Sometimes we have to make some difficult cuts for a one-hour show, but, with Walter Brueggemann, a kind of rock star in the theological world, it becomes even more challenging. The audio above includes one of these behind-the-scenes moments.

When Krista asked him to read a biblical verse that means something special to him, he responded by reading an excerpt of Psalm 146. Why he chose it and his explanation is even more intriguing.

Listen in and let us know how you react to his understanding of these verses.

Share Your Reflection



Brueggemann is a prophet.  I would hope you would have him on at least once a year!


I miss sitting in his classroom and hearing the Word break open for me.

Any particular moment that you remember from those teaching moments?

Walter Brueggermann and I may have an extremely remote connection. I believe my uncle Dr. Alvin Porteous, author of "Prophetic Voices in Contemporary Theology", was a professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, about 35 years ago.

I listened to Krista's entire interview, a first for me. Had the emphasis been on religion and not poetry I would have turned it off. My assessment of Brueggermann is that he is a thoughtful and wise man despite his theological foundation. I suggest the reason the prophets sound relevant in every age is that the ways we've tried to give meaning to our lives over the millennia were always "falling apart".

The topic in the conversation which stood above the rest was images of God. I think he would not argue too strenuously against my: "God"

I too had the privilege of his teachings and musings at Columbia Seminary and have sought his wise counsel for the last 16 years of parish ministry through his written works. Thanks be to God!

this is a typical sociological reduction of the text by WB, as if the problem with the world, its fallen characteristic/aspect, is a matter of human politics/psychology. Probably why he is more popular these days in pastoral counseling classes than theology classes. 

The Prophets brought the "text" of their day, the Word as they knew it, into the lives of those they lived among.  Not content with keeping the message in the temple, or the inner temple or spiritual life of each individual, they brought the message to the street and lifted it up and made it real so that it spoke in their present cultural, sociological, psychological, political lives where its significance and meaning surpassed simply being a talisman and could become a lantern to reveal life as it was and life as it had potential to be.  Such is Brueggeman today.

seems more likely that the prophets were trying to reveal the will of G-d as it was not "life" potential...

I'm curious about the "not" in your reply ... is that saying that the "will of G-d" is "not life potential"?  Or, did I miss the meaning of the "not"?  Thanks.

right in that historical/theological context the will of G-d is not the same as some post 60's humanist version of getting the most out of life. of personal fulfillment. The point was not that religion/G-d is good for us (like vitamins) or serves our needs/wants but that we serve G-d's wants. So not to serve human life but to obey G-d no matter the personal consequences, lots of painful sacrifice involved for those folks and as a holy act.

Dear Krista,  Wonderful interview.  We heard Pastor Walter Bruggemann at Marshill church, Grand Rapids, MI within the last 2 years.  He was interviewed by Rob Bell.  Rob Bell would be another interesting person to interview at "On Being".  I love your broadcast and selfishly listen, take notes and deter interruptions.  My husband and I say you @ 2011 Calvin Series, purchased one of your books and I have been hooked on most of your interviews.  You have opened by thinking to depth of human mind and potential each of us have.  Your interviews with interfaith "sages" on happiness, joy in suffering and meditation just skims the surface of creation, God, humanity, etc.  I too came from a conservative protestant church where doctrinal truth was absolute importance of the select enlightened few. The journey from the known to the unknown has been fantastic, coming from darkness into light of understand.  People like you have opened my thinking beyond what I could ever imagine.  Thank you.  mary.dewys@trentgilliss:disqus   

I listened twice.  He has a jovial approach to the " ruin of the wicked".  Interesting !!!

As he was reciting the Psalms in their English translations, I was saying the Hebrew originals along with him. Some of my favorites!