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Journey to the Common Good

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  231 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Respected author and theologian Walter Brueggemann turns his discerning eye to the most critical yet basic needs of a world adapting to a new era, an era defined in large part by America's efforts to rebuild from an age of terror even as it navigates its way through an economic collapse. Yet in spite of these great challenges, Brueggemann calls us to journey together to th ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published January 25th 2010 by Westminster John Knox Press (first published 2010)
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Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
While many (though not nearly enough) people know that the reality of justice for those who are poor and oppressed is at the heart of the biblical narratives, very few are able to present it so lucidly and so passionately, with specific correlations to today's social situation than Walter Brueggemann. A Scripture scholar who can also preach and teach dynamically, Brueggemann's insights into the Exodus story and the Gospel narratives about God offering graced abundance in the midst of gripping op ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
We had a pulpit guest this past year who leaned rather heavily on the work of Walter Brueggemann in his sermon. By total coincidence I was involved in the service, including leading the meditation/prayer element, and I had adapted one of Brueggemann's pieces from his Prayers for a Privileged People for the prayer. During the polylogue after the service, the pulpit guest recommended this book to the congregation. I believe several people bought it, I don't know how many actually read it. It's far ...more
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brueggemann, my Theologian du Jour, uses Old Testament scriptures as a scathing indictment on our current bourgeois systems of individualism and acquisitiveness. The United States is as Pharoah's Egypt and Solomon's Jerusalem - an ideologically driven system of scarcity, security, and wealth acquisition. The Prophets offer an alternative to this lie - one of God's abundance, and our call to neighborliness and community. Thus Brueggemann reads Old Testament scripture as fresh, contemporary, and n ...more
Carol Kuniholm
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Brueggemann describes the "kingdom of Babylon" as a place of misplaced anxiety, fear of scarcity, exploitation, oppression of the weak. God invites us into a very different kingdom, of welcome, abundance, extravagant generosity. Brueggemann insists that God’s people are called to live as “a minority voice of subversion and alternative,” standing firm for the values of his kingdom, and demonstrating these qualities:
hesed (“steadfast covenantal solidarity”)
mispat (“justice that gives access and v
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Every person of faith in the United States should read this book. Heck, everyone in the world should read it. What a wonderful world we would live in if we truly sought the common good. This is a particularly powerful book at this time of crisis in the US with important elections looming.
Emily Dixon
May 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-theology
Too much social justice based on a "Social" gospel. Not enough Real Truth. I have been disappointed with Brueggemann.
Michael O'Leary
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Walter Brueggeman's Journey to the Common Good addresses in this brief book how we might address the common good by utilizing Old Testament scripture to impinge upon the faith and life and practice of the church as we journey together toward the common good that God wills for the world. A thought-provoking read with great nuggets of wisdom and insight into scripture and the human spirit.

From The Publisher:
Respected author and theologian Walter Brueggemann turns his discerning eye to the most cri
John Laliberte
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This is a must read book for our times (2017-current, 2018).

Dr. Brueggemann provides us with a clear understanding of the wonderfully complex book of Isaiah and it's potential for us today as faith-led people of the world (and especially the USA) strive to deal with the complex political, social, and economic issues of our time - not the least include who are we as a people?

How are we to act towards the poor, the alienated, the disenfranchise and those that are different (the "other")? These q
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I loved this read by Brueggemann - the scriptural basis for the common good in the OT was helpful and the lens through which he reads the Exodus story was beautiful. I am extremely thankful for this book, and I feel like I might be coming back to it again and again. Highly recommended.
Eric Nelson
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
An interesting idea posited by a great Old Testament mind. Originally presented as a three-part lecture, this book feels like an idea unvetted by editors, at points, the author identifies it as "imaginative extrapolation." [return][return]Brueggemann sees two competing narrative in Jewish scripture, that of empire (Pharaoh and Babylon) and that of the common good (Deuteronomy and the prophets). Brueggemann sees Pharaoh's paradigms of wealth, might, and wisdom (think national intelligence) as pas ...more
Adam Ross
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my absolute favorites by Walter Brueggemann, and one of the best books I've read all year. I started it yesterday and basically couldn't put it down. Beginning with the exodus, Brueggemann moves through the liberation from slavery and what he calls the "empire of anxiety," meditating on the broad sweep of the oracles of Jeremiah and Isaiah to round them out. Brueggemann uses his characteristically deft exegetical insights to tease out the meaning of the "empire of anxiety," the grind of l ...more
Tim Hoiland
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith, justice
Seeking the common good is something that most Christians, at least in theory, consider integral to the faith. But what does it actually look like? Where do we find inspiration or instruction for the journey? And where will the journey take us?These are the questions Walter Brueggemann explores in Journey to the Common Good (Westminster John Knox). As a world-renowned Old Testament scholar, he sets out to locate the answers in three places: Exodus, which sheds light on the journey from anxiety t ...more
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
If you ever wanted an old-testament basis for collective social action - this is it. Bruggemann is a genius, as usual, all at once condensing a massive amount of Biblical exegesis and historical content into a cogent and clear directive for Christians today. He counter-culturally challenges the lazy but well-intneioned assumption of many Christians that old testament texts are simply meant to be read through a "Christian lens" to gain their true relevance, and argues beautifully that this is ind ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Super quick, super concise, super accessible read. Snippets of OT biblical studies promoting a Christian ethic of common good. Brueggemann focuses on how the prophets, especially Isaiah, provide illustrations and comment on social situations not so different from what we face today. Brueggemann emphasizes the need to acknowledge grief and loss while eventually moving towards a hope to be very tangibly realized. Highly recommend to anyone straddling lines between deep grief over the world's pain ...more
Nov 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This publication of lecture material is stunningly good. Brueggemann's explication, interpretation, and application of the Exodus, Jeremiah's message, and the structure of Isaiah is erudite, incisive, and courageous. I found myself thumbing through my dictionary to uncover the precision of his vocabulary. His insights into the historical context and the modern parallels are impressive. His concept of the poetic imagination we need to break our society loose from the bonds of "the empire of scarc ...more
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bible
Brueggmann delivers again, this time a clear rendering of the narrative from anxiety through abundance to neighborhood, following Exodus, Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, and Isaiah. Living faithfully, he argues for us to learn - and keep learning - to lay down our fearfulness and live into neighborliness as YHWH's way. Relevant and timely as we face continued exploitation and fear-mongering. Copies should be in pockets of the Occupy movement clergy and also in those working on the issues of migration and ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: other-nonfiction
I have enjoyed most everything I have read by Brueggemann, and much of my thinking and values are informed by his work. That's why this book disappointed me. It still holds a strong message of hope and imagination employed for justice, but some of the rhetorical choices and logical slips presented a seemingly rushed, popularized version of scholarly exegesis. Still, the book is informative and challenging, worth reading even if not one of his best.
Lee Bertsch
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am part of a tradition that hears the scripture primarily in a personal, individualistic way, with the first question being asked - what does the text say to me about my relationship to God? Brueggemann sees the Old Testament texts addressing the social order, even with competing views, but inviting us to envision society, nation, city, neighborhood in a different way. He expanded my appreciation for the scope of scripture and has me hearing some Old Testament texts in new ways.
Michael Carlson
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this "little" book with a group in church. I say "little" because when we first saw that it's only three chapters long we thought we'd be done with it in three meetings.
Wrong! It's short but deep and well worth reading. Since I was studying the book of Revelation at the same time it amazed me how many of the same messages and calls to action that are found in Revelation are also brought out by Brueggemann in the Hebrew prophets.
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very good. Not always smooth reading, but many good points and prophetic insights make it well worth your time. I had the good fortune to hear Brueggeman speak on this theme last week; the book and his talks added weight and insight to each other.
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nf
I don't agree with everything, but found his perspective on God's law v. Pharaonic law and life in the wilderness after life in Egypt to be quite enlightening. Also, enjoyed thinking about Isaiah as Loss/Grief/Hope/Moving forward.
Jan 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Brueggemann is a pretty sharp biblical scholar. I am mostly reading for personal edification, and not part of a directed study. If I was, I am sure I would get more from the author's thesis. As it is, much is outside my knowledge base or I would appreciate more, I feel sure.
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A nice clear exposition of some hebrew texts by leading scholar. Very accessible and give me a couple of new insights on the power of subversion within a text.
Suzanne Stier
The first and last chapters were the most interesting to me. I thought that the way he presented the idea of Pharoh in our times was facinating and a new way to look at Power, Wealth and Wisdom.
Mar 09, 2012 is currently reading it
Anxiety - Abundance - Neighborhood
Jon Owen
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Get it. Read it. That is all.
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Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is the world's leading interpreter of the Old Testament and is the author of numerous books, including Westminster John Knox Press best sellers such as Genesis and First and Second Samuel in the Interpretation series, An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christ ...more

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“Those who sign on and depart the system of anxious scarcity become the historymakers in the neighborhood.” 6 likes
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