Stanley Hauerwas says Walter Breuggemann “has the ‘unrelenting realism’ that possessed the imagination of the ancient prophets…”
In Breuggemann’s book ‘Reality-Grief-Hope‘ he proves Hauerwas’s words true. The book explores the crisis that has gripped American culture since the 9-11 attacks. Although reality, grief and hope are the biblical categories that take communities through disaster (facing reality), to grief (a mourning for lost ideology), to hope – (the nemesis and destroyer of despair), we see how Breuggemann uses the Old Testament Exile of the Covenant people of God to the strange and shattering world of Babylon in c. 587 BC (2 Kings 25; Jeremiah 34 & Deuteronomy 28-29). This is the lens he uses to write about the current context of the American collective psyche, as they experience the same trauma (personally, I don’t think it is the same type of trauma, since America as a whole wasn’t exiled, and more potently, they are not the covenant people of God, but the categories and the lens work exceptionally well nevertheless). There is no magic bullet, or Hollywood film or John Wayne hero to rescue the obese unreality that tenderises the collective mind of the Western man or woman.