Speaking up for the Psalms
Now that he has finally published his 1,600-page opus on Paul, Bishop Tom Wright is turning his attention to the Psalms. He has just produced a new book Finding God in the Psalms. It would be interesting to know just how big a proportion of SPCK’s total sales he is responsible for! He describes the new book as a ‘personal plea’ to put the Psalms back at the centre of Christian worship. Too many churches he complains, reduce the Psalms to a few verses recited as a ‘filler’ between other parts of the liturgy. People don’t realise what they’re singing, he complains, and describes his book as attempt to change things. Wright has a big following in the emerging church movement so it will be interesting to see if his comments on the kind of worship songs popular in Hillsong, Soul Survivor and Holy Trinity, Brompton, have any impact. “The enormously popular ‘worship songs’, some of which use phrases from the Psalms here and there but most of which do not, have largely displaced, for thousands of regular and enthusiastic worshippers the steady rhythm and deep soul-searching of the Psalms themselves,” he complains. For good measure he adds that “to neglect the church’s original hymnbook is, to put it bluntly, crazy”.