Trusting the Story

Brad M. Griffin | Nov 29, 2010

Last week I re-read an article by Walter Brueggemann that helps me focus this season. In the spirit of sharing good things (and prompting my own slow memory), I’m re-posting some reflections from last year on Advent and trust.

Can the good news of Gods abundance be trusted in the face of the story of scarcity?

In this odd season where our culture simultaneously tells us to produce dispositions of gratitude while also obsessing over shopping for and posturing at holiday gatherings where we feel the oppositethis question whispers a haunting undertone.

The question comes from theologian Walter Brueggemann, in an essay entitled The Liturgy of Abundance, The Myth of Scarcity. ((Later published (2000) in Brueggemanns Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World.)) He aptly notes about our culture, We have a love affair with more—and we will never have enough. At the root of it, we dont trust the story of generous abundance laid out for us in scripture. Rather, we buy the shadow-story of scarcity, the line that theres not enough. It doesnt matter what it is—money, time, prestige, people who care about what we think, kids who show up at youth group—our tendency is to say, Not enough!

Brueggemann reminds us that the story of God speaks in opposition to this. He writes, The Bible starts out with a liturgy of abundance. Genesis 1 is a song of praise for God’s generosity [it] affirms generosity and denies scarcity. From manna in the wilderness to a small lunch feeding thousands, the story goes on to tell that the gifts of life are indeed given by a generous God. It’s a wonder, it’s a miracle, it’s an embarrassment, it’s irrational, but God’s abundance transcends the market economy.

So the question before us, that we will prove by our actual response this Advent, isdo we trust this story to be true?

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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