The rhetoric of prophetic indictment is not “polite” or “civil.” In fact, it is frequently perceived by its audience as corrosive of communal bonds. Nonetheless, its presuppositions and purpose are not ultimately negative. Those who engage in prophetic discourse (or prophetically symbolic activity) are attempting to break through a community’s entrenched habits of apathy and injustice in order to prevent them from smothering the fundamental values and commitments upon which that community is founded and its flourishing depends. But it cannot be denied that these constructive intentions frequently remain unrealized and that attempts to invoke prophetic language only exacerbate moral balkanization and even breed moral cynicism. The use of prophetic discourse is risky business, both for the prophet and for the community.
Cathleen Kaveny, Prophecy Without Contempt: Religious Discourse in the Public Square, 248.