Walter Brueggemann: Silence and the Prophetic Imagination (Part One)

The Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann is the William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading Christian interpreters of the Old Testament and is the author of numerous books, including The Prophetic ImaginationSabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, From Judgment to Hope: A Study on the Prophets, and his most recent book, Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out.

He recently joined us via Skype to talk about his understanding of both the challenge and the possibilities associated with silence,  especially the importance of interrupting coercive or repressive silence and the status quo in this world of chaos and oppression.

In his latest book, he writes:

“Silence is a complex matter. It can refer to awe before unutterable holiness, but it can also refer to coercion where some voices are silence in the interest of control by the dominant voices.” ― Walter Brueggemann, Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out.

Some other quotations to ponder:

“Multitasking is the drive to be more than we are, to control more than we do, to extend our power and our effectiveness. Such practice yields a divided self, with full attention given to nothing.” ―Walter Brueggemann, Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now

“No establishment figure wants to tolerate affrontive poetry that exposes the failure of the totalizing system and claims it contradicts God’s will.” ― Walter Brueggemann, Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out.
“We have seen in our own day in so many liberation struggles that the first cry for mercy does not succeed. The silencers are powerful and determined. Among us the silencers are the powerful, who have a stake in the status quo and do not mind some poverty-stricken disability, and those who collude with the powerful, often unwittingly. The work of silencing, like that of this crowd, is variously by slogan, by intimidation, by deception, or by restrictive legislation. Emancipation does not succeed most often in a one-shot effort. More is required.” ― Walter Brueggemann, Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out.
This is part one of a two part episode; to listen to part two, click here.

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

Episode 79: Silence and the Prophetic Imagination: A Conversation with Walter Brueggemann (Part One)
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Walter Brueggemann
Date Recorded: October 14, 2019

Take a second to support the Encountering Silence Podcast on Patreon!
Carl McColman
Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.