Breuggemann: "Evangelism means inviting people into these (Bible) stories as the definitional story of our life, and thus authorizing them to give up other stories that have shaped their lives in false or distorting ways; to tell again the old story, but in ways that impact every aspect of our contemporary life, public and personal."
What is so subtly wrong with this concept of evangelism is that Christ didn't come into this world asking people to "give up their old stories and replace them with new stories." Christ came into the world asking them to do something much bigger and much more important! He asks us to "give up our lives and follow Him."
Evangelism is not a call to "change the stories that shape your life" into Bible stories. It is a call to Christ himself - a call into a personal relationship with God.
An earlier reviewer gave Brueggeman 4 stars and spoke over and over about how the book pointed to "Christ" this and "Christ" that. But in actuallity, you won't find Christ mentioned much in Brueggeman's book. Don't be confused by Brueggeman - he doesn't believe in Christ as THE Lord and Savior - nor in the concept of sin that pulls us away from God - nor the need for repentance and obedience in order to have a personal relationship with God. His books are all wrapped up in carefully crafted words that sound nice and godly, but lead humans into a wilderness of humanism.
Revered by many as one of our best biblical scholars, Walter Brueggemann prescribes a potent recipe for bringing Christ into the lives of the Unchurched, the Jaded Insider, and our at-risk Children. His advocacy for the narrow path between the legalistic Christian Right and the near Godless Secular Humanists comes, not from the gospels of the New Testament, but from the experiences of the Hebrew nation portrayed in the Old Testament. He shows us that maintaining a strong relationship with God was just as difficult for a thriving, aquisitive culture 3000 years ago as it it today. My current interest is in how to deal with the lack of support for spreading the "good news" in the old mainline churches in the Washington, DC metro area. I am a Presbyterian elder who is frustrated by the political, rather than biblical, focus of many members of our congregations. The first chapter is tough reading, lots of heavy theology terms. They are necessary to lay a foundation for the following chapters which contain the "meat" of his recipes. Each of the three covers one of the aforementioned groups. Because of my interest in the "Insiders", I found the last chapter on techniques for keeping our children close to Christ to contain much that also applies to adult believers-including myself. In the end, Brueggemann shows that one cannot choose a life in a love-of-neighbor covenant without giving up the anti-neighbor culture that surrounds us. The Christian church in America must "recover the nerve (courage and freedom) to say unambiguously that embrace of the news is pervasively transformative." He is very precise with his words. You can read it in an afternoon, but you will probably come back to it many times if you are struggling with issues of modern Christian life. Note: I knew of Brueggemann from sermon references but was drawn to this book by his commmentary in Bill Moyers PBS series "Genesis" and its companion book-still available I think. He has also written the definative theological commentary on Genesis.