Transforming Toxicity: A Psalm of Lament

If you know me, you know my love-hate relationship with what we Christians call biblical text – The Bible. Words that can comfort, liberate, and empower. Words that can be used to wound, divide, and justify hypocrisy and hatred. One of the books that has inspired me is the Book of Psalms, especially now that I transform the masculine and patriarchal language. Most of the psalms in the biblical canon are psalms of lament. In a class on the psalms, we were asked to write a psalm of lament and I share it with you today. To lament to God is to cry out in the hope that being aware of the sources of our pain and injustice, including our own roles in it, and to express it openly in words can lead to healing, forgiveness, protection for the future, and a closer relationship to our Creator. I pray that my sharing will encourage you to give time and expression to your own laments and your own journeys of healing and hope.

Transforming Toxicity

Most Gracious Spirit,

You are my source of strength, my healer, my comforter, my friend.

I speak to you from the depths of my heart,

a place you know well,

a place where you reside.


I plead for your guidance – let me hear and follow your words

How shall I deal with the anger, the hurt of being aware of things I cannot control

To have been uprooted so long ago and planted in such toxic soil,

a delusional land founded on greed, theft, slavery, and genocide

that calls itself a beacon of freedom and democracy, a land of justice for all,

From childhood, infused with pledges of allegiance to a flag, a government, a nation

that has never been loyal to me or to anyone who is not rich, white, male, and

idolized on Wall Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Capitol Hill.

A place that spreads hatred all around the globe,

that takes your name in vain as it sinks colonial Christianity to new depths of depravity.


Shall I find solace in the institutional church? Most certainly not.

It may bear your name, display symbols and speak words in honor of you

Yet it is the source of so much personal hurt, so much pain,

maybe more than this nation in which I was born

Help me, Loving Spirit, to free myself from the hurt and pain of the past,

from the agony and anger that will continually be awakened,

Remind me, Spirit of Life, that my roots go deeper than any church structure,

deeper than any nation, than any poisonous words or deeds,

Remind me that my roots are in you,

a God of life, of love, of creation,

Convert what is evil within me to what is good,

Focus my thoughts and feelings on what comes from you,

The energy and creativity, the intelligence and inner strength,

the sensitivity and spirituality that can help heal my wounds and

those of so many others,

that can bloom for your glory,

In you and you alone rest my hope.

To you and you alone do I give allegiance, honor and praise.


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