My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Review: Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks

Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks by Walter Brueggemann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book: ****
Performance: ***

A Tilt Against Exceptionalism

Using the Jewish experience of Babylonian exile and destruction of the Temple, the author examines the Hebrew Scripture to help us understood how the problems of Jewish Chosenness intersects with American Exceptionalism … where both lead to a destructive nationalism that is unable to see the reality of their vulnerability (highlighted by US response to the 911 attack on NYC). Brueggemann begins by pulling from Psalms and the Prophets examples of the Jewish world view as God’s chosen people and compares this with the modern American culture of exceptionalism that seems to be its spiritual heir where both give rise to the hubris of elites that denied their vulnerability and fostered an increasing injustice to those on the margins as those same elites began to feel safe ignoring their plight. The author generally sticks to what can be extracted from scripture without any other historical context, so there is an obvious bias that comes through in the analysis; however, you don’t have to look very hard to find this same debate in today’s world … and for some readers may hit a little too close to home for them to accept the author’s judgement here.

And then the world ends … the Temple is destroyed … the Towers fall … the unthinkable happens and each society suddenly feels vulnerable and abandoned. They each ask the same question … How could this happen if God is with us? It is a good question … and the author makes the point that what happened is that instead of us walking with God, we were walking on our own expecting God to keep up. In other words, God did not abandon us, we abandoned God. Here to Brueggemann uses scripture to capture the grief and despair evident in the lamentations of Israel and the prophetic tasks demand of us to get back on track. Here is where the author more fully develops the social justice aspect demand of us by God’s law to love … and where those who still retain some shred of pride and superiority of being God’s chosen might take offensive at the extreme nature of this call to action.

The narration was decent for that type of academic genre; however, the sound quality was not consistent and at times you could hear a phone faintly ringing in the background.

The chapters and sections in this work are:
Chapter 1/0 - Forward (10m)
Chapter 2/1 - Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks (4m)
Chapter 3/2 - Reality Amid Ideology (72m)
Chapter 4/3 - Grief Amid Denial (85m)
Chapter 5/4 - Hope Amid Despair (78m)
Chapter 6/5 - Living Amid Empire As Neighborhood (57m)
Chapter 7/6 - Concluding Summary (16m)

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#RealityGriefHope #FreeAudiobookCodes

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.