The Danger of Cherry-Picking Only Praises from the Psalms

Chris —  March 2, 2015 — 2 Comments

Suffering with incurable cancer, J. Todd Billings points out that contemporary hymnals tend to have a far smaller proportion of laments than the book of Psalms does (Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ40).

While psalms of thanksgiving are wonderful, they are rarer in the book of Psalms than psalms of lament. Cherry-picking only the praises from the Psalms tends to shape a church culture in which only positive emotions can be expressed before God in faith. Since my diagnosis with cancer, I’ve found that my fellow Christians know how to rejoice about answered prayer and also how to petition God for help, but many don’t know what to do when I express sorrow and loss or talk about death. In some sense, this lack of affective agility in their faith is not surprising since our corporate worship has lost many of the elements that are so prominent in the psalms of lament.

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2 responses to The Danger of Cherry-Picking Only Praises from the Psalms

  1. dr. james willingham March 2, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Someone once said, “Thou didst save me by thy hard refusals.”

  2. Dr. Willingham, that is so a profound thought!

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