Taking Notes While Listening to Walter Brueggemann

Last spring at the Pepperdine Lectures I sat, listened and took notes across two sessions taught by Walter Brueggemann.

Walter is, perhaps, the most quotable teacher/speaker I've ever listened to. I kid you not, it seems like every sentence he speaks is a theological bombshell. I strive for one good memorable line per talk. Walter just drops them all over the place.

I bring this up as I was furiously taking notes during these sessions, trying to keep up and get them down verbatim. I was looking back over those notes the other day and felt I should share a few with you. Here were some of the things Walter said:
"Rest is an act of defiance."

"The business of the church is poetry."

"People on the inside write memos. People on the outside write poetry."

Prophecy is "a narrative that summons alternative ways of life."

"The church meets to imagine what our lives can be like if the gospel were true."

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6 thoughts on “Taking Notes While Listening to Walter Brueggemann”

  1. "The business of the church is poetry."

    I love it! I truly love it!!!

    Three suggestions for the church.

    Abraham J. Heshel's book of poems, THE INEFFABLE NAME OF GOD; A THOMAS MERTON READER; but of course, all of Merton's and Hecshel's writings are poetry of the highest level, and, THE ODES OF SOLOMON. Oh, how I wish I could have heard in my youth sermons and teaching seasoned with such of the following:

    ODE 16.

    The beauty of God's creation.

    1 As the work of the husbandman is the ploughshare: and the work of the
    steersman is the guidance of the ship:
    2 So also my work is the Psalm of the
    Lord: my craft and my occupation are in His praises:
    3 Because His love bath
    nourished my heart, and even to my lips His fruits He poured out.
    4 For my
    love is the Lord, and therefore I will sing unto Him:
    5 For I am made strong
    in His praise, and I have faith in Him.
    6 I will open my mouth and His spirit
    will utter in me the glory of the Lord and His beauty; the work of His hands and
    the operation of His fingers:

    And of course, THE PSALMS, especially in the King James Version. From my view, there are conservatives, and progressives as well, who need to pull their KJV down from the shelf, blow off the dust, and become the artists that Christians are meant to be.

  2. "The church meets to imagine what our lives can be like if the gospel were true."

    This might go a long way to explaining why church membership, generally speaking, has been in such steep decline. Reflecting on my experiences with church, I have most often been left with the hope that the gospel they peddle is not true....

  3. The first one about rest being an act of defiance made me laugh. I don't know if it is true or not but it made me picture rest being an act of non-violent protest against God's degree that man would have to labor and toil to survive.

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