by Katherine

“Our religion has become gutless.”

Finals week is good. Especially when my notes review leads me to verbal punches like this one. I got stuck here for at least a minute, and keep coming back to it.

[Side note: Long live those professors who aren’t afraid to lift us from our dull puddle of overused words, and say things like they really are. And for this Dr. in particular, challenge us to slow down when we read word-art. Poetry is not meant to be gulped whole, but turned over and examined in the lights of other good things, history and theology included. “What takes effort rewards it.” Or something like that.]

But, that rattling word again. Gutless.

It’s gutless, it’s cowardly to think I can have intimate, authentic Christianity and avoid the temporal pains of the curse. Dr. Gordon was talking about the individualistic, wrong manner of interpreting Psalms which prevails in our church traditions. Rather than reading Christ and the context into Israel’s hymnal, we choose to make the “me”s be me and the thousands of enemies be anything which hinders our temporal wellness.

The Psalms are more glorious when they’re not about me, and religion is more worthy when its people own their sins and equip one another with the voices of candid complaint. Real, brave worship doesn’t cower from dealing with real life, or from keeping the Scriptures in their proper place in redemption’s story. They’re always for today, but not always for feeling good. What happens when those still waters are in tumult and the green pastures are in decay? Those same voices lifted in complaint also trust that Yhwh malak and that the righteous Son of David is making all things new. For now, though, we must touch brokenness.