Befriending the Prophets intends to help readers understand and cherish the prophets for who they were and what they said. Over years of teaching, Howard Macy met folk who were both curious and eager to know more about the prophets, and he often met readers who were puzzled or even put off by them. This book reaches out to both groups. It considers lingering questions, misunderstandings, and other barriers to understanding. (Who were these people? Why did they say yes? Why didn’t they quit? How did they know what to say? Why do they seem hard to read? Were they just weird or cranky?) It also explores the prophets’ practical guidance about how to live well in ordinary life. Reading it will invite you to embrace the core of their message and their faithfulness even today.
In this wonderful book, Howard Macy helps us see what we too often miss—that God raises up prophets to teach us when to say “Yes,” when to say “No,” and to whom. If you’re looking for an accessible primer on the prophetic life and role, you’ve found it.
Phil Gulley, author of If the Church Were Christian
Befriending the Prophets deftly unveils much of the mystery surrounding the biblical prophets but without minimizing their legitimacy and authenticity. By paying attention to call, vision, values and listening, Howard Macy establishes key points that ground the prophetic commitment in the service of God. In the process, he makes a convincing case that there is still prophetic work to be done, perhaps even by the likes of you and me.
Jay Marshall, author of When the Spirit Calls
Learning about the Hebrew prophets from Howard, when I was his student at Friends University, transformed my understanding of them. His ability to make these figures relatable caught me then, even as Befriending the Prophets does now. Buy this book and share it widely!
Kendra Weddle, Ph.D., Scholar-in-Residence, Northaven Church, Dallas, Texas
I am grateful for Howard Macy’s life and scholarship that contributes to such an accessible, inspiring, informative, and rich resource on the prophets. Macy invites the reader on an integrative experience of the prophetic role, drawing us in to see the prophets as experienced and faithful listeners, captured by God’s compelling vision of life together, as a community that seeks peace (shalom). Highly recommended!
Jennifer M. Matheny, recently named an associate professor of Christian Scriptures at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary
Befriending the Prophets is warm, engaging, delightful, and disturbing. To be sure, it challenges many of our most cherished misconceptions of the Hebrew prophets. Most helpful of all, it provides us with a wise understanding of the role of the prophet in our day. I highly recommend Befriending the Prophets to you for your reading, studying, reflecting, and praying.
Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline
In his serious yet playful invitation to befriend the prophets, Howard Macy invites us into a more profound and more transformational journey than simply sharpening our understanding of a unique form of biblical literature. Instead, as we learn to know and love those who dared speak for God, we come face to face with the God who speaks and acts in human history.
Colin Saxton, co-author of Walking with the Bible
In this winsome book, Howard Macy invites us to come alongside Israel’s prophets, gaining a sense of what Abraham Heschel described as the pathos of God for humanity. Were they saints, cranks, or something in between? With his insightful treatments of these key biblical figures and their messages, Howard helps them become our life-changing friends.
Paul N. Anderson, author of Following Jesus: The Heart of Faith and Practice
I cannot recall the last time I preached on the biblical prophets, but that is going to change. Howard Macy has reintroduced his readers to these neglected characters and revived their messages for our times. More than ever, we need “disturbing people” willing to guide and challenge us in the ways of righteousness, justice, love, and truth. Throughout this book, you will find a renewed call to pick up this prophetic mantle and bring peace and hope to our world.
Dr. Robert S. Henry, pastor at Indianapolis First Friends Quaker Meeting
Howard R. Macy
is Professor Emeritus of Religion and Biblical Studies at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. In addition to teaching, Howard has been a pastor and author and has traveled widely in public ministry. His other books include Rhythms of the Inner Life and Discovering Humor in the Bible: An Explorer’s Guide.