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Liturgical Press

In the House of the Lord

Inhabiting the Psalms of Lament

Michael Jinkins

In the House of the Lord
In the House of the Lord

ISBN: 9780814624944, 2494

Details: 160 pgs, 6 x 9 x 3/8
Publication Date: 07/01/1998
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The world of the psalmist is ever alert to the Lord's reign. Even the unspeakable, the sorrow of oppression, the terror at the unknown, the anguish of the unjustly wronged—all these voices of lament are transformed into voices of praise. In In the House of the Lord, Michael Jinkins poses the question "What would it mean for us to inhabit the world of the psalmist?" and in so doing draws us into a world that has long awaited our arrival.

Focusing primarily on the psalms of lament, Jinkins shows what it would mean for us to learn to inhabit the world of the psalms: to enter a world where we recognize the reign of the Lord, to practice the habitation of God as a living discipline, and to discern the sacred quality of all life. He examines why the psalms are neglected in the hymns and liturgies of many churches and offers an introduction to the scope of the psalms. By providing a pastoral and liturgical reflection on the psalms, Jinkins shows in practical terms how individuals and communities can "inhabit" the psalms to make them a genuine framework for their faith life.

The psalms invite us to enter into that world which shaped the theology and self-understanding of the people of Israel for centuries. In the House of the Lord offers a previously unimagined source for congregational leadership, pastoral care and counseling, spiritual renewal, and worship.

Chapters are "Inhabiting the World of the Psalms," "The Church as a Community of Lament," "Locating Ourselves in the Psalms of Lament," and "The Psalms of Lament in the Life of the Church." Includes the perspectives of Thomas Merton, Augustine of Hippo, Walter Brueggemann, Annie Dillard, and Abraham Herschel. The texts of the psalms are included.

Michael Jinkins, DMin, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and Director of Supervised Practice of Ministry at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, Texas.


When one invites you to 'inhabit' a space or a text you want to make sure that your host or guide is competent to make it a good stay. Michael Jinkins is. What strikes one about this book is the way he brings a breadth of conversation partners to his reading of the Psalms. He, in the short span of pages, puts the text in dialogue with Benedictine tradition of praying the Psalms and Augustine's reading on the one hand and modern theology such as Eberhard Jungel and philosophy such as Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes on the other.
Stephen Breck Reid

Jinkins makes accessible and available the Psalms of lament and complaint for mature and serious faith. In this exposition it is clear why neither scholastic certitude nor psychological self-indulgence can make any difference in the power or quality of serious faith. The tone and temper of this book are on target for the rethinking we must now do about the most elemental claims of faith. Jinkins gives warrant for the extremeties of fidelity.
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary