I’m supposed to like Conservative Theologians because they believe the Bible, etc. etc. etc. And some of them I like very much. I’m not supposed to like “Liberal” ones because they don’t believe the text has any historical authenticity or authority. I like if the writing has to do with the text, believes in actual good news (that has power to change), and has something to say.
Next Thursday I will again begin (yeah, I said that) the Riverside Men’s Bible Study and we will go through the book of Psalms. I have always loved this book because of is authenticity as the writer’s struggle through the With-God life seasonally, with or without good rulers, and in the midst of things like an exile I will never be able to relate to. In 1999 a professor required The Message of the Psalms by Walter Brueggemann as a reference. I am in ministry partly because of his explanation of Psalm 137.
Here is Psalm 97 for your reading pleasure (the Psalms are both more eloquent and wise than I am, so I will just post one here 🙂 )
The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods! Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O LORD. For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name.
Brueggemann says this (2 pages on Psalm 97).
“The power of the new king is not noteworthy unless social transformation is the purpose of the power. That kingship serves earth is a seed of incarnational faith.”
And this, “It is bad news for all those who organize life around idols – exploitative symbols – which can reduce people to things (commodities), even as the true God is traded off for a controllable object. wow… (“wow” mine).
“The trade-off of gods is matched by the reduction of people.” wow (“wow” mine).
“As the true God is diminished, so the value of human persons is diminished in commensurate fashion. The smashing of idols is not a narrow religious agenda, but has to do with creating free space for the practice of humanness.”
“New orientation is a life of disciplined response to God’s will for justice.”
“In the normal course of public life, the unresponsive wicked control things. But the kingship of Yahweh causes an inversion. The wicked are exposed for what they are. They are denied their preeminence. Conversely, the righteous, the ones who keep covenant and do Yahweh’s will, are given life and power.”
Good Stuff. I am excited for next Thursday.