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The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston is senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY.

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Scott Black Johnston: Top 10 Reasons People of Faith Should Read Poetry

December 13, 2014

 

Top 10 Reasons People of Faith Should Read Poetry

  • Reason #10: You already like poetry more than you think! Most of your favorite Bible passages are poetry. All of the Psalms. The Magnificat. The Beatitudes. 1 Corinthians 13.
  • Reason #9: The world and our emotions are complicated. Our impulses for good and for ill are more convoluted than we wish they were. Poetry gets this. It mirrors life's complexity and reflects it back at us in ways that are frequently uncomfortable, but also stark, honest and true!
  • Reason #8: It is good to learn new words. Not to impress friends (although there is that!), but because life is thick and rich, and we need lots of apt, lyrical, evocative words to convey life's ebb and flow to each other.
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  • Reason #7: Because sickness and death really do shadow our every step.
  • Reason #6: Because it is far better to wrestle with (and shout back at) our fears, than it is to repress them.
  • Reason #5: Because we love hymns and they are (quite simply) a compilation of almost 2000 years of our best poetry.
  • Reason #4: Because you are wicked smart and poetry stumps you.
  • Reason #3: Because it ought to be hard (if not impossible) to capture the Almighty with our words.
  • Reason #2: Because dogs, sunflowers, rain glistening on New York streets, fresh cut pears, a picture of your grandmother, the smell of jasmine, and the rough skin of a friend's hand in your hand all create feelings that you want to last and last. Poetry makes them last. Or at least it helps.
  • Reason #1: Because the Word became flesh and dwells among us. (John 1: 14)

 

Taken from Scott's blog, Sharp About Your Prayers


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