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The Practice of Prophetic Imagination

Preaching an Emancipating Word

by Walter Brueggemann

Publication Year: 2012

Walter Brueggemann declares that the necessary character of truly prophetic preaching today is "a contestation between narratives." If the dominant narrative of our time promotes national self-sufficiency (through militarism) and personal self-sufficiency (through consumerism), it must be opposed by a different narrative. Prophetic preaching takes its stand in a world claimed by a God who is gracious, uncompromising—and real. Brueggemann writes here for leaders in faith communities who bear the responsibility of preaching. He describes the discipline of a prophetic imagination, in an unflinchingly realistic, unwaveringly candid manner.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

I am glad to dedicate this book to my old and treasured friend Gordon Cosby, who has lived out his life and ministry in the practice of prophetic imagination. As a wise and durable presence in the Church of the Savior, he has not only talked the prophetic but has walked it day by day in demanding circumstance. ...

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pp. xi-xiv

On the wall outside the door of my study at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago hangs a framed objet d’art that I see every morning when I arrive at work. What it depicts is not clear at first. There are arrows, streaking lines made with a black Magic Marker, and three prominent phrases— Orientation, Disorientation, New Orientation— ...

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Chapter 1. The Narrative Embedment of Prophetic Preaching

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pp. 1-20

It is my hope, in what follows, to make a credible connection between the material of “prophetic utterance” in the Old Testament itself and the actual practice of “prophetic preaching” that is mandated in the actual work of pastors who are located in worshipping congregations. It is not difficult to see what the prophets of the Old Testament are doing, ...

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Chapter 2. Prophetic Preaching as Sustained, Disciplined, Emancipated Imagination

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pp. 21-44

When I published my book The Prophetic Imagination in 1978, I laid out a series of theses that voiced my fundamental understanding of Israel’s prophets.1 That series of theses continues to ring true, I believe. In this foray, I will reflect on those theses and hope to advance the argument a bit. ...

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Chapter 3. Loss Imagined as Divine Judgment

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pp. 45-70

In their severe honesty, the prophets took the world as it was in front of them. But they saw that world very differently, because they saw it according to the God of the remembered imagination of the Torah tradition. And because they saw it differently, perforce, they spoke it differently. They could not do otherwise. ...

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Chapter 4. A Lingering Place of Relinquishment

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pp. 71-100

The world of Jerusalem, as the prophets find it, was on its way to loss. They imagined that the loss was linked to YHWH as divine punishment. They imagined, outside the box of establishment excuses and explanations, that the destruction of the city and the forced departure from the city were because of Israel’s long-term recalcitrance against the Sinai covenant. ...

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Chapter 5. The Burst of Newness amid Waiting

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pp. 101-128

It turns out that the prophets were right about loss. The destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation that followed made clear, according to the tradition, that a people out of sync with God’s purposes in policy and in practice comes under judgment. The symmetry of “being out of sync” applies, eventually, even to God’s special, privileged, chosen people (see Amos 3:2). ...

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Chapter 6. The Continuing Mandate

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pp. 129-150

In 1884 Denis Wortman wrote a hymn. He was a pastor in the Reformed Church in America and subsequently became the president of New Brunswick Seminary, a school of the Reformed Church in America. For the centenary of the seminary, he wrote the hymn with these words: ...


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pp. 151-158

E-ISBN-13: 9781451419764
E-ISBN-10: 1451419767
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698973
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698975

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2012