Monthly Archives: March 2009
This post continues the wonderful lecture by Robby Bell called Lament for a Wounded Faith.
- 2 Areas where our theology needs refinement:
- Theology of worship and the church
- Why is our worship so antiseptic?
- Is the purpose of worship to forget our problems and sing happy songs?
- Lamenting is about honesty in our worship.
- We treat the Psalms of Lament as substandard parts of scripture.
- Stoic patience and acceptance is not the theme of the Bible.
- Tension between now and then is removed in favor of the “then”.
- Even in suffering, we continue to address our thoughts and fears to God as Job did.
The final session of the Where Are the Psalms? Conference was presented by Robby Bell, professor of counseling at Erskine Seminary. I took so many notes during this session that I’ve divided them into two posts.
In a conference that was rich on every front, this session probably impacted me the most, especially considering what Prof. Bell has gone through in the past couple of years. His session was entitled, Lament for a Wounded Faith.
- No fitting words or means of transition from where we are to where we want to be are found in many churches.
- One of the significant weaknesses in the American church is our inability to address hard times.
- American Christianity is dying from a case of shallowness. – Hughes Oliphant Old
- Christian Liturgy without lament becomes anorexic.
- There’s no place in our worship for the expression of anguish or pain.
- We don’t take Galatians 6.1-2 seriously.
- The modern church demands that those who are mourning abandon them for the triumphant songs of Zion.
- Christians turn into the tormentors of Psalm 137(!), demanding that the wounded sing happy songs.
- The only help we can bring is “happy ease.”
- In recent hymnals, among those that even include psalms to begin with, 75% of the omitted psalms have been psalms of lament.
- We praise God for stability and the status quo.
- More than half of the Psalms include lament.
- Not a single text in the New Testament forbids lamenting. – K. Westerlund
- Faith as trust & questioning vs. faith that is unquestioning. Which is more biblical?
- Without lament, we truncate the New Testament as well as the Old Testament.
- 1 Peter 4.12-13
- We must teach our children how to lament.
- The life of faith is an ongoing task – we don’t let people ask the questions.
- Lamenting is a faith opportunity.
- Lamenting involves us in the process of covenanting.
- Can God be addressed in risky ways?
- Lament is a cry over a relationship in process.
- Does the absence of lament signal that we really don’t want to know God?
- Lamentation is more than catharsis – getting things off our chests.
- Recognition of God’s sovereignty isn’t resignation.
- Lament is messy business.
- When the option of lament is removed, we cannot express ourselves to God nor receive the formative character of lamentation.
- Lament challenges every theology of guaranteed safety.
- Lamenting involves risk. – Elllington
- Losing or turning loose the status quo.
- Newness. Should newness fail to materialize, the worshiper faces a death without meaning.
- Lament is truly seeking, asking and knocking.
- Lament is a passion to ask, rather than rant and rave.
- Lament moves toward God.
- Influence – we are too successful.
- Apathy – we don’t want God’s response.
I have just finished reading and have posted a book review for NT (Tom) Wright’s latest book Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. Here is the first paragraph:
Reading a book by NT Wright on Justification and then hearing his critics is like listening to a majestic symphony and then hearing someone complain about the parallel fifths.
For more, see the review.
Here is an arrangement that I’ve been working on today:
It still needs a little work, especially in the realm of dynamics, etc., but I’m happy with a lot of it. (It’s also in F Major which is much more singable than the G Major arrangement found in most hymnals.)
Mark Ross, professor at Erskine Theological Seminary‘s Columbia Campus and dean of the Institute for Reformed Worship, spoke on “What Place Should Psalm-Singing Have in Christian Worship?” Below are a few notes from his lecture.
- The question of whether we should sing psalms is not simply a practical question but also a theological and ethical question.
- Must we sing the Psalms? Is it a divine imperative?
- This isn’t a question of “Should we sing?” or “Should we sing only psalms?”
- There is a biblical pattern of remembering God’s mighty deeds in song.
- Songs bookend Samuel – Hannah (1 Samuel 1) and David (2 Samuel 22).
- Psalm singing, like the Lord’s Supper, should be seen as ordinary and beneficial.
- Isaac Watts believed that as Old Covenant writings, the Psalms were outdated. (Hence his Psalms Imitated.)
- Calvin was eager to institute Psalm-singing in Geneva in 1537.
- As a remedy to the cold prayers of the people.
- People will learn “to make like prayers and render like praises.”
- There are two kinds of public prayer:
- Words alone
- Words with singing