When the people of Judah were taken captive by the Babylonians, their world was drastically changed. While in exile they experienced shame, guilt, fear, and displacement. However, their God had been traumatized by their behavior and also grieved with them. Yet, Yahweh gave them a second chance by forgiving them and bringing them home. God offered them hope, mercy, and love. The prophets were God's chosen messengers, not only to provide a new vision of what could be, but to suffer with the people. These servants were caught in the middle between a passionate God and traumatized people. As the people returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their city and their lives, the prophets were with them to remind them that God had not abandoned them.
The author suggests that the prophets live on today through the church as those who engage their community, fight for people's hearts, and remind others that God gives second chances. Clark shares stories from his personal ministry to the marginalized in Portland, Oregon, who seek relief from shame, suffering, and hopelessness. In this hope our community receives new vision through a loving God and persistent prophets.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Clark's probe of prophets is itself prophetic: this book has the potential to move the church from despair to hope, from somnolence to divine presence, from wake-up to dream again." --Leonard Sweet, Drew University
"Readers [can] expect to find in this book a deep, pastoral sensibility, a compelling narrative art, and an awareness of systemic arrangements that continue to produce hopelessness and displacement among us. Clark provides ready access to the issues that concern us most now." --Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Today's church often seems disconnected from both the suffering world and from its own sacred texts . . . With clarity, passion, pastoral sensibility, and an accurate, though not technical, understanding of Scripture, Clark invites readers into a world, not as it is, but as it should--and could--be. Read this book. More importantly, live prophetically and with imaginative joy." --Mark W. Hamilton, Abilene Christian University
"No doubt you will be changed by Clark's powerful stories of personal ministry with the marginalized and his vision of hope through our loving God." --Kevin Palau, Luis Palau Association
"Clark combines expertise in biblical literature with page-turning accounts of life amidst the marginalized, creating a rare and exquisite meshing of two worlds where hope is promised to a crushed people. Essential reading for those who dare to minister." --David Fleer, Lipscomb University
Ron Clark is the minister for the Agape Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon. He is an adjunct instructor at George Fox Evangelical Seminary and serves in local abuse- and trafficking-prevention agencies in Portland. He is the author of Am I Sleeping with the Enemy? (2009) and Freeing the Oppressed (2009), both from Cascade Books.