A Gospel of Hope

Walter Brueggemann, A Gospel of Hope (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press), 2018.

Walter Brueggemann has been a beloved and revered teacher of the Hebrew Scriptures for decades. He has been prolific throughout his career, and perhaps even more prolific as a writer during his retirement. His books on the prophets are classics and his books of prayers are deeply meaningful. They have become staples in my library to which I return again and again. So one might not expect to see a book specifically focused on New Testament themes from Brueggemann, but the reality is that he is a deeply faithful Christian scholar whose entire body of work is predicated on his Christian beliefs. So a book of Christology from Brueggemann should not be a surprise.

Quite the contrary, it is a delight.

The book is a series of excerpts form elsewhere in his writings and so each paragraph is a gem that is a thought that stands on its own. I commented to one of my colleagues that it is a bit like reading poetry. I find myself reading out loud and then pausing after a paragraph to ponder the depth of meaning contained therein. Our book group has been going through the book by having each member share a particularly meaningful passage which we then discuss. We have no trouble filling up our time with meaningful conversation.

It shouldn't surprise us that Brueggemann has written words that act like poetry. His respect for the Old Testament poets, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah has been inspirational to many of us. He knows that in troubled times, no one can speak truth to power quite the way it is expressed by the poets.

Read the book slowly and carefully. Set it in a convenient location and refer to it from time to time. You won't be disappointed.