Book Read: An Ongoing Imagination

An On-Going Imagination: A Conversation about Scripture, Faith, and the Thickness of RelationshipAn On-Going Imagination: A Conversation about Scripture, Faith, and the Thickness of Relationship by Walter Brueggemann

My first real exposure to the work of Walter Brueggemann came in 2017, through reading one of his earliest and best known books, The Prophetic Imagination. I had also listened to his conversation with Krista Tippett, host of On Being, which I heard in December 2018. The title of the On Being episode was also “The Prophetic Imagination.”

An On-Going Imagination is a memoir or autobiography composed by interview. It consists of edited versions of conversations that Brueggemann had with his coauthor, Clover Reuter Beal, over several years beginning in 2011. Clover Reuter Beal is the Colead Pastor of Mountview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Denver. She and her spouse, Timothy Beal, who edited the book, are former students of Brueggemann’s.

The book retains its conversational origins in its tone. It includes conversations about some complex theological subjects, and if time were to permit I would want to read further on those subjects in Brueggemann’s books and essays. That is the genius of the work. Walter Brueggemann is a brilliant man with a lot of intriguing things to say about scripture, theology, the state of the ancient world, and the state of the modern world. Further reading of his work on any of those subjects would be time well spent. It’s interesting, though, that the list of works cited and suggestions for further reading includes only sixteen titles. Then again, Walter Brueggemann has published over one hundred books.

In the chapter entitled “Divine Irascibility: An Astonishing and Scandalous God,” Brueggemann admits that some of what he sees as he examines the scriptures “confront[s] orthodox Christian theology in disturbing and fascinating ways.” I find some of his positions challenging. In challenging orthodoxies, though, Brueggemann’s goal is not to tear them down but to stretch them in ways that adherants ultimately will find beneficial.

John Knox Press sent me this book by way of a giveaway hosted by Englewood Review of Books. They asked for feedback, so this is an attempt at providing that for them.

Thanks for stopping by. Be well!


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