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ABOUT THE BOOK

The creator of the groundbreaking film The Psalms, featuring Bono and Eugene Peterson, shows how the Psalms enable us to find a more transparent, resilient, and fearless life of faith. Featuring a foreword by Eugene Peterson and an afterword by Bono.

In 2016, David Taylor released a film of Eugene Peterson and U2's Bono discussing how the Psalms had shaped their work, helping them make sense of life, art, metaphor, violence, suffering, and mortality. With more than one million views on YouTube, the film is a sensation and has helped people encounter God as he is presented in the Psalms: a God of justice, grace, goodness, healing, power and refuge. Open and Unafraid goes even further, showing us how the Psalms become a guide to living faithfully.

The Psalms have been central to God's people for millennia, across all walks of life and cultural contexts. In reading them, we discover that we are never alone in our joys, sorrows, angers, doubts, praises, or thanksgivings. In them, we learn about prayer and poetry, honesty and community, justice and enemies, life and death, nations and creation. Open and Unafraid shows us how to read the Psalms in a fresh, life-giving way, and so access the bottomless resources for life that they provide.

Open-and-Unafraid

THE PSALMS

David Taylor is the creator of the groundbreaking film THE PSALMS, featuring Bono and Eugene Peterson. Watch the full video below.

LIMITED TIME OFFER

Order a copy of W. David O. Taylor’s new book, Open and Unafraid, before April 20th to receive access to a never before seen short film with Eugene Peterson.

Order from your preferred retailer, then fill out the form below to access the full video:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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W. David O. Taylor is Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of Glimpses of the New Creation: Worship and the Formative Power of the Arts (Eerdmans, 2019) and editor of For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts(Baker: 2010). He has written for The Washington Post, Image Journal, Christ & Pop Culture, and Christianity Today, among others. An Anglican priest, he has lectured widely on the arts, Thailand to South Africa. He lives in Austin with his wife Phaedra, a visual artist and gardener, and his daughter Blythe and son Sebastian.

ENDORSEMENTS

“Guided by the inimitable Eugene Peterson, David Taylor has created a winsome, accessible entry into the Book of Psalms. This is a welcome addition to our literature on the Psalms.”

– Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

“We all deal with praise and discouragement, good and bad, peace and conflict in daily life in Christ. This book helps address those things from a fresh perspective. I am pleased to see another good book on the Psalms from a recognized Christian scholar.”

– John Michael Talbot, musician and general minister of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity

“Like the Psalms themselves, Open and Unafraid is rich, both theologically and aesthetically. In these fraught and fearsome days, we need the Psalms more than ever. And we need more faithful artists and thinkers like David Taylor to mine the infinite gifts the Psalms offer across the ages.”

— Karen Swallow Prior, author, On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books

“This book is marinated in God's psalms, so its testimony is honest and direct, personal, friendly and heart-warming, both magisterial and humble. The learning underneath the writing is worn lightly, and the conversational tone is engaging, opening up the encyclopedic richness of the biblical psalms (also for governments to hear).”

— Calvin Seerveld, Professor Emeritus in Philosophical Aesthetics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto

“David Taylor’s ambition is that our lives become psalms; that by reading and allowing ourselves to be shaped by the psalms in their powerful emotions, vivid imagery and enthralling mystery, we should become what we read. I am confident that those who read Taylor’s book will share that ambition and themselves become the songs of God.”

– Sam Wells, Vicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields

“Passing on the torch handed him by Eugene Peterson, David Taylor's Open and Unafraid is a gift to the next generation of pastors and leaders as a companion to journey into the Psalms. Honest, perceptive, pastoral, and emotively precise, David's writing takes us into the depth of mystery and charge that the Psalms provide for us to come to know our Creator God.”

— Makoto Fujimura, author of Theology of Making (Yale Press)

“David Taylor’s lovely exploration of the Psalms comes to life because he gives serious weight to them as poetry, song and theology. The grand themes of the Psalter come to life under his careful gaze.”

– Dr. Maggi Dawn, Professor of Theology, Principal of St. Mary’s College, and Assistant Director of the Centre for Poetry and Poetics, Durham University

“David Taylor’s Open and Unafraid not only walks the reader through key themes of the Psalms, but its practical focus keeps you there, so that you can know God and oneself better. The study is truly a guide into life as it ought to be lived and experienced.”

– Darrell L. Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary

“There are lots of books about the Psalms, so why should you bother with this one? David—I mean this David—talks about his sadness, anger, honesty, and joy, and helps you see how the other David, the David of the Psalms, talks about sadness, anger, honesty, and joy, and about how God relates to us and we relate to him as sad, angry, honest, and joyful people.”

John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary 

“Going through Open and Unafraid provided further clarity and enlightenment to guide my own steps as I continue my life-journey along the pathways the Lord has created for me. I therefore strongly recommend this book to every of my fellow travelers on this life-journey!”

– Reuben Ezemadu, Continental Coordinator, Movement for African National Initiatives

"While many books could orient us to the Psalms’ external excellencies, this one does more, helping us to see how the Psalms come into their own as they are used by the Holy Spirit to transform human lives, heal human souls, and enravish us with a deep awareness of the wonder and glory of God.”

— John D. Witvliet, Director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Professor of Music and Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

“Taylor’s obvious heart for the Psalms, in tandem with his substantial knowledge of them, make him an ideal guide. With a brilliant combination of head and heart, he leads us to study these 150 songs with a fresh intensity—and then to sing them with a new resonance. I have always loved the Psalms—for their defiant devotion, their deep joy, and their brutal yet beautiful honesty. And after reading this fantastic book about them, I love them even more.”

– Matt Redman, worship leader and song writer

“According to Ellen Davis, the psalms are ‘the single best guide to the spiritual life.’ Taylor shows us why. He heals and restores our emotions by baptizing us in the book that shaped the humanity of Christ and, as Taylor documents in a remarkable chapter, the church in its history.”

– Bruce Waltke, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Regent College

“This honest book is unafraid to tell the truth about human life before God as we see it exhibited in the Psalms. It will be a guide for life but even more—it will give you life. It is a hopeful reminder that we have never been alone.”

– Luke A. Powery, Dean of Duke University Chapel, Associate Professor (Divinity School) Duke University

“What encourages me about this book is the way a clear map is drawn to a path to intimacy with the psalmist’s God. This book encourages us to pray from what we really experience and who we really are.”

Luci Shaw, author, Thumbprint in the Clay, Eye of the Beholder

“The Psalms unlock and express the secrets of our own hearts: our deepest fears, longings and hopes. David Taylor takes us straight to that hidden heart: the hidden heart of Scripture, the hidden heart of the reader, and opens it out fearlessly and beautifully.”

– Malcolm Guite, chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge, and author of Sounding the Seasons: Poetry for the Christian Year

“You can hear the tender, gentle and encouraging words from the author as you read this book with a devotional yet challenging message. If you appreciate the books by Eugene Peterson, you will not be disappointed by this book as it bears the same sentiment from the heart of a caring pastor and the mind of a penetrating theologian.”

Patrick Fung, General Director, OMF International

“I have long admired the artists (poets like Eugene Peterson and musicians like Bono) who have helped me on this journey of opening my whole self to God and others. Now that admiration extends to David Taylor, an artist and theologian, who nurtures knowledge of our unabridged personality and thereby disciples us to God by way of the Psalms.”

– Todd Hunter, Anglican Bishop

“Like the Psalms themselves, this book invites us to speak honestly to God about what really matters, in our own lives and in the world, whether or not our words seem fit for church. His probing questions and practical suggestions guide readers in tracing out patterns of holy speech that have the potential for healing our hearts and our communities.”

– Ellen F. Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School

“What a wonderful contribution! Dr. Taylor shares his insights as well as his life journey as he offers this rich, informative resource. This work will inspire those who are wondering how the psalms apply to real life, it will encourage small and large groups to engage the psalms with innovative exercises, and it will help to form us.”

– Alexis D. Abernethy, Provost for Faculty Inclusion and Equity, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Reading David Taylor is like spending time with an old friend. His writing is both wise and gentle, saturated with love for the biblical prayers that have sustained the life of the church. Like the psalms themselves, Open and Unafraid is a book to be savored, pondered, and lived with for years to come.”

– Melanie C. Ross, Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies, Yale Divinity School & Yale Institute of Sacred Music

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Additional resources for teaching and learning about the Psalms are coming soon!

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