“A Way Other Than Our Own,” by Walter Brueggemann. Published 2017 by Westminster John Knox Press. This review refers to the paperback edition.
A large number of the Christian authors that I read cite Walter Brueggemann on a regular basis, so I decided to finally go straight to the horse’s mouth and check out some of his writing for myself. I’m really glad I did too! Over the last few years I’ve had some terrific companions for Lent including NT Wright, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Adam Hamilton. This book is up there with those as one of the best devotionals I’ve ever read.
The tact that Brueggemann often takes really strikes a chord with me right now, right where I’m at in my faith. He talks a lot about Christ versus Empire and Christ versus a consumerist culture. This tracks really well the “new monastic” movement of Shane Claiborne and others, something that also really touches my soul.
Many of the devotions in this book move along those lines, encouraging the reader to disengage from the narrative of the the world, the rat race, if you will, and embrace the narrative of Christ, the road of peace. Brueggemann doesn’t promise that taking this path will be easy. It requires submission and obedience to Christ as we truly travel “A Way other than our own.” While not easy, traveling this way with Jesus can result in fulfillment and a great sense of peace as we seek to better be the people He wants us to be.
Sometimes my concern with these kinds of books that ask us to step away from the world for a moment give me pause. I think there can be a fine line between choosing to just walk a different path IN the world and totally disengaging from the world, which I don’t believe that this is what God asks us to do. However, after reading through this devotional I can firmly say that while Brueggemann certainly advocates that we march to the beat of Christ’s drum, we continue to march in the world as a faithful witness.