Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Doug Bond on the Psalms

We were privileged to have Doug Bond in chapel last Friday giving an address titled, Biblical Poetry in a Post-Biblical, Post-Poetry World. After arriving in town at 2am the morning of chapel Doug’s was having trouble with his voice, but he gave a brilliant lecture on the place of the Psalms in our life and worship. He also spoke to a communications class and then spoke again on the psalms shaping our worship in the afternoon.

I have pasted in here Bond’s concluding points from his chapel address (some of which he had to skip due to time). They are his points on why the Psalms are valuable to us today.

1. If you wish you prayed better, with more heart, with words worthy of God, learn the Psalms.

2. Secondly, you and I need the Psalms today because the Psalms keep in perfect tension the poles of joy and fear in our worship, … Joy and trembling are perfectly wedded in the Psalms.

3. … we need the Psalms today because they help free us from our slavery to the here and now, to the goofiness of personal taste.

4. Fourthly, we live in an egalitarian age, where high register things, especially words and language, are scorned. All the more reason you and I need the majesty of the Psalms to elevate our ability to enter God’s courts, a place you would never slouch or swagger into un-tucked. Worship is the highest-register activity a human being can engage in, and the content and tone of the Psalms ought always to regulate our attitude and posture in that worship.

5. Fifthly, Psalms give us theological discernment. The Psalms help us measure what is worthy and what is not. They help us reject vacuous praise, praise verbalized but without objective theological reasons informing those words. You and I need to return to the inspired sung worship of the ancients because it adorns doctrinal truth and helps us see the loveliness of that truth.

6. In the sixth place, recovering Psalm singing in our worship and life will raise the bar for all new worship poetry in every age. Seek God in the Psalms and then measure everything else by what you find there. Stop asking of what you listen to, what you sing, what you write, if it sounds like the latest thing. Rather ask: is it Psalm-like? An honest answer will enable you to rise above the inappropriate and tread on the high places of the earth.

7. Finally, Psalmody and classic hymnody serve to unite you and me with the vast throng of dazzled worshipers throughout the ages. The Psalms are God-given sung praise that transcends all barriers, ones of race, gender, ethnicity, geography, and most-importantly, Psalms free us from that, oh so, postmodern, all-preoccupying, all-excusing barrier: personal taste. Psalm poetry is for all time, the ultimate multicultural poetry, poetry for “All people that on earth do dwell.”

If you do not know of Doug Bond’s books I encourage you to check them out. His fiction provides, among other things, some of the best reflection on the value of the Psalms and deeply inspiring and convicting portraits of godly fathering. His Fathers and Sons series
series expounds on the fathering portion more explicitly.

1 comment:

selahV said...

thanks so much for giving us these points from Bro. Doug's message. Inspiring. I read the Psalms daily. I cannot read them and not know the presence of God. I will look into Doug's books. selahV
p.s.
found you through SBC VOICES