Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times
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When Soong-Chan Rah planted an urban church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, his first full sermon series was a six-week exposition of the book of Lamentations. Preaching on an obscure, depressing Old Testament book was probably not the most seeker-sensitive way to launch a church. But it shaped their community with a radically countercultural perspective.
The American church avoids lament. But lament is a missing, essential component of Christian faith. Lament recognizes struggles and suffering, that the world is not as it ought to be. Lament challenges the status quo and cries out for justice against existing injustices.
Soong-Chan Rah's prophetic exposition of the book of Lamentations provides a biblical and theological lens for examining the church's relationship with a suffering world. It critiques our success-centered triumphalism and calls us to repent of our hubris. And it opens up new ways to encounter the other. Hear the prophet's lament as the necessary corrective for Christianity's future.
A Resonate exposition of the book of Lamentations.
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About the Author
Soong-Chan Rah (ThD, Duke Divinity School) is Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. He and his family live in Chicago. His books include The Next Evangelicalism and Prophetic Lament.
Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a dynamic speaker, author and trailblazer with over twenty-five years of experience in the ministry of racial, ethnic and gender reconciliation. She was featured as one of the fifty most influential women to watch by Christianity Today in 2012 and is an associate professor of reconciliation studies in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University, where she also directs the Reconciliation Studies program. Salter McNeil was previously the president and founder of Salter McNeil Associates, a reconciliation organization that provided speaking, training and consulting to colleges, churches and faith-based organizations. She also served on the staff of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for fourteen years as a Multiethnic Ministries Specialist. She earned a MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, a DMin from Palmer Theological Seminary and was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from North Park University. She is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church and is on the pastoral staff of Quest Church in Seattle. In addition, she serves on the board of directors for Wycliffe USA and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA. She is also the coauthor of The Heart of Racial Justice and the author of A Credible Witness. Brenda lives in Seattle with her husband Dr. J. Derek McNeil and their two children.
"Prophetic Lament is a commentary on the Old Testament book of Lamentations. Rather than reading as a typical commentary with foci on individual verses, original languages, and such, the book reads as an extended essay that swerves consciously between the experience of Israel's exile and reflections on contemporary events, particularly issues of justice that have often escaped white churches. . . . "Lamentations is a book that can and should speak into our current circumstances and, in Prophetic Lament, Rah has given us an accessible introduction for our troubled times."--David Swanson, Signs of Life, December 19, 2015
"This timely book is indeed prophetic in its call for us to live as the faithful and repentant people of God in our violent age."--C. Christopher Smith, Relevant, December 18, 2015
"In his superb new book, Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times, Soong-Chan Rah uses a series of reflections on the Old Testament book of Lamentations to explore our discomfort with lament and to call us to recover this historic practice of our faith."--C. Christopher Smith, Englewood Review of Books, Fall 2015
"Rah combines biblical exposition with cultural critique. . . . He applies the message of Lamentations to the complex contemporary issues of urban ministry, justice, and racial reconciliation. Prophetic Lament will complement other commentaries and enrich the reader's understanding and application of this short but powerful book of the Bible."--Daniel Johnson, CBA Retailers + Resources, October 2015
"You wouldn't expect a journey through the book of Lamentations to be particularly relevant to life in the 21st century. And yet that is what Soong-Chan Rah accomplishes. Lament, Rah emphasizes, is an essential part of the deeper engagement God desires for humanity and creation."--Relevant Magazine, September/October 2015
"Soong-Chan Rah ranks among the top American scholars who perceptively understand the contemporary Western church, speak prophetically into it, offer hope, and do not hesitate to prove the theological implications of scripture. I count his Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times as one of the most personally, and unexpectedly, impactful that I have read. It is currently shaping me in uncomfortable yet necessary ways."--David M. Johnstone, Christian Scholar's Review, XLVI: 2, Winter 2017