Bono and Eugene Peterson on the Psalms

As you may have picked up, I have been reading the Psalms lately, to my great benefit.  Fuller Seminary has made a video of U2 frontman Bono and respected Christian author and Bible translator Eugene Peterson talking about the Psalms.  It’s quite illuminating, with Bono making some applications to Christian art in general.  After the jump, read from an account of the interview and then watch the interview itself. [Read more…]

What the Bible says to writers

My daughter Mary Moerbe picks up on my mini-series on what she calls “passages tucked away in plain sight” that speak to artists, musicians, and scientists.  She has a post about what the Bible (specifically, the Book of Psalms) says about the vocation of writing.  She picks up on these:

 “Open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise.” (Psalm 51:15)

“My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe” (Psalm 45: 1).

 

[Read more…]

What the Bible says to scientists

I’ve been reading the Psalms and I keep coming across texts that I’ve usually skimmed over but that speak in a startlingly direct way to contemporary questions.  I’ve blogged about some that deal with aesthetic issues and with artists.  Here is one that deals with scientists:

Great are the works of the Lord,
    studied by all who delight in them. (Psalm 111:2)

A person takes “delight in” something that God has made; that is, some aspect of the physical world or facet of existence.  That delight leads to study, to learning more and more about this work of the Lord.

A person may find delight in animals, rocks, the human immune system, stars, sub-atomic particles.  Or, by extension, anything else.   This is also a text for scholars of every kind.

It’s interesting to note that “delight” is a legitimate factor in finding one’s vocation. [Read more…]

“I will make melody with all my being”

Still more from the Bible on the arts from passages I’ve always skimmed over!  In the first verse of Psalm 108, a psalm of David, we read “I will sing and make melody with all my being!”

So singing and making melody (I suppose that would include composing) are done with “all” the artists’ “being.”  Creating a work of art takes everything that the artist is.  Imagination, yes, but also the intellect, all of the artist’s memories, beliefs, personality.

The literal rendition of those Hebrew words is “my glory.”  I suppose that would include the artist’s talents and gifts.  But the point seems to be that the creation (“I will. . .make melody”) or performance (“I will sing”) of a work of art is a holistic effort on the part of the artist, rather than the exertion of a single faculty.

Does such close reading of a text violate the Law/Gospel hermeneutic?  Not at all!  This word is Law to an artist, who is often tempted to work superficially, tossing off something just for commercial reasons, being fake, insincere, and inauthentic, imitating someone else for fashion’s sake rather than being true to oneself as an artist.

[Read more…]

“To you, O Lord, I will make music”

More aesthetics in the Bible, from passages that I had never noticed before:  Psalm 101, identified as “a Psalm of David,” reflects specifically on singing and making music.  It begins:

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
    to you, O Lord, I will make music.

Elsewhere, David also refers to singing and making melody “to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6; see these other places).  So the Lord is the audience of the music.  The artist is addressing not other human beings but God Himself.

[Read more…]

Applying what the Bible says about slavery

Jordan Cooper has an excellent discussion of what the Bible says about slavery. You need to read it all, but I’ll quote six points that he makes.

I then want to propose a way to apply these passages–not just to their historical context–but to the slavery of sin.
[Read more…]


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