In his excellent Arguing with God: A Theological Anthropology of the Psalms (39-40), Bernd Janowski quotes this wisdom from Ottmar Fuchs: “Recognition of disastrous realities that does not go through the lament is lethal and irresponsible. An association with God in which no conflictual dialogues are possible is shallow and far from real life: Abstinence from lament means loss of relationships and of life.”

Then this: “A human being cannot, because of his psychological structures and historical nature, in short because of his conditio humana , praise God spontaneously in a moment of distress; to demand this would be inhumane and would eventually lead to a break in the communication between the human person, who lives through and endures time, and God.” But in the movement of a lament Psalm, the shift from lament to praise, do we have a human (temporal) expression of grief, distress, and indignation.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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