Walter Brueggemann is one of my favorite biblical scholars. And I have a deep appreciation for scholars who preach. This book is an excellent collection, and is a fine representation of what exegetical preaching from the theological left can be--Brueggemann finely draws out the nuances within the text, and creatively seeks to tell the story of God in such a way that it invites the hearers to take part, to be caught up in the reality of God.
I am not a theological liberal, though I do resonate with some of the themes Brueggemann draws out of the Old and New Testaments, such as justice, mercy, compassion and neighbor love, to name a select few. I also appreciate Brueggemann's emphasis on poetry, both that contained within the Bible, and the poetic task that is the proclamation of the text itself. It is a dance. In the prophets, we have poets that reshape our imagination, and in the sermon, we have preachers who draw upon the resources that we have been given to accomplish a similar task, a renewed imagination that helps us to live as God would have us to live in a world that is in fact there, but we have not, as of yet, learned to see. Each sermon within this collection prosaically and poetically aims to reshape the vision of the hearers, and thus the ethics of those who believe. For that, I can stand in awe at each effort Brueggemann puts forth, and learn.
But as an evangelical who is from the more conservative edge of the movement, there are elements in Brueggemann's preaching that I find lacking, such as his articulation of the gospel, or, to borrow a term from Scot McKnight, his "gospeling." Brueggemann's theology does have room for the cross, it does have room for forgiveness, and it does have room for salvation, but not in the same terms to which I am accustomed. I do not fault him for this; this is representative of his tradition within liberal Mainline Protestantism. There are many emphases that we share, but the road taken to arrive at those conclusions differs. Both the ends and the means matter tremendously, leaving room for a robust dialogue between people like Brueggemann and those dwelling within other segments of Christianity.
Though I disagree with Brueggemann on certain theological points, and I would emphasize some aspects of Christian theology that he would never touch, this does not keep me from appreciating this brilliant collection of sermons. This is a model book for those on the theological left, and an illuminating book for those on the theological right. Read it, learn from it, and, where it is true and biblical and sound, live it.