by Peter Lockhart
In my reading for a current project I was given a little book by Walter Bruggemann "Journey to the Common Good". At only 122 pages it packs enough of a punch to get you really thinking about how we live and where we are heading as God's people.
From the outset Burggemann is up front with how he defines the common good. It is "the common good that God wills for the world." Given how incoherent some discussions about the common good are Bruggemann rightly asserts that for Christians the common good can be no less than what God wills for the world.
In exploring this issues I can imagine many people, within and beyond the walls of the church, would rankle at Bruggemann's interpretation and critique of our contemporary Western culture through his analysis of Exodus, Jeremiah and Isaiah.
There is a clear theme running through the book which questions the pursuit of power and objects over against the pursuit of God's love and mercy for all people - redefining our concepts of justice, economics, relationships, worship.
The book was quite readable and so I could see how the book could be used well with small groups or Bible studies to really challenge the vision of the Christian life in which we are engaged.
I must admit I skimmed the book quickly but am left with a sense that what Bruggemann says is being said by so many within and beyond the church about the consumerist culture in which we live.
What I think will stay with me is the strength of the alternative vision of life Bruggemann presents, one which flies in face of so much of how we live and behave in Western society. How do I live differently when I and the people I love are so deeply immersed in this culture?