighborliness, covenanting, and reconstruction.
Such a concept may seem overwhelming, but writing with his usual theological acumen and social awareness Brueggemann distills this challenge to its most basic issues: Where is the church going? What is its role in contemporary society? What lessons does it have to offer a world enmeshed in such turbulent times?
The answer, of course, is the same answer God gave to the Israelites thousands of years ago: Love your neighbor and work for the common good. Brueggemann considers biblical texts as examples of the journey now required of the faithful if they wish to move from isolation and distrust to a practice of neighborliness, as an invitation to a radical choice for life or for death, and as a reliable script for overcoming contemporary problems of loss and restoration in a failed urban economy.
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[ A longer version of this review appeared in THE ENGLEWOOD REVIEW OF BOOKS - 5 March 2010 ]"[The] three chapters [of this book] together bear witness to the urgent contemporaneity of the biblical tradition. I believe that this exposition, insofar as it is faithful, attests that a biblical perception of reality is urgent for the imagination of the public community, especially if that public imagination has been enthralled for a very long time in the claims of Enlightenment rationality. While there are huge gifts given in that rationality, what we cannot derive from the account of Enlightenment rationality is demanding, generous neighborliness grounded in Gods own passion for the neighborhood." (121)Brueggemanns work here is itself a work of prophecy, helping us to imagine the way forward toward the common good that is the ultimate redemption of God. Journey to the Common Good is essential for churches who dare to resist the ubiquitous temptations of wealth, might and worldly wisdom, and who seek Gods transformation of their specific neighborhoods. Brueggemann offers a scriptural call for all churches to move in this direction, and his words come as sweet encouragement to churches who already caught a glimpse of this redemptive vision and are starting to take baby steps in this direction. Although sometimes a bit challenging in its form as well as its content, Journey to the Common Good is one book that all churches cannot afford NOT to read!