Engage: Reconstruction #2

Reconstruction (whether of Jerusalem or anything else) moves on the premise that it is worth it. That is, reconstruction ooccurs against the backdrop of vision. Brueggemann shows us the vision of Jerusalem revealed in 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Kings 8. And so he writes, “three memories—promise to the dynasty, divine presence in the temple, and divine rescue from the empire—converge to create an ideological oasis of certitude and confidence.”

But that’s the problem: certitude and confidence conspire to create a concept of greatness that’s assumed to be everlasting. It’s a false assumption. And the book of Isaiah begins by calling it out, as Brueggemann notes, ” the book of Isaiah and the larger Jerusalem tradition expose this difficult interface between theological claim and lived reality.”

This is where reconstruction begins–standing in the gap between claim and reality. Reconstruction is truth telling–the whole truth, not just a revised and sanitized version of it. This is why the current attempts by political/religious nationalists in the USA to undermine education through a truncated narrative foisted on us, complete with felony-level punishment for those who resist the lies…is evil. Evil in the same way Isaiah saw it in Jerusalem–a faux and harmful concept of greatness.

Here is a place to end this week’s post. Our journey to the common good brings us to the place of realizing that reconstruction begins in naming/resisting evil. The prophetic task commences in calling out (exposing) the lies and the liars. It is the courageous act of declaring to the “principalities and powers” that their vision is false, no matter what they say.

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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