Walter Brueggemann is widely considered to be one of the most influential theologians of our time. So who better to help us get a handle on the idea of the Sabbath. Especially as he wrote the fascinating and insightful Sabbath as Resistance. That’s right, Sabbath is so much more than simply taking a day off, it’s an intentional and creative act of resistance.

Interview starts at 10m 8s

Image provided by Westminster John Knox Press Used with permission.


Sabbath as Resistance

Prophetic Imagination


“We have forgotten who we are, and we think that our life is mainly defined by production and consumption. And if that is the goal and definition of life, then one must stay at it all the time. And in that frame of reference, Sabbath becomes an inconvenience and an unwelcome interruption. So Sabbath makes no sense if we’ve put our lives down in a narrative of production and consumption. Sabbath belongs to a narrative that contradicts the scheme of production and consumption.”

“[Sabbath] is a pause that permits us to reflect on who we are, who we are created to be, who we are called to be, and it makes us aware of the extent to which we have forgotten or compromised our creaturely reality. So it is an opportunity to circle back on our baptismal identity, on our faith identity, on our authentic human identity, that is always placed under stress by the commoditisation of our culture.”


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  1. I like Brueggemann, and really liked the Sabbath as Resistance episode, but this was a hard episode to listen to. I agree with the biblical principles that Brueggemann is espousing, I care about the poor and oppressed, I care about justice, I care about being good stewards of the earth. I think dealing with these issues is one of the most important challenges the church (especially as a sign of the Kingdom) faces. But how he jumped from biblical principle to political/economic policy, as if they were the same thing was aggravating.

    To try to be succinct – I consider myself a libertarian socialist. What does that mean – I think free cooperation, markets, emergent order, freedom of choice is the best way to promote justice and help the poor. I think the main purpose of government is to protect human rights, and prevent the violation of property rights (theft, fraud); yet I think people are better able to make choices for themselves, rather than a bureaucratic state. I think we need to be as wary of power concentrated in the state as we are of power concentrated in private business. Both often seek to use coercion for selfish/greedy ends.

    Anyhow, my main point is this, there are people who really care about justice, etc. who don’t believe government control is the answer to everything. For another perspective, I would recommend trying to get an interview with Russ Roberts – an economist, who is a devout Jew, who hosts a great podcast called Econtalk; or Mike Munger from Duke University – an economist/philosopher, who is a regular guest on Econtalk who has some amazing insight on exploitation, racism, social justice (who also calls himself a libertarian socialist).

    This is one of my main passions because it’s a journey I’ve been on for a long time. We need to live into a truly different economic system, but we need better economics education.

    • oops I put this comment in the wrong place, mean for it to go on the kingdom vs cash episode. tried to delete this and post it over there, but not able to

      • Thanks for this, Nathan, very interesting. I’ll follow up these leads when I get a chance. Tim

  2. Christine Alexander Jul 14, 2019

    What about Exodus 35:2 where Moses relays God’s direct words from their meeting and He says if you work on the Sabbath you must be put to death? Something has to have changed. Maybe the definition of “work” for God is different than us? Jesus was challenged by the leaders for healing and picking the tips of grain off while walking through a field. I am seeking to find how Jesus “fulfills” this particular commandment with the new covenant.

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