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"A book you will want to read and read again." -- Eugene Peterson
Afterword by Bono.
How can we find a more transparent, resilient, and fearless life of faith?
The book of Psalms has been central to God's people for millennia, across all walks of life and cultural contexts. In reading it, we discover that we are never alone in our joys, sorrows, angers, doubts, praises, or thanksgivings. In it, we learn about prayer and poetry, honesty and community, justice and enemies, life and death, nations and creation. Open and Unafraid shows us how to read the psalms in a fresh, life-giving way, and so access the bottomless resources for life that they provide.
"David Taylor’s take is 'open and unafraid' alright. He really goes there, exposing himself before God in the most beautiful way. He might have called the book Naked, because if you don’t find your own self feeling a little exposed here, it might be time to take some armor off." -- Bono, from the Afterword
"A book that you will want to read and read again, and yet again, in order to discover the wisdom of the Psalms that shows us how to walk in the life-giving way of Jesus." -- Eugene Peterson, from the Foreword
"A winsome, accessible entry into the Book of Psalms…Connects the poetry of the psalms to real-life wonders and struggles." -- Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Taylor reads these biblical prayers with Dr. Seuss, rappers, and other poets, along with theologians and the daily news....Guides readers in tracing out patterns of holy speech that have the potential for healing our hearts and our communities." -- Ellen F. Davis, Duke Divinity School
"I have always loved the psalms--for their defiant devotion, their deep joy, and their brutal yet beautiful honesty. And after reading this fantastic book about them, I love them even more." -- Matt Redman, worship leader and song writer
"In these fraught and fearsome days, we need the psalms more than ever. And we need more faithful artists and thinkers like David Taylor to mine the infinite gifts the psalms offer across the ages." -- Karen Swallow Prior, author of Fierce Convictions
Taylor (For the Beauty of the Church), assistant professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, uses the biblical book of Psalms as a starting point for contemplating the nature of living a fulfilling life in this enjoyable, spirited work. Taylor's confidence in the biblical collection's ability to "understand the human condition" comes through in his impassioned prose: "the Psalms rehabilitate the intimated imagination so that it can grasp the enormous range of the word of God." Each chapter addresses a different theme (such as sadness, anger, joy, justice, or death) and includes a discussion of psalms specific to each, Taylor's general thoughts about the theme, questions for reflection, exercises, and a brief prayer. As a Christian, Taylor finds it "impossible to read the psalms without seeing Christ in them" (even though the Psalms is part of the Hebrew Bible), so Jesus features strongly in discussion of the psalms' power and relevance. Unfortunately, organization and choice of topics isn't always clear. For example, while chapters such as "Joy" and "Death" discuss the theme within psalms, "History" and "Poetry" veer more into information about the theme. Even so, this enthusiastic guide will be a great starting point for readers wishing to explore the Psalms from a different angle.