A Call to LAMENT!

08 May

One of the courses I taught this semester is entitled “Theological Methods and Issues.”  This was a weekend course, meaning that it met one weekend a month for four months.  We discussed all kinds of theological topics and the students produced two major research papers.  One was on a cultural issue (such as gun control in North America); the other on a global issue (such as theological factors in global poverty).

Some of the papers were outstanding and I’ve encouraged the students to seek publication.  I will be sharing some of those papers on this blog.

Please take the time to read these papers.  You will be challenged and encouraged in your walk with Christ!

The first paper I’m posting is on the biblical topic of LAMENT.  What is the place of mourning, expressing our sense of loss, pleading with the Lord for His intervention, in our culture?  Please feel free to post your comments which I will pass on to the student researchers.



Posted by on May 8, 2013 in publishing


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4 responses to “A Call to LAMENT!

  1. Eddy Zhang

    May 8, 2013 at 8:09 am


  2. Paul

    May 9, 2013 at 9:16 am

    That was almost too long for me to read, but I’m glad I took the time. Lament and sadness aren’t seen in the church today for a lot of reasons, and I really think the author took the time to look into those in detail. There is a lot that can be taken away from this study, and I hope whoever wrote it does go through with publishing it, particularly now that he or she can focus on perfecting the paper and research without worrying about what the final grade will be.

    I had a lot of different thoughts while reading through the paper. Here’s the only one I was able to grab hold of:

    If we spend so much time avoiding lament, when there are clearly times in the Bible where people lament and cry out in sadness to God (one book is even titled Lamentations!), then what do we lose by cutting out the ability to lament in a communal setting? This is explored in the paper, but one point was glazed over in a few lines that I felt needed more attention.

    A great deal was said about how a refusal to lament limits how deep our relationship with God can go. I would say that the same holds true for our relationship with others in the church. When we cannot express sadness and lament in the church, we limit how connected we can be with the church. Have you ever had someone sit with you through a difficult time? For me, in my hard time, the person didn’t have to “do” anything. They simply were there, checking up on me, and helping me bear my hardships. I feel closer to that person now than most others.

    But as Christians, we have an addiction to “fixing” things, and if it can’t be fixed, then we leave that issue and focus on things that can be fixed. So, if a problem is one that can be addressed with action, then by all means, go to the church! But if you’re just feeling sad? Go feel sad in the back of the church so you don’t disrupt the praise and worship portion of the service.

    Christians don’t like feeling sad. It reminds us that the world isn’t perfect. It reminds us that the world is broken and painful. We like church, in large part, because it gives us warm fuzzies inside. We don’t go for the pain, we go to cover up the pain. And that is extremely superficial. Church was meant to be so much more than an analgesic.

    How much stronger and relevant would the church be today if it was a safe place to just be “not ok” when events in life take a hard turn? By not including the ability to lament in church, the church itself is missing an opportunity for a powerful ministry in people’s lives. People need a safe place to fall apart. The church should be a better option than “drinking with the buddies” when falling apart needs to happen.

  3. bigbook4africa

    May 25, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Can you please give the name of the student who wrote the paper “The Suffering Voice of Lament: A Path of Worship”. I would like to acknowledge him in a paper I am writing. Thank you.

    • Dr. Larry Dixon

      May 26, 2019 at 8:08 am

      Of course. Her name is April Brien. Thanks for reading my blog. And may the Lord richly bless you — even in times of lament! Dr. D.


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