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Dimensions of the Prophetic Mandate

17 September 2008

A few months ago, I spent a little time here considering Brueggemann’s definition of prophecy, which is to “nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.”  

I found it interesting today, upon finishing Technopoly, that Postman actually concludes with a related thought about his own proposals, which “perhaps…will help to begin and sustain a serious conversation that will allow us to distance ourselves from [the Technopolist] thought-world, and then criticize and modify it” (p. 199).

Suddenly a surge of recollections overtook me about Elijah, Amos, Jesus, Jonah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah.  I’m sure there are many more bearings to this, but a cursory review of their lives and ministries as prophets yielded these thoughts directed to today’s would-be prophet:

1.  Incarnation.  From Jesus and Amos, we learn that you are of, but other than, your culture.

2.  Sustenance.  From Jesus (John 6), Elijah (fed by ravens), and John the Baptist (a diet of locusts and wild honey), we learn that your identity and well-being are not sustained by your culture.

3.  Perspective.  From Jesus, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, we learn that your perceptions are hostile to the culture.

4.  Mission.  From Jesus and Jonah, we learn that your mission is to redeem the culture.

5.  Pluralism.  From Jesus, Jonah, Isaiah, Peter, and Paul, we learn that the kingdom of God transcends any particular culture.

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