Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 54

LAMENT - Carlson investigation reveals that this “ambiguous reception” of lament could be more accurately defined as severe neglect.14 The contemporary American church has become “so deeply habituated to the absence of lament in their worship that the absence arouses little attention, prompts few objections, and raises few questions.”15 This is evidenced clearly in the repertoire of SongSelect, the leading contemporary worship resource service that allows thousands of songs to be browsed by theme. SongSelect includes expected themes like “Grace” and “Thankfulness,” as well as obscure themes like “Lineage” and “Sabbath School.” But among nine hundred and fifty worship themes, “lament” is absent (“pain” and “suffering” are also missing).16 Contemporary worship is not alone in the neglect of lament. Many of the lament psalms “are not even printed in The Lutheran Book of Worship, and they rarely appear in the Sunday lectionaries of the Episcopalians or Roman Catholics.”17 Similarly, the Baptist Hymnal’s selection of psalm readings evidences an almost strategic avoidance of lament.18 In modern Evangelical worship texts, such as Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Worship19 and Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters,20 lament is never mentioned even though these works are lauded as “comprehensive” and “thoroughly biblical.”21 Sadly, this neglect of lament isolates trauma survivors 14. This neglect is severe in both its nature and its consequences. 15. Paul A. Baglyos, “Lament in the Liturgy of the Rural Church: An Appeal for Recovery,” Currents in Theology and Mission 36, no. 4 (2009): 253. Bagylos notes “[a] large and noteworthy exception to this generalization . . . represented by the historic Black churches, which developed a vibrant and sophisticated culture of lament expressed in many forms” (253). 16. “SongSelect by CCLI,” s.v. “themes,” accessed May 7, 2014, 17. Marva J. Dawn, Reaching Out without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1995), 176. 18. William J. Reynolds, ed., Baptist Hymnal (Nashville, TN: Convention Press, 1975), 541–542. The responsive reading from Psalm 139 is especially telling, starting with the first verse, “O Lord, thou hast searched me . . .” and ending with the last, “lead me in the way everlasting,” but completely omitting what comes between, “If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me you bloodthirsty men!” (Ps 139:19–20). 19. Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009). 20. Bob Kauflin, Worship Matters (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008). 21. This is an unfortunate omission in texts that are otherwise incredibly helpful. 53