Prayers for an election season (part 2 of 7)

Previously I suggested that the Penitential Psalms might be a good set of prayers for this election season. Why? Not sure I know. Maybe it’s something to discover. I’m quoting these psalms from the NRSV. The titles given by the NRSV translators are their own, not part of the text they received. But they areContinue reading “Prayers for an election season (part 2 of 7)”

Prayers for an election season (part 1 of 7)

Here in West Michigan (does this happen other places?) quite a few people are putting out signs like this instead of (or together with) conventional campaign signs. I like this one: “try praying.” The sign says “trypraying.org.” I know nothing about the org and so can say nothing about it, for good or for ill.Continue reading “Prayers for an election season (part 1 of 7)”

The wicked, God, and me (Psalm 5, day 1)

Psalm 5 sounds perennial themes. These themes recur throughout the Psalter, throughout the Bible, and throughout the life of the person who would follow God and live righteously: wicked people, God, and oneself. What happens if we try to take this psalm as a paradigm, a model, of how to relate these three constants? TheContinue reading “The wicked, God, and me (Psalm 5, day 1)”

At the lowest point: hope

This year 2020 is a low year in the life of American Christians in so many ways. I will not enumerate them here, because we all know it, but we have different perspectives on how bad things are, and on what exactly is making them bad, and by enumerating them I would necessarily convey myContinue reading “At the lowest point: hope”

How to think and pray about wicked rulers (Psalm 58)

Psalm 58, like so many psalms, complains about human injustice but has a slightly different way of presenting the problem. Here the issue is cast as a drama in which the human actors are adam, the people, and elim or elohim, the “gods.” The narrator and suppliant—the psalmist—speaks on behalf of the people to elohim,Continue reading “How to think and pray about wicked rulers (Psalm 58)”

Striking a pose: Psalm 18 and positional righteousness

Picking up from yesterday: what has gone wrong with us—members and heirs of certain American Christian traditions—that what we believe and do diverges so starkly from the ways of the one we claim to follow? I said yesterday it’s all about truth. It’s also all about righteousness. The two are closely related. With regard toContinue reading “Striking a pose: Psalm 18 and positional righteousness”

Psalm 1 again: verses 1 through 3

Blessed is the man ESV retains the traditional masculine singular because unlike pluralized rewordings it preserves the possibility of figural reading as referring to Jesus Christ as the ideal human who fits the description given. And I guess somehow “Blessed is the human” or “the person” doesn’t quite have the same poetic resonance. Some ofContinue reading “Psalm 1 again: verses 1 through 3”

It’s not always about John Calvin; or, What’s God got to do, got to do with it?

There’s a lot of anti-Calvinism out there. I guess there’s also a lot of Calvinism. People love bashing predestination. Or other Calvinist expressions of the essential importance of the sovereignty of God. And other people like promoting those things. Closely related: there is much controversy over universalism—the idea that in the end, all will beContinue reading “It’s not always about John Calvin; or, What’s God got to do, got to do with it?”

God gets refractory, haughty brought down

I really admire people who are always on an even keel, don’t you? They are grounded, centered. They know who they are, which means they know where they stand vis-à-vis God: lower, but accepted and loved. They tend to know, as well as any of us can, where they stand with other people, and theyContinue reading “God gets refractory, haughty brought down”