Engage: Subversion #4

We must paint this week’s reflection with a broad brush because Brueggemann goes into detail in this chapter. But it is possible to see the big picture.

It begins in sections I-III, with the differentiated elitist and neighborly narratives. We have looked at this. Exodus/Deuteronomy subverts Egypt. But “egypt” not only never goes away, it reasserts dominance.

The dominance gets institutiinalized when Israel demands a king, and the kings look more and more like pharoahs. This appearance, which Brueggemann unpacks in sections IV-VI, reaches its climax in Solomon. His rule and his temple reinstate the old order (or raise the reinstatement of it) to its highest level.

But….the enthronement of entitlement is not universal, it is not total. Israel’s Exodus/Deuteronomy memory is resurrected through the prophets. Brueggemann introduces us to Jeremiah in sections VII-VIII and uses his message to define subversion (though the other proohets amplify the narrative). The God-ordained triad of steadfast love, justice, and righteousness hang thick in the air, kept there through prophetic imagination, courage, and endurance–things which Brueggemann writes about extensively in his other books.

We come to section IX of this powerful chapter, where Brueggemann moves from biblical history to our time and place. We will explore this section next week, as we move to our second Zoom meeting on the 31st.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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