Psalms of Orientation (June 2023)

“What if these psalms are a form of social control?” That was not the question I expected when reading a theological commentary on the Psalms, and I was shocked but also hooked. 

As I plowed ahead, another more disturbing question occurred to me: “What if you’ve been reading the Psalms wrong all your life? And, in like fashion, the Bible wrong all your life?” 

It would not be an overstatement to say that Walter Brueggemann’s book on the Psalms fundamentally and irrevocably changed how I read the Bible. 

As we read Brueggemann and the Psalms together this summer, I hope it will be a journey that deepens, enriches, and maybe even changes how we read the Bible. 

A foundational insight that will serve as a kind of roadmap for our entire journey is his observation that the Psalms follow an order: 

  • Psalms of Orientation: Songs of Guaranteed Creation
  • Psalms of Disorientation: Songs of Disarray
  • Psalms of New Orientation: Songs of Surprising New Life

With this outline and roadmap in view, we are ready to begin our journey! Throughout June, we will read four Psalms of Orientation, reflecting on how their message might speak to us today. 

  • Week 1: Psalm 1 
  • Week 2: Psalm 8 
  • Week 3: Psalm 37 
  • Week 4: Psalm 131 

Join us for a month, a season, or a year or more!

Seek Faith, Learn Justice, Together in Community

Peter Choi

Peter is Executive Director of the Center for Faith and Justice and also serves on the Core Doctoral Faculty of the Graduate Theological Union. The author of George Whitefield: Evangelist for God and Empire (Eerdmans, 2018), his next book project is provisionally titled Subverting Faith: Early Evangelicals and the Making of Race (under contract with Oxford University Press).
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