Missionary Attrition and the Psalms of Lament

The author (name withheld) has just completed a BA(hons) degree in Applied Theology in Intercultural Contexts at Redcliffe and is continuing at the college on the MA in Bible and Mission programme.


The following is a summary of my undergraduate dissertation, which sought to understand the missional implications of the Psalms of Lament, exploring their significance in relation to the phenomenon of missionary attrition.
Lament can be seen clearly in the ‘secular’ world through songs, poems, literature and theatre but there is little evidence they are of any significance within the Church and more specifically within mission organisations in the 21st Century. Laments are found throughout Scripture and other Ancient Near Eastern writings, highlighting their importance as a means of communicating with God. The book of Psalms is full of laments and have much to offer mission organisations and the Church as a way of expressing our deepest emotions to God. Bullock (2001, p138) notes, ‘while the boldness and naked honesty of the psalmist may shock us, this attitude is nevertheless instructive for our own spiritual lives. We sometimes hold back too much from God’.

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