To Tear Down and to Build Up: insights from Jeremiah for the Irish Church
According to Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, prophets have a two-fold task: they critique the dominant cultural imagination and they energise God’s people with an alternative vision that embodies God’s dream for humanity. Prophets also summon people to grieve, because it is grief that breaks through the numbness or complacency that keeps a community from moving toward this alternative vision. The prophets of the exile in particular sought to enable the people of God to relinquish the old so that they could receive the new – that which is initially both unknown and unwanted – from the hand of God. In Brueggemann’s writings, the ancient biblical prophets are brought into conversation with the dominant North American narrative, with its military-industrial complex, rampant consumerism, individualism, and patriotic Christianity.