Cover Image: An On-Going Imagination

An On-Going Imagination

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Member Reviews

The influence of Walter Brueggemann on modern theology and Bible Study is undeniable. The impact he has made on particularly the study of the Old Testament is deep and wide, and the accessibility of his books (both in their brevity and writing style) has made the ancient texts come alive in new ways.

What is beneath the surface? How does Brueggemann view his place in the world as a result of his influence? And what nuggets of wisdom has he himself taken from those experiences?

Those are the questions this book answers. We are fortunate that co-author Clover Reuter Beal is a longtime friend and student of Brueggemann, that she is familiar with both his work and his personal life. This relationship becomes valuable to the reader as Beal is able to start from a place that is already past all the “fan” questions that famous theologians undoubtedly get, drawing out the moments from Brueggemann’s history that bring deeper meaning to his work and thought.

The result is a work that is part memoir, part social commentary, part pastoral, and part theological. The great value to the reader is in receiving distilled wisdom from a man who has extensively studied the scriptures and brought what he has learned to bear on the world around him. There are some tough pills to swallow — Brueggemann is not shy about his own struggles with difficult issues — but this is a book that is as enriching as it is brief. While the content isn’t as likely to be used for Sunday sermons in the same way Brueggemann’s other work is, this book absolutely preaches. Not like a man on a street corner with a bullhorn, but like a friend who sits down with you to help you make sense of the world.
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Amazon.com.au, Christianbook.com, goodreads, Barnes and Noble my review will be published/posted at. Run date of 24 February 2020 the review will be posted/published at. A link to your review on my Facebook blog page, is available. This is an interesting book in the form of set interviews between Walter Brueggeman and Clover Reuter Beal. They converse about lectures, theology studies and cultural contexts and issues. The book is not entirely what I would read for leisure but one I would utilise for a secondary text for a Theology assessment.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a free copy of this book for Westminster John Knox Press and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Walter Brueggeman and his approach to Scripture fascinates me. The papers and books I have read by him are poetic, imaginative and while I don't always agree - stretching. This book - which was a set of interviews with Brueggeman about his scholarly journey, his beliefs on various issues, scriptural perspectives and so on - was thought provoking and powerful. I loved getting "inside" his brain a little bit!
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The book, “An On-Going Imagination,” is a short and wonderful theological delight that feels like you are having a comfy sit-down conversation with Walter Brueggemann. You will be inspired, challenged, and wooed to a deeper relationship with God, the Bible, and the world around you. I recommended reading this gem!
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My review of An On-Going Imagination: A Conversation about Scripture, Faith, and the Thickness of Relationship by Walter Brueggemann, Clover Reuter Beal, and Timothy Beal.

What does this book offer the Church?
Imagine being able to sit down for coffee with one of your favorite theologians. During the time that you had together, you were able to ask them about their theological lineage, what they are currently thinking about, things that they have re-considered as time has gone on, and whatever else you would be able to think of in that time period. This book is similar to that concept (or, really, as close as you’ll ever be able to come!)

This book chronicles discussions held between theologians Walter Brueggemann and Clover Reuter Beal, a former student of Brueggemann’s. These conversations have a wide range of topics, covering Brueggemann’s time in college, the publication of some of his books, and the theological issues he is currently thinking through. Brueggemann is a hugely prominent figure in Old Testament studies and seminaries across the country, so this book will probably prove invaluable as time goes on and more students write about his work.

Broadly, this book serves two purposes: to either introduce Brueggemann to a new audience (or help his existing audience get to know him better) and to help readers fall back in love with the Bible. The conversation drifts to the Bible naturally, leading into several valuable insights and tidbits on the text of the Bible itself.

Review:
There are two prominent areas that I think would be the most valuable to touch on with regards to this book in the short space I have in a blog review. First, I would like to talk about the way that this book is formatted. This book is not written in the regular, theological prose you might expect from any of Brueggemann’s other works. Instead, it is formatted as an edited transcript of the conversation between the two friends. This could be distracted for longer reads, but I think it lends itself well to shorter bursts. Despite being framed as a conversation, all parties are given plenty of time to speak and articulate any ideas that they float out. Don’t think of this as a podcast, where everyone jumps to speak over one another and be heard. Instead, think about this as an intimate conversation between friends, both of whom want to hear what the other has to say.

The second is the claim that this book will re-introduce you to the Bible and help you fall in love with it. I think this claim is generally true: when reading the Bible, I felt convicted about how little I actually know about it, and I felt myself wanting to read more about it while I “listened” to the two speak with each other! That being said, I can’t say that I’ll always like what Brueggemann has to say, and I find myself disagreeing with him a bit more than I did in his previous works. (I’ve worked extensively with his books, as I graduated with a focus in Old Testament studies from seminary.) That doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn a lot! His perspective forced me to think differently about the Bible and drove me to prayer and reading to test what he said against the Scriptures.

This book is a must-read for Brueggemann fans and students. If you are taking an Old Testament class in college or seminary, you’ll probably engage with his works, which makes this book a helpful introduction to his life. You can read more about the book on John Knox Press’s website. You can also order the both on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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Brueggemann's book "Sabbath as Resistance" was one of those top ten, life changing, influential books in my life. 
It changed how I look at life, at rhythms in my life at so on. 
This book wasn't what I had expected, and thus I think my expectations were set high, if I am frank.
I was seeking another Master's level book to challenge my thinking, debate in my head.
Instead I felt as if I was reading a very long Magazine article on faith, prayer, old testament etc.  The list of topics was a bit sporadic and though it did flow well at times, the pieces weren't fully connected together.
If you are looking for a book to meet the author, to hear his thought process a bit in an unrefined way then this is a decent book.  
Yet, as a theological work that challenges my view of how I look with imagination at scripture or God then this isn't it.  Thought provoking at times, but challenging elements were not as prevalent.
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