Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Psalm 19 Illuminated (IV): Verse 3
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Psalm 19 Illuminated (III): Verse 2
Monday, May 18, 2009
Psalm 19 Illuminated (II): Verse 1
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Psalm 19 Illuminated (I)
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Psalm 23, A Perspective from Kenya
She notes how great a feel herders in Kenya have for the strong relationship between shepherd and sheep in Psalm 23. The kraal compound has one gate (# 4) for both humans (# 1) and cattle (# 2). Herders and animals are bound together, fenced in together against the chaos outside the fence. The calves and lambs are kept especially close to the residences, either in their own little area (# 3), or sometimes sleeping with the owners in the huts! The family does not mind the smell of dung so close by. In fact, the dung is heaped up in the kraal and the flies it attracts are viewed as a sign of wealth.
God's acting for God's "name's sake" (לְמַעַן שְׁמֽוֹ) in v. 3 of the psalm makes perfect sense in the perspective of Kenya. Of course a herder would want a kraal with lots of flies. You care about your honor so that you create the sort of family that people want to associate with and marry into. This is not about individualistic pride, but about working hard, building up the family and the community. Mary's own last name, is a good illustration of caring for the herd for one's names sake: "Toror" means "glorious, honorable," and "eiy" means "bull," so her family name "Tororeiy" means "glorious bull," pointing to the high quality of animal this family lovingly nurtures.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Psalms, Children, and Emotions
I would like to start today with a project by graduating senior Sandra S., which aims to apply the book of Psalms in the nurture and formation of children. After much study and reflection both on the form-criticism of psalms and the emotional and spiritual development of children, Sandra created a new "psalm of lament" with a flowing narrative about a young child who is sick. I present here in this post (below).
There are several features of the project that distinguish it markedly from the standard ways that psalms are presented in commercially available children's books. These standard publications are rarely true to the "pattern of prayer"---the careful spiritual structure and flow---of the biblical psalms, and they rarely, if ever, avail themselves of the robust theology of lament. Sandra's project is a real gift in that it unabashedly concentrates on the lament form. This form is particularly powerful in taking seriously the voice of what W. Brueggemann calls "the lesser petitionary party." That is, it grants to one in the position of a child the chance to be listened to (by God, by authority) with full engagement. Also, in children's hands, this form of the biblical lament affirms the naturalness of difficult emotions of unfairness, injustice, and deep hurt. In addition, and unlike most Bible-related children's books, the lament form allows children to claim maturity and ego-strength in relation to God, indeed even to be empowered to challenge the status quo, the way things are always presented as "givens" to be learned and passively accepted.
Here is the project in poem and photographic illustration. Click the slide-pages to enlarge. Comments welcome.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
MP3 Music Download: "Ruth's Song"
Lois writes, "I hope to get these 'studio recorded' in the coming year along with several others based on Old Testament inspiration --- who says nobody pays attention to OT?!!!" Well Done, Lois!