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Location: Charles City, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What Can We Sing When Life Stinks?


Sometimes we Christians think that if we admit to feeling angry, scared, depressed, or sad, then we'll be thought of as failures. If we admit that the world can seem like a scary, lonely place, people will think we don't believe in God anymore. So in our hymns and other church-songs we sometimes add lots of "happy" or "joyful" affirmations, just so everybody knows that we're still high on Jesus.
If, like me, you've ever felt dishonest while singing hymns or choruses with lines like "...and now I am happy all the day," etc, and if you've ever wondered if God allows us to talk honestly about our pain, then you should check out this article, in which Carl Trueman encourages us to recover the gritty, multi-emotional, realistic-yet-hopeful power of the Psalms for our private prayer and public worship.
He wrote the article because he looked around and felt that "the typical Christian church offered the broken-hearted nothing whatsoever to sing in praise to God on a Sunday; and in so doing, the church was failing in her duty to care for the hurting, the downtrodden, the depressed."
Give it a read...good stuff.
(If you enjoy Carl's article, you might want to read his excellent collection of essays, The Wages of Spin. )

2 Comments:

said...

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word.
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin.
Give the audience a grin.
Enjoy it. It's your last chance, anyhow.

Sometimes all you need to explain life's rotten moments is a little Monty Python...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo

5:07 PM  
said...

Thanks for the link, Justin.

There's a clip from the movie SAVED that's always resonated with me. This teenage girl's just found out she's pregnant--after thinking having sex with her gay boyfriend would save him, but that's another subplot---and she comes to this huge cross, reaches out her hands, and says, "SHIT."

That short scene meant so much to me when I first saw it (the guy I was with though, left the theater b/c he thought it was blasphemous).

Anyway, I think all of us--if we dare to be honest---have felt like that before. Overcome by the gritty reality of life's pain and our troubles, with ashes on our heads, we come before the altar, so unready to praise Him and so confused by what's happened. And we say shit. (A few times).

But the point is that we come.
And the rest is up to him.

5:57 PM  

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