What's More Useful to the Glory of God Than 95% of All We Do?

Amos 9:5-6

I’m guessing you didn’t think poetry was the answer to the question in the title, but it is. Poetic language and the language of prose put together in a sentence is sort of a misnomer, since they basically mean the opposite, but such is my relationship with metric and non-metrical language. Over the years I have tried to study poetry here and there, written some, read some, and every once in a while, appreciated some. I seem to have this back and forth argument with myself on the importance of poetry. In one respect, I find it useless, confusing, hard to understand, and not worth the time to learn. On the other, I do find it speaks to all aspects of life, and could be more important in affecting change than much of what we do in our every day lives. A post on Desiring God called Piper and the Role of Poetry in the Christian Life says it like this:

Poetry is not the answer, but it is a greater part of the answer than 95% of what we do with our time. Woe to me if I think souls are saved by me or them becoming poetic. But few are damned by it. And of the thousand things we fill our days with, this could be more useful to the glory of God than what we do most of the time.

So according to Piper, and some may disagree, poetry is more useful to the glory of God (the very purpose of our existence says 1 Peter 4:11), than of large majority of our other endeavors in life, or put differently how we spend our time. This is actually a pretty bold statement if taken at face value with no context. To understand this statement, it’s important to look at what else we do with our time, and how if at all, those things are more or less useful to the glory of God than poetry. I suspect many would say that statement is absurd, and dismiss it altogether, but God himself doesn’t do that.

Of course a great deal of Scripture is poetry. So that tells me right there that God finds poetry important, regardless of what I think. Some of the greatest poets in history were writers of Scripture. Of course being inspired I would say they had a little help, otherwise how in the world could any individual mind come up with and make Psalm 119 work other than God? If you have never attempted to create a perfectly metered acrostic (forget one the size of Psalm 119), try it, you will quickly see it isn’t all that easy.

To answer the question I posed in the title I think can only be answered by someone who has a great deal of knowledge about poetry, and can define its worth. For many of us, we just don’t have a strong enough understanding to say one way or another. Our time isn’t readily filled with words on a page in metric meter, it’s more filled with screens presenting video and media. This all got started from a quick read through Amos 9.5-6, which is an incredible short piece of inspired poetry.

New Semester Of Hebrew from Alef to Taw

Today is the start of another new semester. I love the start of the fall semester when it rolls back around. Everyone getting back into the groove of a busy fall schedule (down here that means football and basketball are not far away). Hard to believe how full my schedule already is at this point but along with my second Systematic Theology class, today I start Hebrew. There were many times over the last year or so that I had completely given up on ever being able to complete a cognitive language set, but some how it worked out this time, and today is day one. Since I can barely claim to be proficient in my own native English, Hebrew is somewhat intimidating to me right now, but I hope to look back in a year and know it was worth the work, and I managed to learn something along the way.

Step one was to learn the twenty three Hebrew consonants, which gave me a perfect opportunity to practice writing an acrostic poem, Of Hebrew from Alef to Taw. Trying to memorize totally unfamiliar information has never been easy for me, but working the information into a form of study works much better at solidifying the unfamiliar. This was my first attempt at learning the Hebrew letters and my first attempt at writing an acrostic poem. Makes me look forward to a coming semester full of firsts.

Of Hebrew from Alef to Taw

א  Alef is first and foremost to complete and appeals to thus
ב  Bet is on deck but gives no solace
ג  Gimel sounds familiar with no pivot or axis
ד  Dalet as in “day”, said slow, not of quickness
ה  He corresponds to the grass that cows eat
ו  Waw is the way to follow that drumbeat
ז  Zayin reminds of that great city on the hill
ח  Het seems like some mathematical problem to distil
ט  Tet has power and might to be used many ways
י  Yod is the smallest among those twenty-three displays
כ  Kaf comes back around again to explain that of Josiah
ל  Lamed roars across the kingdom much like Hezekiah
מ  Mem says be quiet now, the little one needs some rest
נ   Nun is more than halfway, now don’t be depressed
ם  Samek brings a circle of life that sounds like the fall
ע  Ayin proceeds with silence, just like a cat’s crawl
פ  Pe will furnish a prayer that might demand our response
צ  Tsade looks just like another minus the tail of nuance
ק  Qof incurs the wrath of a king going into combat
ך  Resh provides hope this exercise ends with proper format
ש  Sin runs through our blood and must come to repentance
ש’ Shin appears to be identical just one spot out of vengeance
ת  Taw is first and foremost to complete and appeals to thus; a text as old as He, but a genesis for us