The interview below, by Micky Jones, is part of the Theology of Ferguson project. Enjoy!
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MJ: Theologian Dr. Emilie Townes talks about “communal lament” as part of addressing injustice and eventual healing. What, as you see it, is the Old Testament precedent for lament and protest?
WB: Well, the laments in the books of Psalms and Lamentations are all an expression of grief but they are also an expression of hope. They are an insistence that things cannot remain this way and they must be changed. Such prayers are partly an address to God but they are also a communal resolve to hang in and take transformative action. Unless that kind of grief and rage and anger is put to speech, it can never become energy. So I believe the transformative function of such prayers is that it transforms energy and rage into positive energy.
WB: We live in a bourgeois cocoon of niceness and anything that breaks out of that is very threatening and disruptive to people. We have to work towards having honest speech with each other. When we have honest speech we have to speak out about the things that are unjust and unfair. We need a more honest and abrasive speech to bring our talk into connection with our social reality. Any intent to curb that kind of speech is a desire to not have reality pointed out to us. But if we don’t have reality pointed out to us nothing will ever change. Continue reading “Models and Authorizations: An Interview with Walter Brueggemann”