Friday, 29 June 2012

Why Accountants like Psalms

Burton's always loved the Psalms. He tells me there's a lovely, double-entry kind of parallelism to their poetry. When he hears a line like:

"Oh Lord, how many are my foes?
   How have my enemies rose up against me"

he thinks of the first line as the debit, and the second as the credit. So after every couplet, in Burton's world, everything on the ledger is square.

Of course, some psalms have triplet paralellism. Something like:

"By day the Lord pours out his steadfast love
And at night his love is with me.
A prayer to the God of my life"
does his head in. It makes him all edgy. He tells me he wants to make a line up, just to make it all right. The praise ledgers are all unbalanced on his sheet.

It's not easy being an accountant. But then, it's no bed of roses trying to pastor them, either.


  1. So what does Burton make of the way the Psalm#s are numbered, dependent upon whether you are Catholic, Anglican, Jewish or Orthodox.

    Wikipedia comes up with different interpretations, which are not numerically aligned, but uses words such as 'posit' which immediately puts me off.

    I've tried laying out the psalms in three different orders, as 150 is a good round number. But there are apparently either 150, 151 or 155 psalms depending where you come from, this doesn't make for efficient calculation and means rounding off in uneven numbers. Totally unsatisfactory.

    Burton can have some fun with this for ever. I'm just going to forget it and stick with the BCP numbering.

  2. Which rose would that be? If I had one up against me, it would have to be a Pimpinellifoliae.

  3. I think we should sympathize with Burton. How hard could it be to make all the lines balance in pairs? And with only a little more effort, we could agree on how many psalms there are, perhaps splitting up the longer ones or sticking together some of the shorter ones to make the number come out right.

    There's a lot of stuff like that which makes Christians look like we don't know what we're talking about. The poetry isn't consistent, we can't even agree on how many psalms there are, and, as I discovered a while back, some Bibles have entire books stuck in the back which I had never seen before! Not to mention that some people put the books we do mostly agree on in the wrong order, which makes it really hard to find the one you're looking for with the proper panache of someone who is thorougly familiar with the Bible.

    Consistency, that's what we need! Not just for accountants any more.

  4. Cheryl, surely the beauty of Christianity is that 'We don't know what we are talking about' because it's a mystery.

    We are given insights, and we can try to explain through philosophy and theology, but in the end, it all comes down to a great mystery of God, his existence and how he has always been?

    The bible is one attempt to explain that mystery, but after being thoroughly read through, I have some insight into what it's all about, but it's still a mystery.

    And it's that mystery that allows us to say, we don't know what we're talking about, but have faith that it's all true.

    No wonder the humanists, athiests and secularists have a field day because they are talking about us not knowing what we are talking about and we have to agree with them, but challenging them because our faith tells us that they are talking a load of old cobblers.

  5. Oh, yes. Mystery is an important part of faith, and I firmly believe that if I were convinced that there was no mystery and that I understood God, that in itself would be evidence that I'd merely invented a lot of my 'understanding' myself and needed to start the pilgrimage over again!

    But there are times when the simple, logical approach of a Burton has a kind of appeal...


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