Walter Brueggemann  



- Walter Brueggemann -

The above photograph was taken in my kitchen office on Union Mills Road on the day that I opened the package of sketches from David Goatley. There were two drawings of Walter Brueggemann in the sketches that David had sent. Both were rendered during the afternoon we spent with Walter Brueggemann at Columbia Theological Seminary in the winter of 1997. Next to the typewriter you can see one of these sketches. The other is printed at the bottom of this page.

During those memorable winter hours that we spent with Professor Brueggemann he told us, among many other things, of Martin Luther King's "kitchen experience." With his orator's ability to emphasize certain words, he said of Dr. King, "he had a kitchen experience!" And repeated this line as he told us the story of a man broken in spirit.

"King couldn't go on," he said, and his own shoulders seemed to slump as if he could feel the burden that King carried. "He had come to the breaking point. The weight of what he was attempting to do had become too great for his heart and body to support any longer. And then, on the day when he wanted to give it all up, he had his kitchen experience."

Here Brueggemann paused, waiting for us to catch some sense of his own anticipation of the story. Then he continued, his eyes shining, "King went into the kitchen. I suppose he was making himself a cup of coffee. And there he was, alone, removed from the public eye, and he heard the word of the Lord speaking to him. He heard the voice with his own ears and it said to him, 'Go on Martin! Go on!'"

"Go on Martin! Go on!"
Walter Brueggemann, from David's sketch made during our
conversation with him in the winter of 1997. Afterwards,
David and I often commented on Dr. Brueggemann's tremen
dous articulation of the Old and New Testament truths.

This story fits quite perfectly with my readings of Professor Brueggemann, the proper focus of a writer and expositor who has always amplified the "crossroads" aspect found in the Old and New Testament writings: humankind confronted by the many great questions and crucibles of existence, coming to terms with a divine challenge or mandate. In these fiery moments of decision, great truths are cast.

For further reading, I highly suggest Brueggemann's "Prophetic Imagination." It's the first of his books that I had the joy of reading, and it remains one of the most indelible.

Vancouver Island