Unmasking the Inevitable (Brueggemann, 2001)

From biblical times, those in authority have claimed that their hold on power is legitimate and rational. The claim is hard to counter, especially in “good times.” But the Bible directs that we look behind the slogans and the shibboleths to see whether the way things are is the way they ought to be. A single conviction fuses all forms of protest: It could be otherwise. From slavery in ancient Egypt to genocide in Nazi Germany, from segregation in the United States to exploitation in Asian sweatshops, people have stood up and said: It could be otherwise. The message still echoes in the streets of Seattle, Paris, Washington, and Quebec–proclaimed by voices, feet, signs, bodies. Those with a vested interest in “how it is” do not want to hear this message. They point to the social givens of age-old institutions (“the way we’ve always done it”), of current ideologies (“the demands of the market economy”), of future developments (“in an age of globalization”), and insist that all is inevitable. Those who benefit from the status quo are content to agree. Those who do not benefit are too busy surviving in spite of the social givens to have time for dreaming of a different way. But faith has never been about sluggish contentment or bare-bones survival.

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