Sunday with Walter Brueggemann
We are not self-invented folks
There is a mistaken notion that we are self-starters, individuals who “possess” capacity and worth. And we can make do and can do, if we try harder. Such a view belongs to American notions of success and progress. But it really doesn’t work. We cannot make it alone. We depend on this other one. We cannot and need not have life on our own terms. Because at the deep levels of our lives, we do not have such capacities. We are mostly a conundrum of fears and unfulfilled hopes.
We are not self-invented folks. We are always creatures of another who speaks to us and calls us by name and calls us into being. In a primary way, we are individual persons because God knows our names, and as with all creation, God calls us into being. We live by God’s faithful call to us. And in a derivative way, we live by the daily call of the neighbor. We wait each day to be called by name, to be cared for, to have someone expect something of us and give something to us. And in the process we learn in many ways that our life is not a property of ours, but it is a gift given daily and we are always amazed and grateful to be called yet again to personhood.
• A Gospel of Hope (p. 87)