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Thursday, March 18, 2004
 
Good space, bad space, God space :: Brueggemann's approach to the Psalms

I've been thinking a lot recently about Walter Brueggemann's approach to the psalms. Basically he suggests a functional approach and sees psalms as speaking from and to three settings in life:
Now, with various groups of students, and in my own life, this cycle describes what people live. We (or at least my students and I) do live through such cycles. It's a useful and illuminating way to read the psalms.

I think of it as the "good space, bad space, God space" approach, because it's always in the reorientation phase that I feel closer to God.

Now for the rub, "our" (= Western, Internet reading) culture as a whole is clearly in the orientation phase. Individuals may be disoriented (I'm forever talking to them, often I am them) but the culture is comfortable, thank you.

So, what is an appropriate spirituality for the "good times"?

At this point Gen-X and my kids will chorus (with some justification) saying that for them times are hard - they have student debts etc. that I never had - but seriously the TXT generation says 'times are hard'??? No, folks, whatever age we are, we Internet Christians have never ever had it
so good.

So, what is the appropriate spirituality?

Hairshirts and flagellants whips? Nooo thanks!
The prosperity gospel? (Could I preach that to my ex-colleagues in Kinshasa... Or to your friend with cancer?)
The eyes-tight-shut, and enjoy-the-feelings spirituality of the world around us...

Or WHAT???


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