Walter Brueggemann is not capable of writing a boring sentence. His words are well crafted, sharp and provocative, even if different readers will take issues with him on different points. Here is a scholar whose mind has been baptised with decades of deep study and reflection of the biblical materials; it is hard to pull apart the exegetical basis of his proposals, which are often subversive to contemporary habits of thoughts.
This collection of talks he gave on different occasions to the contemporary audience, brings the ancient texts of Scriptures to bear on the modern church, primarily in the American socio-political context but in many ways relevant to other modern societies as well. He basically circles around the theme of God's alternative society vs Pharaoh's/Philistine's/Caesar's empire. Hence it is God's life-giving command of the Sabbath against the quota-system of the urban world, God's invitation to rest in his abundant grace vs the harried and hurried quest for acquisition, consumptions and accomplishments that bolster the idolatrous self. Here, he unmasks the illusions of human greed and proposes instead a life centered around God and neighbour and that liberates the self for shalom - for art, beauty and play.
Being very much a part of the Pharaohic world myself, I have to take the leisurely pace to digest this book and hear the message it is intended to convey. Thankfully, Brueggemann is as much a poet as he is a careful scholar;his words have a way of stretching your imagination, evoking an alternative world and holding out hope for a world starving for a fresh script with which to order its existence. Most of us know that business as usual simply will not do. I thank God for Brueggemann who helps us to listen to the ancient texts again that are capable of speaking afresh to every generation in such a powerful and liberating way.