An Introduction to this Project:
Before I became a pastor, I was a professional, poetic songwriter.
That is the beginning of the story of this project, but in order to tell it well, I’ll need to give some background information.
I’ve been reading Scripture daily for 35 years. To be honest, I did not like the Psalms all that much during that time. There were some great lines in there that stuck with me. But by and large, not a big deal.
It wasn’t until I became an Anglican and began saying morning prayer out loud that I began to be captivated by the Psalms. They are, after all, poetry and poetry is generally spoken aloud.
Still though, I was regularly frustrated by various versions of the Psalms for I found them to be either clunky, confusing, archaic, or otherwise lacking in beauty.
In 2012, I began recording morning prayer and posting it online. This heightened my frustration, for now there were thousands of people that I was leading daily to recite psalms – psalms that lacked beauty for the modern English-speaking ear.
There are, of course, poetic renderings of the psalms – many of them very good. But these stray far from the way that standard, traditional, English translations render the passages – translations like the King James, New King James, ESV, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NAB. These poetic versions of the psalms can be great for helping us to understand the spirit of the psalm, but they are not imprinting the very words of Holy Scripture on our hearts and minds.
So the project I set before myself – and that is now set before you in this volume – was to create a poetic version of the psalms that did adhere to the very words of Scripture.
Then the next problem arose: I am not a sufficient Hebrew or Greek scholar to create my own translation. The solution to that was simple – I wouldn’t create my own translation. What I would do instead, is to examine the respected English translations and confine myself to the translation decisions made by those committees.
This essentially required an exegesis of every phrase of every verse of the psalms.
So here I am almost 10 years later with the completed project: a traditional, poetic composite of the psalms intended for memorization and group recitation.
As each psalm has been finished, it has been used in my podcast of the Daily Office and in our church and elementary school. Some of these psalms have been tested for the nearly 9 years now.
I truly hope you’ll like it and will find it beneficial in your own prayer life.
For the glory of God,
NOTE TO EVALUATORS:
Thank you so much for taking the time to evaluate this work. This has been a project 10 years in the making and I very much value your honest feedback.
Here are the steps that you can take to really help me out:
1) First, you will have to buy the book on Amazon. This is the fastest and cheapest way to get it to you. The price is set as low as Amazon will allow. I make nothing on these purchases. Here is the link:
The Mountain of Song
2) Start with some of your favorite psalms – so feel free to skip around.
3) Please circle the psalm title/number of every psalm you evaluate so that I will know you have evaluated it.
4) Please read it aloud and slowly as if reading with a congregation. Be sure to pause briefly at the end of each line. Please do not evaluate by simply sight reading.
5) Please give me the following kinds of feedback:
• If you like it, let me know. Let me know if you like the whole psalm or maybe just one line or whatever.
• If you don’t like something, let me know that too. Give me a note as to what you don’t like.
• If something is awkward or difficult to say (ie NOT poetic), then point that out.
• If something is unclear or confusing, please point that out. Sometime it is just the nature of the psalm but not always.
• If you prefer another translation, note that (e.g. “prefer NIV”).
• If there is a typo, please circle it really big so I notice.
Of course, I won’t be able to accommodate everyone’s thoughts but I do truly value them and will take them into consideration.
6) Finally, regardless of how many psalms you have had time to evaluate, please try to mail this book back to me by March 15, 2023.
1017 E. Lori Lane
Harlingen, TX 78550
Please include a note with a clear spelling of your name so that I can include you in the acknowledgments of the final edition
Once again, thank you for taking time to help me with this. It is certainly a blessing.