Today I downloaded a recent sermon that he preached at Mars Hill Church in Michigan (available on itunes). I was, yet again, taught and pushed and stretched and reduced to tears. Truth tends to provoke tears in me, and so this is no surprise that I would react this way!
Brueggeman spoke of the failed economy and God's vision for a new economy. Was he referring to Fannie May and Freddie Mac or Jerusalem? Yes. He was sharing that these economies are broken and in need of fresh imagination to reshape them. And he recites Isaiah... who seems to think that God cares about economics in the city. Yes, God cares about worship. But do we recall that He also cares about justice in the city, inclusive neighborliness on our streets and generous economics in the urban areas? If we worship a god who does not care about economics - then our god is too small, and we may find he is not the great God of the Bible. As I said, you will be pushed and stretched.
It brings me back to the Batwa. Justice, neighborliness and economics for the Batwa communities of Burundi, this matters to God. Advocating for their education, negotiating better land for their future, creating a space for their voice to be heard by those in power - these are activities that I believe God blesses, endorses and even rejoices over. Learning to be loving neighbors to the Batwa is part of following Jesus in Burundi, at least for me.
All this to say that an Old Testament scholar has deeply encouraged me and wrung more tear out of me, again. Economics matter to the Batwa, to Isaiah and... to God. Therefore, economics matter to me. Once we are stretched in such ways we really cannot go back to our former shape... Sigh.