Knowing that a new Prophetic Climate Action Working Group had been formed at the annual sessions of New England Yearly Meeting in 2016, Jan Hoffman offered to assemble a list of quotations and resources for understanding what prophecy means, drawing especially on the ideas of Walter Brueggemann. These were used in the first gathering of PCAWG at Mt Toby Meetinghouse in September 2016.
2 quotations from Thomas Merton on prophecy:
. . . It is better to prophesy than to deride. To prophesy is not to predict, but to seize upon reality in its moment of highest expectation and tension toward the new. This tension is discovered not in hypnotic elation but in the light of everyday experience.
– Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable, p. 159
. . . [Prophets] in the traditional sense [are] not merely [people] who foretell the future under spiritual inspiration. That is in fact quite accidental. [They are] above all [‘witnesses’]. . . . [Prophets] shoulder the ‘burden’ of vision that God lays upon [them]. . . . Prophets are those who live in direct submission to the Holy Spirit in order that, by [their] lives, actions, and words, [they] may at all times be a sign of God in [this human] world.
– Thomas Merton, Disputed Questions
In his classic book, A Testament of Devotion, Thomas Kelly quotes Meister Eckhart: “There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half. They will give up possessions, friends and honors, but it touches them too closely to disown themselves.” Kelly goes on to say, “It is just this astonishing life which is willing to follow Him the other half, sincerely to disown itself, this life which intends complete obedience, without any reservations, that I would propose to you in all humility, in all boldness, in all seriousness. I mean this literally, utterly, completely, and I mean it for you and for me–commit your lives in unreserved obedience to Him.”
Quotations from The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann
Summary of each chapter in The Prophetic Imagination [ available free online as a .pdf file]
Walter Brueggemann on Prophetic Imagination interview by Krista Tippett on the NPR show “On Being” (listen to this episode or download transcript) or listen via YouTube
Big Trouble Comin’: An Interview with Walter Brueggemann 2017 interview on Red Letter Christians by Don Golden
Walter Brueggemann, The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipating Word, Fortress Press, 2012. “Truly prophetic preaching today stands in opposition to the dominant narrative of our time which promotes national self-sufficiency (through militarism) and personal self-sufficiency (through consumerism). Prophetic preaching takes its stand in a world claimed by a God who is gracious, uncompromising—and real.”