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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Lamentations Commentary (extract from opening, 1)


Western cultures are notoriously averse to pain and tragedy. We spend an extraordinary amount of money and effort seeking to insulate ourselves against life’s vicissitudes. All kinds of precautions are taken to ensure the maximal safety of the environments we must inhabit – our homes, our work places, our schools, our social space, our transport, our public places – and, just in case something does go wrong, we are offered just about every type of insurance one could dream of. We do not want sorrow to knock at our doors and, when it does, we do not know what to do with it. Our default mode is to keep it out of sight and pretend that it is not there.
Unlike our Victorian forebears we are no longer shy about sex and we have innumerable ways to speak about sexual intercourse but we are hopelessly lost for words when confronted with grief and death. We don’t know what to do, where to look, what to say. Increasingly we lack the social practices, words and concepts necessary to grasp our pain by the horns and stare it in the face. We have been robbed of a vocabulary of grief and we suffer for it. The book of Lamentations accosts us by the wayside as a stranger who offers us an unasked for, unwanted, and yet priceless gift – the poetry of pain. We would be wise to pay attention.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what an interesting inversion, so good with sex and so hopeless with sorrow, the exact opposite of Victorian times!

if i use this in a sermon, i promise to acknowledge your copyright!!