Resources on the psalms for pastors, artists, worship leaders and everybody

As is well known by now, one of my two goals for the project with Bono and Eugene Peterson on the psalms, going back to October 2014, was that people might be inspired to read the psalms for themselves. With the generous help of John Witvliet and Bruce Benedict, I've created a resource page to facilitate this goal.

To my mind, they're intended for all sorts of people: church and lay leaders, worship leaders, artists, teachers, moms, grandfathers, astronauts, botanists, Facebook employees, my CPA, the Pope, craft beer makers, Justin Bieber, the entire country of China, the Dallas Cowboys and Judge Judy. In short: I would love for everyone to (re)discover the psalms, to sing, pray, read and live their lives in light of them.

A small note of clarification on this list is in order: of the hundreds of possible resources one could choose from, I chose to recommend only 4-5 per category, except in the case of music. I did so because I wanted to keep the experience simple for the visitor, so that they wouldn't feel overwhelmed by scores of possibilities. Categories I created include: prayer, worship, small group studies, justice, poetry, theology, the church calendar, visual art, music, etc.

There's nothing that would make me happier than to hear that this might have resulted from watching Nathan Clarke's beautiful film (included below). I can reassure you, as a matter of fact, that both Eugene and Bono would hope for this result too. Please feel free to pass this resource along to your friends and neighbors. Thanks to Lauralee Farrer for the gorgeous work with Fuller Studio. Thanks also to Michael Wright for his generous help on this page, along several other resources (see here).

You can find the resource page here. A sample of the resources has been pasted below, along with a few tips for reading the psalms well.

(You can also read a little bit of the background to the project here.)

Michael Wright has also put together a great playlist of "Honest Songs," including music by Claire Holley, Andrew Peterson, Andy Gullahorn, Sarah Masen, The Brilliance, Sufjan, Mavis Staples, Jars of Clay, Gillian Welch, The Mountain Goats, Josh Garrels, Rich Mullins, Lecrae, Andrae Crouch, Sandra McCracken, Sister Gertrude Morgan, James Taylor, Jason Harrod, Hillsong United, Michael Card, Lori C. Chaffer, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Moda Spira, and more! The music collection here is fantastic, even if, of course, non-exhaustive.

Psalms and Justice

Bob Ekblad (Westminster John Knox, 2005)
Bruce Waltke and James Houston (Eerdmans, 2010)
Arthur Walker-Jones (Fortress Press, 2009)
Ann Weems (Westminster John Knox Press, 1999)

Psalms and Worship

The Anglican Chant Psalter
Alec Wyton (Church Publishing, 1987)
Carlos Rosas (OCP, 2012)
Chant from the Hermitage: A Psalter
John Michael Talbot (Troubadour for the Lord Music, 1900)

Reading tips for the Psalms:

  1. Pay attention to the whole of a psalm, not just to the parts of a psalm.
  1. Read the psalms consistently, rather than occasionally and sporadically.
  1. Pay attention to the internal coherence of a psalm or a section of psalms, rather than allowing them to remain fragmented parts, reflective of our immediate and self-absorbed interest.
  1. Read the psalms out loud, not just silently.
  1. Read and sing and pray the psalms together, not just alone.
  1. Pay attention the Psalter’s “hospitable ‘I’” and its “intimate communal” sense, rather than allowing the individual expressions to devolve to individualism and the communal expressions to devolve to an impersonal communalism.
  1. Immerse yourself in the metaphors that the psalmist employs, rather than remaining distant and detached from them.
  1. Pay attention to the placement and role of the psalms in the biblical canon, rather than viewing them as isolated and idiosyncratic.


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