It was the center of learning, commerce, wealth, and religion. Devoted to materialism, extravagance, luxury, and the pursuit of sensual pleasure, it was a privileged society. But, there was also injustice, poverty, and oppression. It was the great and ancient Babylonthe center of the universe.
And now we find Babylon redux today in Western society. Consumer capitalism, a never-ending cycle of working and buying, a sea of choices produced with little regard to life or resources, societal violence, marginalized and excluded people, a world headed toward climactic calamity. Where are the prophetsthe Jeremiahsto lead the way out of the gated communities of overindulgence, the high rises of environmental disaster, and the darkness at the core of an apostate consumer society?
Walter Brueggemanna scholar, a preacher, a prophetic voice in our own timechallenges us again to examine our culture, turn from the idols of abundance and abuse, and turn to lives of meaning and substance.
Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. A past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, he is one of today's preeminent interpreters of Scripture.