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The Table Video

Array Array& Lynn Underwood

Don't Forget Lament

Professor of Psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University
Senior Research Scholar, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University
June 9, 2017

Don’t Forget Lament


I talked about this kind of basic need for cognitive reprocessing and again I think it’s specific religious traditions give us certain practices that are helpful in those regards and I think there’s interesting variations among religious traditions too and I want to be quick to recognize that.

So thinking about our own tradition of Christianity, one hugely under appreciated mechanism for helping in this process of finding meaning is lament. So with kind of that combination of both grieving and protesting in God’s presence, to God as somebody who actually has the capacity to change things right?


And you know we have rich resources around lament in the old testament. Probably I’ve read somewhere that the largest bulk of the Psalms, the largest single grouping of the Psalms, are Psalms of lament and other books of course to lamentations and you know parts of Job.

And there’s something formative that happens when we engage in lament. So there is something that is shaped inside of us so that for example, the Psalms have certain specific structures to them where generally the Psalm starts off with just the protest and the grief and that kind of thing and by the end of the Psalm there seems to be a progression of then the Eschatological Hope right, and so I think that there’s this formation that happens, this meaning making that happens, and lamenting that leads, that first fully acknowledges the reality of the suffering.

Fully acknowledges its evil, its devastation, the implications it has for its life. But doesn’t stop there but moves on to our ultimate hope right, where Julian of Norwich’s “All will be well” actually is true, right?


Not, perhaps, right now, but eventually.