April 28, 2014
A word of clarification
I have a dear friend who reads, and encourages me regarding these ruminations. Occasionally he points out things I say that may need a little clarification. (You know who you are C.F.) Last week when I wrote about the abortion issue he asked me if I was trying to “persuade or enrage.” If it was the first I failed and if it was the second I likely succeeded. Well truth be told it was not intended to be either. I don’t think many adults can be persuaded about this one way or the other… and there is certainly enough rage to go around on both sides. I was really trying to get the number 60 million abortions out there. I mean it seems that no matter what side of this issue you are on… “60 million abortions” should be horrifying!
On a lighter note
I don’t know if there is a “reading gene”. If there is, Ellen (my wife) got it and passed it along to our daughter Rebekah and to varying degrees to the rest of our kids. It seems that men are less inclined to get this particular gene. I like to read but I am not anywhere close to the reading maniac my wife is! She probably consumes 2-3 books a week and while on vacation she can go through more than a book a day. I can read a book a day but they have to have super heroes and lots of pictures.
I didn’t really grow up in a reading family. I have no recollection of my parents ever reading a book. Nor were there books in our home. I don’t have any memory of being encouraged to read. The only thing I can remember even remotely related is a very large Mother Goose book that my grandmother read from when I slept at her house.
Sometime around 7th grade I began to read sports and auto racing books designed for kids my age. I don’t know why. But I ended up going through every book our school library had on those subjects. And of course the aforementioned super hero “books.” In 9th grade I moved to a street where almost all of the kids who became my friends were readers. We would pass around the in vogue books and informally discuss them. The Godfather, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were favorites. Slowly I developed an interest in books but it took some time. Like I said, I think for men reading is often like swimming upstream… it takes work and doesn’t come naturally.
Since High School I have read a couple of books. Well okay more than a couple. Not the thousands that Ellen has consumed however. I find it interesting that my tastes have changed. It’s been a while since I have read a Jr. High sports or auto racing book. J A few years ago my kids got me the first year or two of The Fantastic Four from the early 1960’s. I read it out of obligation since it was a gift… okay, okay… I admit I enjoyed it! I do however like: history, fantasy (like The Lord of the Rings), and mindless schlock like westerns. I do read “religious books” but not always. Can’t stand mysteries and Sci Fi.
All of that to say this: I will be preaching a series this Summer through the Psalms. (Not all of them of course!) I’m not sure why but it seems that appreciation for the Psalms often comes late to Christians. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that admiration for poetry may come later to us as well… if it ever comes? Or it could be that many of the Psalms feature the author crying out to God because of dreadful things that have occurred in their lives. Maybe it takes a collection of ghastly things over the course of a lifetime to cause us to bear our souls to God? Again, I don’t really know.
But I do know this… we may respond more positively to the Psalms if we know the issues they are addressing. Did you know that there are basically 5 different types of Psalms? And those 5 can be broken down into a few subcategories. Go to one of the websites listed below for a breakdown of various types of Psalms. There are many other websites as well.
I’ll take a little bit of time next week to unpack these categories a bit. Begin your own study… I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Below is a “Lament Psalm”. Something awful has occurred in the life of the writer and they are crying out to God… wondering where He is… Ever been there???
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, 4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.