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Center for Action and Contemplation
The Hebrew Prophets
The Hebrew Prophets

The Hebrew Prophets

Saturday, February 18, 2023

The prophet’s sense of Judaism is of a social religion that calls hearers to peoplehood, to togetherness, to relatedness. Only in relatedness can we understand relatedness to God.
—Richard Rohr 

The more I walk with God and God walks with me, the more I come into the full-orbed significance of who I am and what I am. That is to walk humbly with God.  
—Howard Thurman 

The prophets help humanity experience the pathos of God, the pain, the feeling, the longing, the desire of God.
—Richard Rohr 

Huldah’s prophetic words shifted national policy. Her commitment to telling God’s truth—even and especially the hard truth—specifically to men in power, changed the course of history.
—Kat Armas 

We might try to describe biblical faith as a type of internal authority that comes from listening to everything, a going beyond fear so that one becomes intimate with everything.
—Richard Rohr 

Brag about steadfast love, about staying power and keeping vows and promises, about long-term fidelity whereby haves and have-nots, rich and poor, and black and white stay with each other in a common destiny.
—Walter Brueggemann 

Understanding Our Emotions  

If the Hebrew prophets are the feelings of God, as Richard suggests this week, then our emotions are also places where we can meet God. In her book Atlas of the Heart, which describes over seventy-five defining human emotions and experiences, researcher Brené Brown shares: 

One of the most valuable gifts in my life was from my mom. She taught us to never look away from pain. The lesson was simple and clear:  

Don’t look away. Don’t look down.  
Don’t pretend not to see hurt.  
Look people in the eye.  
Even when their pain is overwhelming.  
And when you’re hurting and in pain, find the people who can look you in the eye.  
We need to know we’re not alone—especially when we’re hurting.  

Even in my fifties, I find myself wrestling with the same questions that left me confused as a kid: Why do we cause each other so much pain, and why do we turn away from hurt when the only way to the other side of struggle is through it?… It just takes so much more energy and creates so much more emotional churn than having a seat and asking hurt or uncertainty to pull up a chair….  

Every single day, our feelings and experiences show up in our bodies, they’re shaped by where we come from and how we were raised, they drive how we show up, and each feeling has its own unique backstory. Understanding these emotions and experiences is our life’s work. The more we learn, the deeper we can continue to explore. 


Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience (New York: Random House, 2021), 271–272. 

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Jenna Keiper, Bisti Badlands. Benjamin Yazza, Untitled 6. Jenna Keiper, Taos Snow. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

Like this bird, the Hebrew prophets sing truth from new vantage points. 

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