I received an interesting set of notes recently: the Eco-Justice Notes. It features a reflection that links Walter Brueggemann’s reading of “The Prophets” to environmental and ecological issues. It’s worth a read. It’s written by Paul & Jane Barru. Here’s an excerpt:
“…Walter Brueggemann gives us that gift in his brand-new book, "The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipating Word." Brueggemann breaks open a reading of prophetic oracles where unavoidable consequences are more important than direct punishment.
In this fresh reading, the bad news of the prophets is not that God will come in a dramatic and unexpected way to smite us, but rather that God will not intervene to protect us from the inherent consequences of our pervasive sin.
Such a prophetic word about consequences is painfully relevant in this time of ecological devastation. We know full well what we are doing wrong -- warping the climate, polluting the biosphere, destroying habitat and pushing species into extinction, exhausting scarce resources, exploiting livestock and workers, seeking our own comfort and privilege at any cost to our neighbors or descendents.
The biblical style of prophecy tells us the distressing news that, when we so blatantly violate God's intention for creation, the expected consequences will follow.
Brueggemann writes about the prophetic "therefore" which connects cause and effect, "a connectedness that dominant imagination believes, with its power and wisdom and wealth, it can overcome." He draws examples -- from Hosea, Amos, Micah and Isaiah -- where, in legal terms:
‘The 'therefore' stands between an indictment and a sentence. The indictment is a recital of the commandments that have been violated ... The sentence concerns the dismantling of creation. ... The daring 'therefore' makes a connection that depends on a robust creation theology. The argument is that a violation of the commandments of Sinai results in the collapse of creation.’
The "therefore" expresses a creation theology because it recognizes the interconnectedness of all of creation, of humans and the rest of creation together. It proclaims that all of creation is ordered and structured to work well within the shape of God's shalom, and that it will not function when shalom is violated…”
You can read the complete reflection here.