On Monday nights this semester, we are tackling some of your deep-seated questions about scripture, the life of discipleship, prayer, and the history of the Church. This week, we will kick off a short series on the prophets and the work of prophecy with a Bible study led by Jorden Smith. This series will be shaped by your questions about prophecy and by Walter Brueggemann’s classic work, The Prophetic Imagination.
In his text, Brueggemann points out that the prophetic is not, contrary to some views, simply a matter of prediction of future events; nor is it, contrary to some views, simply a nagging or a scolding indignation about social justice in the prophet’s present. Instead, Brueggemann writes, “The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.”[i] That is, the prophet awakens memory that both criticizes the social reality and energizes a response that breaks with that imperial reality to embrace the strange ways of God that lead to justice and peace. Prophecy, therefore, points out that the “gods of the time” are not God, and it presents the people of God with an alternate view of reality, grounded in the story of how God has acted in the past.
So, come to this study ready to have your understanding of the work of the prophet challenged. Come to this study ready to be inspired and energized by the prophetic imagination, by God’s dream for the future. Come knowing that you have a role to play in the building of that future vision in this time.
[i] Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination (Philadephia: Fortress Press, 1978), 13.