I already wanted to write about Brueggemann (henceforth Bman heh). He is really gold. I love how he is so incisive in such an artistic manner that I can both understand and appreciate. Reading Living Toward A Vision now and I can't begin to describe it. It's the feeling where there is something out there you had an inkling of in your heart but can't put a finger to, and someone comes and expresses it beautifully with a greater passion than you have. Thanking God for Bman and for people who introduced me to his writings every time I read.
This chapter named "Ordering and Eating" particularly struck me:
"In eating we engage in the most primal event of being insiders, and without knowing it we order our eating most carefully... It is in the elemental act of eating that we make our fundamental decisions about what we mean by shalom" (p75)
"(S)egregation and discrimination (are) so pervasive in our situation... in our primal activity, like eating, we eat and drink the order we call shalom, carefully circumscribed by our values, fears and wants. And when we do that, some are in and some are out" (p77)
And then Bman calls us to 'listen to this' familiar text in the Bible:
"Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
Luke 14:12-14 (NIV)
He asserts: "Everybody lives in a safe measured world where we get and give all on the same scale... We are reduced to calculation, and no humanness rises there. It is a no-surprise environment devoid of graciousness."'
(Is that also why it is is more blessed to give then to receive?)
And thus the call to action is for us to live as a critique to the 'culture that is heavily committed to quid pro quo rewards' (p82), to order reality toward shalom.
So as I was reading the Luke passage in light of all these, an idea struck me:
What if we actually do what Jesus says? I am thinking mainly of the homeless in Singapore. An invitation to come, to enjoy the community around the table of food which nourishes.
How do we order reality toward shalom in this context?
I would have to research more on the self-stigma and reasons for homelessness (I remember attending a thesis presentation on this)- but this act of eating together is powerful.
I want to evoke humanity in that table. Humanity so beautiful and also broken.