Votre voyage commence ici


Here we are again, so to speak. As I have done with the previous three Psalm lections, I again tie the theme of worship with some other theme of the passage. However, in the 21st century , the city has experienced significant gentrification , in which affluent whites have moved into formerly non-white areas. The assignment of this text to Ash Wednesday, while dependent on a long tradition, is problematic.

If you want something really green…


Every preacher needs at least two sermons on Psalm Everybody knows Psalm In an era of increasing biblical illiteracy, this is an encouraging sign. The first lesson makes it clear that God will neither require children to pay for the sins of their parents nor allow them to rest satisfied in their parents' goodness; rather, God will judge each person according to his or her own deeds: The psalms immediately preceding Psalm 25 form a collection that is arranged in a chiastic pattern as follows: The psalms immediately preceding Psalm 25 form a collection that is arranged in a chiastic pattern as follows:.

The Good Samaritan text for this Sunday is the equivalent of a fastball right down the middle, and most preachers will want to take a swing at it! Psalm 25 is the reading for the first Sunday in Lent, the season in which Christians prepare themselves for the passion of Jesus. Psalm 25 is one of those Psalms which seems to lend itself less toward commentary and more toward verbalization. I teach at a college that emphasizes the integration of faith and learning. We strive for students to realize that their knowledge and their beliefs should not -- and ultimately cannot -- be kept in separate compartments of their lives.

As much as any psalm in the Psalter, Psalm 27 expresses trust in the lord and claims absolute dependence on God. Pastors regularly point to the psalms when people feel angry with God or despair of God's goodness. From one perspective, it may seem that the poet who composed Psalm 29 was an ancient version of what we might today call a storm-chaser.

While the pen remains mightier than the sword, neither bears quite the same dynamic power as the spoken word. Psalm 29 is classified as a Community Hymn, but is often considered an Enthronement psalm because of its striking similarities with Psalms Psalm 29 thunders forth a bold proclamation: The 29 th Psalm is notorious for being an originally Canaanite psalm, adapted by the Israelites.

Though it is impossible to know what tune accompanied Psalm 29 in its original recitations, the rhythms of its many repeated phrases convey a sense of musicality on their own. Psalm 29 is a call to worship, not only by the assembled congregation in the Jerusalem Temple, but also by the angels in God's heavenly court. Psalm 30 frames the struggles of the life of faith within a glorious edifice: Because I am a Psalms scholar, I am always on the lookout for where and when the Psalms show up, whether it be in worship or in the public arena.

For centuries, Christians have found the book of Psalms to be a powerful resource for all dimensions of life -- the highs, the lows, and all the places in between.

One of the defining features of the prayer for help is the return to trust that defines its complaint. If your congregation plans to highlight the Sunday of the Passion instead of Palm Sunday , spending some time with this Psalm will benefit your preaching.

The Psalms enrich preaching during Holy Week and Easter, even if few preachers base an entire sermon on the Psalms. We enter Holy Week hearing "Hosannas" from the crowd and move from triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the cross of humiliation.

Psalm 32 is one of the six psalms the church traditionally identified for the rite of penance and to help model prayers of confession the others are Psalms 6; 38; 51; ; ; Three of the readings for this Sunday, including Psalm 32, speak of sin and forgiveness. If the Sundays in Lent has named themes as in Advent, this fourth Sunday would be a festival to celebrate forgiveness.

Long before the insights from contemporary psychology concerning repression, biofeedback loops, and psychosomatic disorders, the ancient psalmist knew very clearly that unacknowledged and unresolved guilt could have serious physical consequences.

In Christian tradition, Psalm 32 has long been classified as one of the seven "penitential psalms," which are often read during the liturgical season of Lent. The Hebrew Psalter is a marvelous resource for a living response to the God who has created us and redeems us in Jesus Christ. Psalm 34 belongs to the so-called wisdom psalms in the Psalter, or maybe it is better to say that it contains several motifs which are connected to the wisdom literature in the Old Testament, since the genre of the psalm is disputed in the scholarly literature.

Last Sunday's Psalm lection With the concluding verses of Psalm 34, the author has returned to the subject matter with which he began, namely the suffering from which God delivered him verse 4. As is often the case with lectionary readings from the Psalms, the preacher must decide whether she or he wants to preach only the specific lection or whether the sermon should include the entire psalm from which that lection is drawn.

Psalm 37 addresses an enduring concern, the seemingly untroubled and prosperous lives of wrongdoers v 1. Written as an acrostic poem, approximately every other line in Psalm 37 begins with a successive letter of the twenty-two letter Hebrew alphabet. The lectionary selection from Psalm 40 includes ten verses that express thanksgiving verses and one verse of petition for help verse Most of us can read Psalm 40 and admire its words, the depth of thought and faith conveyed in its phrases.

Psalm 40, classified as an Individual Lament, consists of two seemingly distinct parts, verses and verses , suggesting to many scholars that two originally separate psalms were joined at some point to form a single psalm.

Most interpreters today treat Psalms 42 and 43 as one psalm because a number of Hebrew manuscripts present the psalms together in one text and because the psalms share vocabulary and themes.

Psalm 43, in its canonical placement, is actually the final third of a longer poem which makes up all of Psalm The good news of Psalm 46 is essentially the same as that of last week's psalm see Psalm This Reformation Sunday is a time to ask whether the church, and by this I mean the whole Christian Church on earth, needs to have a big rummage sale.

This is the final week in the liturgical calendar. Christians around the world will proclaim and celebrate the reign of Christ before beginning the journey of the Christian year anew. As always, preaching for a festival of the church brings competing goods: Do we preach the text or preach the day?

The chosen portion of Psalm 50 is rich with the light imagery that is common to all of the lectionary selections for Transfiguration Sunday. Psalm 51 is classified as an individual lament in which a single voice cries out to God for deliverance from a life-threatening situation. Psalm 51 is, by any measure, one of the best-known and most often read penitential texts in the canon, and, as such, presents both opportunities and challenges for the interpreter.

On Ash Wednesday, people in churches, homes, and streets all over the world will receive ashes, beginning a forty-day period the Christian tradition calls Lent. Our brothers and sisters in the faith before us have provided two important keys for unlocking this psalm.

Perhaps you've heard the old saw, "Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh" or something like that. This Psalm is for the asylum seeker, those who seek refuge from adversaries, those who yearn for security and stability. Psalm 63 offers minimal words for a minimal place where experience is anything but minimal.

When one surveys Psalm 65 as a whole, what is most striking is the breadth of the psalm's subject matter. Although the central section of this psalm is comprised of hymnic praise of God, the psalm as a whole suggests that the prayer exemplifies what Walter Brueggemann categorized as psalms of reorientation.

Chosen for a Sunday toward the end of the liturgical season of Ordinary Time that confirms the constancy of grace manifested mysteriously in the middle of doldrums, Psalm 66 blows in fresh air with its jubilant call for joy -- a common thread that all scripture lessons for this Sunday share. As the twice-repeated refrain verses 3, 5 indicates, Psalm 67 is a song meant for public worship.

A few weeks ago I was browsing through our local Barnes and Noble bookstore and ran across a thin volume with the title: The sixth Sunday of Easter may feel a bit like the twelfth day of Christmas -- officially still in the zone but, practically speaking, most people have moved on.

As we had occasion to observe in relation to Psalm , last week's psalm, Israel's songs of praise regularly invite an expansive congregation to praise God. While Psalm 68 is fraught with interpretive difficulties -- several one-of-a-kind words, obscure allusions, unknown geographical locations, and a less-than-clear structure -- its general character and movement are clear enough. In Psalm 69, a servant of God In a letter dated May 15, , Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote to his parents from prison: Psalm 70 is a prayer from an individual, almost a kind of sigh from this person of faith who seeks divine protection, perhaps manifested in the sanctuary.

Of David, for the memorial offering. Despite the limited number of verses included from this psalm in the lectionary, Psalm 71 nevertheless provides us with a unique opportunity to learn from the faith and life experiences of an elder psalmist. In America, the relationship between political leadership and faith matters is tenuous, superficial, and rather manipulative. We come in these Advent Sundays to hear and experience the kingship of the Messiah, who has come, is present, and will come in power and glory as the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven.

In Christ, the kingdom of God is thrown open to all! When one approaches an abstract painting by any one of the 20th century abstract painters -- Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and so on -- they are met by art work that prompts cognitive dislocation and reflection.

With this psalm selection and the other lectionary texts for the first Sunday in Advent, we leave Year A behind and step into the cycle of readings for Year B. When a psalm is divided up, like the one for this Sunday verses , , the integrity of the psalm is lost. In the conclusion to his excellent book, Seeing the Psalms: A Theology of Metaphor , William Brown explains that "the power of metaphor.

Psalm 80 is a communal lament in which the worshipping community calls upon God to rescue them from trouble. Psalm 80's thrice-repeated refrain vv. In the spring of the year, some farmers across America can be observed surveying their fields and considering how they will tackle the task of preparing the ground, planting the seeds, and nurturing the crop yet to be born.

This portion of Psalm 80 responds to the first lesson from Isaiah 5 by employing the same metaphor of God's people as a ruined, forsaken vine and vineyard. Psalm 84 is classified as a pilgrimage psalm, sung as praise by those who traveled to Jerusalem to worship. The psalms chosen for lectionary use are often abridged for a variety of reasons -- sometimes valid, sometimes not so much, many of us would say. Sometimes we get confused early in the season of Advent, thinking we have a holy obligation to keep all joy and glory on hold until late in December.

The biblical texts for the second week of Advent are Isaiah The psalm assigned for last week Advent 1 included a thrice-repeated refrain that included the petition, "Restore us, O God" Reflecting on Psalm Psalm 85 is a communal prayer for help and verses express confidence that the help prayed for will indeed come. This psalm lection contains a magnificent constellation of biblical terms, portraying them with a striking intimacy that catches modern readers off guard: Psalm 86 is classified by most scholars as a psalm of individual lament, in which an individual expresses the pain of his present condition and seeks relief from God.

No small amount of ink has been spilled trying to sort out the structure of this prayer song of the individual. At the heart of Psalm 89 is the shattering of the world, to which the psalm gives articulation and to whose unraveling the entire Psalter is devoted.

The assigned verses are a portion of a much larger psalm that concludes book three of the psalter. In the s I attended a denominational conference at which one of the preachers roundly criticized the use of Psalm 90 for funeral services. In ancient Israel, crisis brought a response of gathering at the holy place under the leadership of priests and other worship leaders.

This week's psalm selection is the opening section of one of the great lyrics of the Bible -- Psalm Psalm 90 has often been categorized as a wisdom psalm, which, like the book of Ecclesiastes see 3: If, on occasion, the Revised Common Lectionary may be said to do the interpreter no favors in its delineation of the boundaries of a text, the reading before us from Psalm 90 surely presents such an occasion.

This week's psalm selection is the closing section of one of the great lyrics of the Bible--Psalm Although it is not entirely unique in the Psalter, the most striking thing about Psalm 91 is that it ends with a divine speech in verses The psalm text for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost is the "promise" section of the famous Eagles' Wing poem, Psalm The two portions of Psalm 92 chosen by the lectionary each offer interesting possibilities for interpretation and connection to the life of the church, and interpreters may find it useful to focus on one or the other.

This brief, straightforward psalm is teed up for your Christ the King-themed sermon. Psalm 93 begins by proclaiming that "the Lord is king" Hebrew: Psalm 95 is a bit unusual in that it is a hymn of praise that includes a prophetic warning, as do Psalms 50 and According to 1 Chronicles 16, when David brought the ark to Jerusalem, he also appointed Asaph and other Levites to sing praises to God.

Psalm 96 is for royalty. It should start with timpani and end with a trumpet. Is it too idealistic to think that Christmas Eve is one of those times when so many of us if not all are ready and willing to do what this psalm exhorts us to do?

Psalm 96 is one of five psalms in Book Four of the Psalter that are classified as Enthronement Psalms, psalms that celebrate the reign of God as king over all creation. On Christmas Day, when families in pajamas unwrap gifts under their trees, monks in monasteries all around the world rise to chant Psalm Psalm 97 is one of only seven psalms in the book of Psalms that is classified as an enthronement psalm Psalms 47, 93, Recent scholarly work on the book of Psalms has focused considerable attention on the collection to which Psalm 97 belongs -- Psalms 93, , the enthronement or God-reigns psalms.

Psalm 98 is the fifth psalm in a group of six psalms in Book Four of the Psalter known as the Enthronement Psalms Psalms 93, With trumpets make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! In my preaching classes at Trinity Lutheran Seminary we talk often about "ignore-at-your-peril" preaching situations.

Psalm is classified as an Individual Hymn of Thanksgiving, a psalm in which a single voice praises God for goodness to or on behalf of that individual, usually for deliverance from some trying situation. Psalm , a hymn of praise to God as creator, is remarkably comprehensive in its survey of earth and space, flora and fauna, topography and geology.

Psalm presents a glorious picture of God as creator and a sweeping view of the world God made. It is a blessing to the preacher when the movement of a passage of Scripture offers a ready guide to interpretation and proclamation.

This reading from Psalm is a case in point. Psalm , classified as a community hymn of praise, was most likely a liturgy of thanks offered by worshipers at a festival at the temple in Jerusalem. If I were tasked with introducing God as our visiting lecturer, I would use this psalm. Psalm is a classic psalm of praise extolling the virtues of God presented as the praise of a single individual. Psalm , a Wisdom Psalm, provides instruction in right living and right faith in the tradition of the other wisdom writings of the Old Testament.

Psalm is the third psalm in a group of psalms in Book Five known as the hallelujah psalms Psalms When I think of interpreting the psalms I am immediately thrust into a world that is both foreign and familiar.

At first glance, a psalm of thanksgiving may seem like an ill-suited choice for Maundy Thursday. A single voice speaks here, drawing me into the psalmist's experience and, in effect, leading me to compare my own with his. Psalm is fourth in a group of psalms known as the "Egyptian Hallel" psalms Psalms , the psalms recited at the Passover meal on the eighth day of Passover.

Like Psalm , Psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving that is part of the Egyptian Hallel see essay on Psalm The 17 th Sunday after Pentecost is the only instance of Psalm The 16 th Sunday after Pentecost is the only instance of Psalm Psalm is a song of thanksgiving of an individual, a poem written after a difficult time of life has been endured, survived, or overcome. In the lectionary portion of Psalm , we do not get to the question of verse 12, "What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?

It is easy to see why Psalm is the psalm selection for Easter for all three lectionary years. Psalm has been and is an extraordinarily important psalm in the history of Judaism and Christianity. Given that the occasion of this Sunday is so prominent as it should be , we will inevitably end up interpreting this Psalm through the lens of Easter resurrection.

Psalm , the first eight verses of which is the appointed psalm for this Sunday, is the big dog of the psalter. Since this pericope represents the first eight verses of Psalm , it might help to say a word or two about the entire psalm.

Psalm follows Psalms , known as the Egyptian Hallel, which are psalms recited during the Jewish festival of Passover. Psalm is a massive alphabetic acrostic, in which its verses are divided into stanzas of eight verses, each of which begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Psalm , the longest of the Psalter with verses, is a great meditation on the torah , the law of God. Here we are again, so to speak. As was the case about a month and a half ago, the psalm selection for this week is one stanza of Psalm At verses, Psalm is the longest psalm in the Book of Psalms, and yet it is perhaps the most noticeably, or even most rigorously, ordered.

What else can be said? For this Psalmist, nothing really. But there are a variety of ways to say it. The appointed psalm for this week is a small section of Psalm , which is the longest psalm in the Psalter. It would be hard to imagine a more poignant, desperately needed, and timely appeal than Psalm Psalm is an alphabetic acrostic that presents us, the readers, with a totalizing view of its subject matter: Psalm is a perfect psalm for the beginning of a new church year on this First Sunday of Advent.

Fifteen psalms in the middle of Book Five of the Psalter, Psalms , all share a common superscription, "Songs of Ascents". One of the more helpful approaches to the Psalms is considering these poems as pilgrimage songs of faith. Psalm is among the relatively small number of psalms for which historical context is both fairly certain and highly useful for interpretation.

Psalm has a rich lectionary tradition, used for worship during Lent, after Pentecost, and here on the third Sunday of Advent. If you have studied Greek and Hebrew, you know that they differ in more than just the alphabet and which direction you read. In this psalm, the notion of reversal occupies a central place, inviting the reader to recognize that restoration by God does more than simply restore what was lost.

The kind of divine restoration envisioned in this psalm means much more than compensation. The theme of restoration that appeared in Psalms 80 and 85 during the first two weeks of Advent continues with Psalm Cyrus, a Persian emperor, ruled Babylonia from B. His military victories put him in control of the largest empire of the world at that time. The psalm selected for the Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost, for those traditions and congregations that do not observe Reformation Sunday, is Psalm The theme of restoration that began with Psalm 80 in Advent 1, and Psalm 85 in Advent 2, is continued this week in Psalm Psalm , best known by its Latin incipit De Profundis , "Out of the Depths," has inspired church musicians for centuries, usually in the context of a Requiem Mass.

Once while leading a study tour of the Middle East, my group visited the chapel of the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. A psalm that oozes with hopefulness even in the face of perceived impossibilities. This psalm of thanksgiving -- one of those songs that was composed after its author had come through a rather tight scrape -- offers praise to the Lord in response to an experience of deliverance.

The homiletical possibilities for Psalm are numerous and varied, ranging from satisfying to complex to potentially problematic. In the conventional understanding, the Psalm in the weekly lectionary is chosen to meditate on the First Reading and, like that reading, to anticipate the Gospel. Remembering someone, remembering important events in life, and just the act of remembering has a way of bringing the past into the present.

As a response to the first lesson, Psalm was chosen to show how Jonah knew that God was "merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing" Jonah's version of verse 8. Thomas Merton once stated "Praise is cheap," and it seems as though these words remain true today. The scriptures often describe people and things in absolute terms, with a rhetorical flair I advise my students to avoid.

Psalm commands all its readers, indeed, all flesh This entry consists of two parts: Psalm is the last of a group of eight psalms at the end of Book Five of the Psalter that are ascribed, in their superscriptions, to David Psalms Psalm opens a collection of five hallelujah psalms at the end of the book of Psalms Psalm lacks any evidence of context enabling the reader to hear it in her own time and place.

The first lesson addresses a fearful people with a prophetic promise that God will bring justice, salvation, and healing. As I have done with the previous three Psalm lections, I again tie the theme of worship with some other theme of the passage. Although the Psalm reading only offers the last six verses of this verse psalm, a word about the psalm overall is in order. Psalm is the first of the five great Hallel praise Psalms that conclude the book of Psalms.

It stands out in the text, because it is rare in the Bible, as it is in Palestine. One sure way to doom yourself as a preacher is to make a habit of beginning your sermons by quoting the commentaries. Isaac Watts got it right: In its songs of praise, Israel regularly invites an extraordinarily expansive congregation to praise God Psalm is part of the Psalter's concluding section that offers and calls for praise to the Lord.

With trumpet sound, with lute and harp, with tambourine and dance! On this second Sunday of Easter, the sound of trumpets still echoes in our sanctuaries and is joined by the Hallelujah Chorus of Psalm The pericope introduces the enigmatic Woman Wisdom, a figure who is -- at the least -- a literary personification of a wisdom that permeates the creation.

Wisdom is introduced to the reader as a female character in Proverbs 1: This is the first time that Wisdom, personified as a woman, speaks in the book of Proverbs see 8: Wisdom and Poetry ]. On the wall of the bedroom that my younger brother and I shared was a painting of a young boy standing at the wheel of a ship, piloting it through stormy weather. Wisdom has built her house Proverbs 9 continues what might be called the "Acts of Wisdom" begun in Proverbs chapter 8.

In many ways, the message in this text of Proverbs is quite simple: The book of Proverbs includes a collection of folk wisdom sayings of various lengths so that in some chapters the individual verses are not actually related to each other. The lectionary-driven preacher is rarely invited to deliver a sermon based on a text from Proverbs. This brief reading appears in a collection of instructions that seems in large part directed to courtiers.

The Lectionary parsing of Proverbs 31 is unfortunate; without the opening verses the context is lost. This familiar passage tends to draw a strong response, either positively or negatively, but rarely neutral. Beyond this text, the treasure that is Ecclesiastes appears for only one day in the Revised Common Lectionary. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. It is the beginning of August.

You are two-and-a-half months into Pentecost with three-and-a-half months to go. Perhaps you are need of a little adrenaline rush. Meetings are called to order. Calls for action are issued to correct problems of social justice. The ring of a cell phone is a call to conversation.

With its stunning poetry, inspiring call for justice, and complex portrayal of God, Isaiah 1 is one of the most memorable chapters of biblical prophetic literature. The first verse of the book of Isaiah invites the reader to hear the prophecy in the context of the eighth century BCE. When I come to church, I do not usually imagine God covering the divine eyes out of disgust for my worship, but this is the exact image this passage places before its readers.

A single stop in the book of Isaiah should not presume a complete picture of the narrative texture of the book. Our Isaiah text is full of unfamiliar names and places, so your audience will need some help figuring out who is who. Christians share a common theological conviction with the authors of Isaiah 2: Our most precious promises are attached to tangible realities like land, mountains, temples … bread, water, and wine. To preach on this text stands us in good stead: Isaiah preached on it, too!

Or so it seems. The text occurs twice in the Bible-with minor variations-here in Isaiah and again in Micah 4: It was one of the features of the genius of the Hebrew prophets to take an idea or a genre that was known to their hearers and put a different spin on it. For the second Sunday in a row, the lectionary features a poetic text from Isaiah with a strong emphasis on social justice.

Last week's Old Testament lesson from Isaiah 1 highlighted the importance of justice and righteousness. Our experience with Isaiah 5: Holy Trinity Sunday is the First Sunday after Pentecost, ushering in the season when the church hears about Jesus' ministry and then about the church's own ministry. For most of the country, this Fifth Sunday of Epiphany falls about the time when winter is at its worst.

It has long puzzled interpreters that the apparent call of Isaiah is not recounted until chapter 6. This is a very challenging chapter to interpret, much less to preach, in part because it requires that one be familiar with a number of related texts Isaiah 7: The difficulty of today's text is perhaps also its genius: God is with us-and the consequences are altogether ambiguous.

Properly understood, is that not the ambiguity of Advent itself? Or, God is coming: These first few verses of Isaiah 9 contrast sharply the previous states of subjection with God's current, mighty acts of deliverance. Epiphany is a season that celebrates God's manifestation in the world through the person of Jesus Christ. When the divine becomes manifest in the world, then strange and marvelous things happen.

The propensity of too many preachers is to take a hop, skip, and jump over the challenges that underlie this text and go directly to the salvific reality of Jesus the Christ. For historical backgrounds that may underlie this complex passage, please see the entries by Terence Fretheim Christmas and Karoline Lewis Christmas The appointed Old Testament lesson for Christmas Eve is always these poetic verses from Isaiah and likely, to be honest, will not be the basis of a sermon when Luke 2 is the Gospel reading.

Isaiah 11 begins with the claim that new life will spring forth from an injured stump: It's a "dog eat dog" world, we say: All true in its way. But is it all that's true? These words were spoken by the prophet Isaiah to the people of Judah and Jerusalem more than twenty seven hundred years ago, when the Assyrian Empire was the dominant power, and Judah lived in the shadow of its might. Isaiah 25 celebrates divine faithfulness in soaring, lofty words, words too lofty for everyday reality.

Feasts, festivals, banquets, and wedding suppers abound in the Bible, and with good reason: All Saints Sunday is a day to remember those who have died. It is difficult to do so without remembering that we are going to die too.

Food is not just the fuel that we use to propel our bodies through the challenges and joys of daily life. This is one of those texts for which many of the hearers will know not only the words but the tune, because it stands behind the well-known alto recitative in George Frideric Handel's Messiah:.

The oracle begins with a command to speak, to proclaim words that remedy weakness and conquer fear Isaiah In many of our churches, we tend to align salvation with God's grace, themes that we then set over against divine judgment. Verse 1, with its command to comfort the people of God, sets the tone not just for this passage but for the whole of Isaiah With these opening words of Second Isaiah chapters , the prophet offers a balm for the festering wounds of exile. Every pastor has observed a person coming to faith for the first time, whether a sudden transformation or a gradual process, such as confirmation.

With its themes of comfort for the people and the transience of human powers by contrast with the enduring nature of God, Isaiah Given the choice between a source of relief that is distant and slow acting but guaranteed and one that is nearby but ineffective, most persons may tend to choose the relief close at hand. This passage in Isaiah shows God speaking into the pain of exile to send a servant who will bring justice, and not to Israel only but to all nations.

For too long has Isaiah Israel's penalty paid twofold, her exile at an end, the prophet known as Second Isaiah whispers tenderly "Comfort, O comfort" If we think of the prophets as thundering proclaimers of collective sin, which they often were, this passage shows the capacity of one prophet to offer reassurance.

The words of the prophet of Isa to the people living in exile in Babylon are some of the most deeply comforting and profoundly transformative words of Scripture. Whatever has gone before is now swept away.

Trauma theorists tell us that one of the essential steps for trauma victims reconstituting their shattered lives is to repair their narrative identity, i. Second Isaiah casts a broad theological vision in Isa This passage stands in the center of the first half of Second Isaiah Isaiah , which was composed in the middle of the sixth century B.

One week after the Baptism of Our Lord, the lectionary texts from the Old Testament sit us squarely in the promise and pain of servanthood.

Isaiah uses female images for God more frequently than any other Old Testament body of literature. One of the challenges of preaching the lectionary in conjunction with the liturgical calendar is that of remaining true to the tradition of the church season while allowing the biblical texts to speak anew to our communities of faith. When we preachers engage the Suffering Servant passages we enter territory that is both evocative and mysterious.

Although the lectionary excludes the last two verses of this passage verses , they are clearly related see their repetitions of verses 1 and 6. Large transitions disorient us. Moving, changing jobs, personal transitions Isaiah 51 emphatically seeks to break open an unimaginable future. Expectations are reversed; life is to be changed. The larger context of these verses see This "servant song" with When reading this text, Christians have typically wondered about the identity of the servant, and more specifically whether it makes reference to Jesus.

One of the most famous poems of Second Isaiah, Isaiah In the history of Christian interpretation of the Old Testament, few texts are more revered than Isaiah On Good Friday, the most somber day of the year, why should we preach on the Old Testament text instead of the Gospel lesson?

The text we read today is central to what has come to be known as the Suffering Servant tradition. The central movement of the Suffering Servant poem in Isaiah Revivalism heavily influenced the Christian tradition in which I was raised and in which I served for much of my career. The prologue to Isaiah in the 14th century Wycliffe Bible asserts that the prophet is ….

Like many other selections from the lectionary, Isaiah Nothing in life is free. Particularly if one has grown accustomed to the harsh policies of the empire that is set to exploit the peasants by means of heavy taxation. Chapter 55 serves as the conclusion to the section of Isaiah frequently dubbed "Deutero-Isaiah" chapters Any preacher whose congregation will be celebrating the Vigil of Easter will encounter this text when the assembly listens to Old Testament OT readings.

When Cardinal Bergoglio, a Jesuit priest from South America, was elected Pope last year, many Roman Catholics were shocked that something so unexpected had occurred.

These last few verses of Isaiah 55 offer an image of new creation with the natural world serving as a metaphor for the life-giving movement and effectiveness of the word of the Lord. The job description of the prophet contains among other less than coveted tasks the ability to speak a life-giving word of hope when all the events seem to point to the contrary.

The prophet Isaiah preached in Judah during the eighth century; his words are in the first thirty-nine chapters of the book that bears his name. Although the furniture is beautiful, they clearly have no system in place to get things right.

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Roll Me Up a Big One: Some Green Inspiration for Your Monday. A wife, a mother, a graphic designer and a connosieur of beautiful things. Green Your Decor was borne of my frustration with finding beautiful things that were also eco-friendly, and inspiration to reduce my own carbon footprint and help others do the same. So the simple answer: This allows for dumping the characters in any genre of story the author feels like writing.

City of Devils is a classic noir riff: He's also the last human detective because almost everyone else in the world is some kind of monster. A Clockwork Orange is most frequently described as political satire, dystopian science-fiction, black comedy, and crime drama, although its crossover appeal to the horror fan community is unmistakable. Complete World Knowledge combines the almanac with the absurdist comedy.

The Dark Tower isn't your typical King material, and it definitely isn't a typical Western story. Hell, in the context of storytelling, it arguably isn't really a typical anything.

It's fairly well described by Torg's description of his own "greatest comic book of all time" in Sluggy Freelance —"a cowboy-western-psychological-horror-action-romance-thriller"—except that that's missing its perhaps main genre of fantasy. Peter David once described the series as one-quarter western, one-quarter science fiction, one-quarter horror, and one-quarter sword-and-sorcery fantasy.

The Destroyer series of books were published as Men's Adventure books. However, there are strong elements of Satire and Black Comedy. The main characters practice Supernatural Martial Arts and the opponents ranged from The Mafia , terrorists, and communist spies typical of the genre to androids and vampires. Dhalgren is written very much like psychological Sci-Fi one of the characters lampshades this at one point , but it ends up being very hard to classify.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was described by author Douglas Adams as a "detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic". Mind you, of these labels, only four are really accurate—detective, ghost, whodunnit and time travel—and two of those are synonyms. Discworld by Terry Pratchett is a fantasy series, mixed with parody, mixed with humor, mixed with deep examinations into the human psyche, mixed with occasional detective story elements, mixed with war drama, mixed with Police Procedural tropes.

Might be just shorter to say it is simply awesome. Dream Park and its first two sequels feature a fantasy-adventure Show Within a Show storyline embedded in a tale of industrial espionage that's straight out of cyberpunk, all taking place in a high-tech future.

The fourth book tosses steampunk motifs into the Game component, and swaps espionage for Die Hard -style action movie. The Dresden Files can very easily be put on the "Urban Fantasy" shelf of the bookstore, but certain elements of the story and the lead character have enough "cowboy" characteristics that it had a strong element of fantasy western even though it takes place in Chicago.

The author himself says that, at its heart, it's like a comic book, and the general World of Snark writing style also gives it a strong comedic element as well. Earth's Children is a portrayal of life during the Ice Age, but this includes elements of Romance Novel , Historical Fiction , historical fantasy, erotica, travelogue and Shown Their Work mixed with a lot of Artistic License.

We have a detective-intrigue story mixed with an action adventure story and a heroic fantasy story in a Victorian Steampunk setting that spends most of its dialogue on Snark to Snark Romance. A blend of science fiction, horror, detective, crime, cyber-punk, conspiracy thriller and young adult. Fifty Feet of Trouble is a classic noir riff: James Joyce's Finnegans Wake is a major example, for the simple reason that it's damn near impossible to read.

Although Wikipedia describes it as " Avant-Garde Comic Fiction" the actual genre is simply listed as "Sui generis", meaning "One of a kind". A children's story that starts with Slice of Life in a Fantasy world, but moves to a Downplayed Dystopian setting. Then the main characters rebel and create a Robinsonade-esque mini-civilization from scratch. Finally, various Chekhov's Guns fire and the story turns Epic Fantasy.

Get Blank is almost genre Mad Lib. Comic noir, with conspiracies, monsters, aliens, and just a smidge of urban fantasy. Gravity's Rainbow includes elements of historical fiction, spy fiction, sci-fi, war, comedy, pornography, conspiracy theories, and a general atmosphere of Mind Screw. Anyone who calls this a romance is greatly oversimplifying matters. It has romance, drama, comedy, suspense, a bit of action, a bit of adventure, it's a rags to riches story and a coming of age story, a possible satire of this and that or even Self-Parody , and it has strong elements of mystery and horror.

Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem is a sci-fi police procedural that eschews most of the stereotypical elements of sci-fi, like aliens and computers. In fact, it probably is far closer to a pastiche of thirties noir with the silly elements talking animals, super-intelligent alcoholic infants, free drugs for everyone, etc justified after the fact.

It could be telling that the author is also the editor for the Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler anthologies. Harry Potter is this, especially in the beginning, as a hybrid of fantastic fiction, boarding school stories, coming-of-age stories, Detective Fiction with lots of clues and red herrings in it, and all this set in a pretty unique setting. Hexwood starts out with separate plot strands seemingly located in: The plot strands rapidly collide, no one is who you or even they think they are, and some seriously brilliant Mind Warp ensues as the plot barrels forward and things turn out simultaneously simpler and more complex than anyone guessed.

Diana Wynne Jones is famous for bending and colliding genres in her novels, but this book in particular stands out. I had one woman come up to me in a bookstore and say, "You know, everyone told me it was a horror book, but when I finished it, I realized that it was a love story.

In some ways, genre is a marketing tool. A lot of the subplots and character arcs occupy different genres in fantasy, historical, and adventure fiction.

Bran and company are on The Quest to find the Three Eyed Raven in their search for knowledge and answers. Jaime Lannister and Jorah Mormont are knights in sour armor on redemption quests, while the Hound and Arya and Brienne and Pod mirror the classic Knight Errant and plucky squire arc. Daenerys Targaryen hatching dragons and conquering cities with dragons and blood magic and Jon Snow defending an ancient order against supernatural enemies are very much classic fantasy epics.

Aside from being comedic, nothing else could really be discerned about the show. It was, in fact, so indefinable that an all new word had to be invented in order to define it: Terry Jones expressed disappointment when he learned about the existence of such a term, claiming the initial aim of Monty Python was to create something new and impossible to categorize i.

Lost , while also being a Trope Codifier for the Noughties Drama Series , started off with what can best be described as a clean slate since the plot was so heavily shrouded in mystery. This allowed the writers to construct a story that would include tropes from The general rule, at least in the early seasons, was that the island stories were Ontological Mystery or supernatural stories, while the flashbacks were romantic or character driven, either or being able to be replaced with a comedy plot for Breather Episodes.

Even during season 3, it was already starting to change. The focus was taken off the seemingly-supernatural mysteries and placed on the more earthly stuggle against the apparently very-human Others. It's just that the bigger genre switching takes place in season 4 and 5 with time travel and visions of the future.

Though 5 also has some strange genre of it's own going on, what with it focusing on the Dharma Initiative. Joss Whedon seems to enjoy this trope as evidenced by his past creations: Space Western is a fairly common subgenre of science fiction, though. Though, usually not so western.

The Buffyverse also has advanced technology, even if it is only a occasional problem, like that demon robot, or the demon cyborg or that robot that the devil made.

He did this on purpose with Dollhouse. Ostensibly a sci-fi show, but dipping into pretty much every genre out there including romantic comedy. Bones is a forensics procedural romantic dramedy. NCIS is similar, but with little romance and more comedy.

It's also very unusual for a procedural because of how heavily character-focussed it is even as it doesn't take itself terribly seriously and the actual personal arcs the characters get are limited. It's primarily about how their personalities affect their job and vice versa rather than how the cases are solved.

The plots making sense can arguably be considered secondary. Doctor Who can quite literally be whatever genre it wants to be when it wakes up in the morning.

In series 4 alone it went through comedic romp, family drama, military drama, historical fiction, Genteel Interbellum Setting murder mystery, steampunk, disaster film and horror, all mixed with sci-fi and fantasy fairy-tale elements. And sometimes not mixed with sci-fi, back in the era of pure historical stories at least, if you exclude the obvious Time Travel element.

And Series 5 throws in a Sitcom episode. Even when they were promoting the first half of Series 7, they basically described the whole thing as five individual movies. While Star Trek is undoubtably science fiction it could be said to be the Science Fiction , it has, like Doctor Who , also been able to mix in many, many other genres on a episode-by-episode basis. Several episodes especially in The Original Series are only science fiction because of the occasional tricorder or phaser.

And of course, Gene Roddenberry pitched it as Horatio Hornblower in space. This influence was picked up more heavily by Nicholas Meyer for the second movie which set the tone for the rest of the series. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

Pushing Daisies classified itself as a 'forensic fairy tale,' with elements of fantasy, procedural mystery, romantic comedy, musical, and, well, what genre WASN'T it? Babylon 5 is spy story combined with Space Opera combined with Lovecraftian tropes combined High Fantasy combined with political drama. Prison Break is obviously about escaping prison but is also about a intricated conspiration and after they escape the second season is about the future of those who escaped.

Castle , like Bones above, is a Police Procedural romantic dramedy. They also like staging episodes around particular subcultures and bringing in various tropes of particular other genres as well; there's been a vampire episode, an alien abduction episode, a few political-spy thrillers, and so forth. Beckett's mother's arc is also a conspiracy thriller in most of the later episodes. Community is definitely a sitcom. With every other genre mixed in with it. Really, was there any genre it didn't try out at least once?

Breaking Bad is simultaneously a crime saga, a family drama, a Black Comedy , a psychological thriller and a modern-day Western , all featuring a realistic Science Hero well, Science Anti -Hero in the lead, in one of the few examples of the trope that you'll find outside of a science-fiction work.

Warehouse 13 is an X-Files-esque procedural which combines fantasy, science fiction, and occasional horror with Steampunk elements, all mixed together with a heaping dose of comedy Fringe similarly is an X-Files-esque procedural which mixes Government Conspiracy stories with a wide variety of science fiction plots, including Mad Science , alternate universes, aliens well, actually hyper-evolved humans from the future but they're treated essentially like aliens , shape-shifting robots, and time travel, often with heavy dollops of action.

About one episode a season also ended up being something completely different: The BBC Historical Farm Series is part live-action historical crafts recreation documentary, part edutainment reality show starring and featuring actual experts on a specific historical period and the lifestyle of each era. It presents the concepts of living history and experimental archaeology in a very accessible, enjoyable and informative way, within a virtually period-enclosed visual experience, and without any sort of pandering to the audience or dumbing down of the overall presentation.

No mean feat for what could have been an otherwise bog-standard documentary series. Jessica Jones is part character-focused drama and part neo-noir detective story, as well as a psychological thriller with horror elements, black comedy, and a deconstruction of superheroes.

Legends of Tomorrow is a time travel action ensemble show with a heavy dose of comedy due to our protagonists being Fish out of Water. Twin Peaks debuted as a fairly mundane murder mystery, but quickly drew in elements of horror, teen angst, quirky comedy, and Magic Realism. It was unlike anything else on television The Black Lodge, so mind-blowing in the original series, was positively mundane compared to some of the completely surreal dreamscapes of the revival.

Throw in doppelgangers, time travel, and one of the most frustratingly Ambiguous Endings ever seen in a TV show and you have something even the most devoted fans can find downright impossible to classify. The entire idea of Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly overlaps with this trope.

Cites influence from many different genres, and has a singer who dresses like a vampire and sings like a pub crooner. Both individual songs and their discography as a whole. Starting off in the Punk Rock and Garage Rock movement but their discography gradually covered pop, hard rock, new wave disco, rap reggae, calypso, motown and electronica.

Most critics either call them a punk band with pop tendencies or a pop band with punk tendencies, but the band would admit that they don't belong to any classification. They not only brought a lot of variety to pop music, but they also challenged punk's ethos of being anti-disco and helped to create new wave in the process. The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Especially evident in the video for "Dani California", where they took the time to point out several.

The Residents are, um, avant-garde classical punk psychedelic synth-pop Bungle, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Estradasphere, Iwrestledabearonce and uneXpect take Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly so far that they can only be vaguely classified as experimental metal. Gorillaz also blends rock, hiphop, reggae, pop and other influences together.

Talking Heads are often considered one of the defining bands of the Post-Punk and New Wave Music movements, but what exactly their sound is is difficult to describe in a single phrase, encompassing elements of punk, funk, art rock, country, glam rock, afrobeat, ambient music, pop, electronic music, and advant-garde.

And the thing is, you couldn't pin down any one song to a single precise genre; they all so carefully blended several disparate genres that they sounded like a unique entity. They Might Be Giants: The only way to place them within a genre is to a slap a big fat "Alternative" sticker on every song they write. The best example is the album "Mink Car", which basically has a song from every single genre of music they could think of. The best example within a single song is Fingertips from the album Apollo 18 which basically consists of a few bars each of no fewer than 21 other songs, across a variety of styles, speeds and genres.

Slint uses creepy, winding riffs, often in odd time signatures , with talking and screaming over them. Have a listen for yourself. Happens all the time in electronic music. Pendulum , in particular, is one notable example. Two parts band members and one part DJ, they formed together to produce mostly aggressive drum-and-bass music.

Over time, their sound became more commercial and developed into a rock-electronic fusion group with live performances. Japan has spawned not one, not two, but a ton of outright weird musical acts: The entire Visual Kei movement. There's no easier way to describe it. The usual VK formula is this: Take a Five-Man Band , make them look like Gothic Anime characters, put them in a recording studio, give them instruments, have them listening to Slayer , Pantera , Kiss and Cannibal Corpse all day, everyday, for one whole year, and let them make an album.

Epicness is to be expected. Post- Visual Kei metallers Dir en grey are particularly notable for this. They used to be an alternative metal band, nothing too out of the ordinary for a Japanese band. Except for the fact that they were a lot noisier than most bands during their time. Slowly they began to experiment with Metalcore , Nu Metal , Death Metal , folk music, psychedelic, Shoegazing , doom metal, funeral dirge music, symphonic, mathcore and outright weirdness not that they weren't already a bit odd since the very start , resulting in each album getting progressively weirder and crazier.

The band officially recognizes itself as "uncategorized", even stating in their official website that "it is unnecessary to even classify them in any way". Creates a lot of Mind Screw for critics. Other bands have independently achieved the same level of weirdness such as Sigh , see below , but very few have achieved considerable success they are often labeled as one of the most successful cult bands in the modern metal scene.

UROBOROS isn't considered by fans as their masterpiece for nothing, as the album features considerably more weirdness than any release before it. Their latest album, Dum Spiro Spero continues the trend, and has gotten compared to Mr. Japanese metal band Sigh have become famous for this as well. They began as fairly straightforward Black Metal and got progressively weirder, peaking with their album Imaginary Sonicscapes , which was equal parts Psychedelic Rock , Jazz, Orchestra, Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal.

All of their albums since have been just as weird, thanks to their liberal use of Genre Roulette. High and Mighty Color was also this. Though often classified as alternative metal, they also played straightforward J-pop, hard rock, post-hardcore, punk rock, metalcore, nu metal, and a whole salad of other genres. The Japanese rock scene has yet to give birth to a band that can be considered a successor.

Equal parts J-pop, metalcore, nu metal, electronic and hard rock. Still, they aren't even close to sounding like a proper successor. From Idolator onwards, they've introduced elements of Nu Metal and trance music. Later albums added Industrial Metal , eurobeat, J-pop and catchy, cute, dance-worthy weirdness.

The formula works very well. Maximum the Hormone is also notable for this. A self-proclaimed Nu Metal band that cites Korn as an influence. Not your typical Nu Metal band, though, since they're also a pop band, rock band, punk band, funk band They put on and off genres as if they were clothes. X Japan is well-known for blending Hair Metal and pop ballads with straight-up Thrash Metal , something that totally caught metal purists off-guard in The '80s , a time when metal bands focused on achieving a " pure " sound.

Anything that Yoshiki Hayashi has ever written would instantly fall under this trope. Japanese kawaii metal band LADYBABY defies easy classification, as it's a band that wholeheartedly embraces kawaii culture and blurs grindcore and its screaming vocals and lightning riffs, J-pop and its upbeat, heavily electronic beats and hooks, lyrics that are safe for fairly young children, and an aesthetic that has the band dressing like Sailor Moon knock-offs. The three fronts for the band wear supremely cute lolli-inspired outfits.

Two of them, Rie Kaneko and Rei Kuromiya, are 19 and 16 year old Japanese females as of , while the third, Rick Magarey, is a bearded Australian cross-dressing professional wrestler in his early thirties - and he's the one with pig tails. Kaneko and Kuromiya deliver their vocals with the perky, high, very feminine sound you expect from the poppiest of J-pop while Magarey delivers his vocals with a scream you might expect from grindcore bands like Napalm Death or Brutal Truth.

It's a strange mix best experienced for oneself, so here's a link to one of their songs on their official YouTube channel. Progressive metal band Mastodon sound pretty much like every single band you've listened to, whether it be hard rock, prog, heavy metal, southern rock, experimental, psychedelic, southern rock, alternative, maybe even a little country here and there, and loads of other genres too plentiful to list here, all somehow put together. Opening with a strange jazzy section, then metal, then a country lick out of nowhere, and then different metal.

In the first minute and a half of a four minute long song. Unclassifiable death metal band that incorporates over one hundred different genres of music in one album Goth-rock legends Bauhaus certainly were the Ur-Example of the genre, but there's no single way to quite describe their sound Mindless Self Indulgence have made a career on their odd blend of synth-pop, hip-hop, industrial, and hardcore punk.

They've decided to describe themselves as "industrial jungle pussy punk". Frank Zappa was doing this as early as His albums blend rock, doo-wop, jazz, modern classical, humor and satire, studio experimentation, and any number of other elements. His childhood buddy and sometimes-bandmate Captain Beefheart was similar but totally defied all musical convention.

To the unaccustomed ear, something like "Ella Guru" from Trout Mask Replica sounds like ear rape, but with time one begins to realize the genius in such works as that. Charles Mingus could be argued to be a genre buster. His music combined elements of beebop with dixieland, blues, free improvisation, and later on classical music.

Behemoth's second full-length, Grom is utterly unclassifiable. Their prior Black Metal sound is still there, but now there's elements of their later Death Metal sound There's a reason why it remains one of their most polarizing albums among fans. Destrophy blends several different styles each song, and it's still pretty difficult to categorize even if you break down every element they blend in.

If you don't know who they are, a simple Google search will lead you to it and subsequently turn your bowels and brain into mush. Yoko Kanno too, but she's more easily placed in the general realm of alt-rock. Yuki Kajiura is post-pop neoclassical Buddhist New Age trance-turbofolk world music electronica.

Or, to put it simply, Yuki Kajiura is freaking amazing. Beck has done rap, jazz, pop, rock, hip-hop, blues, country, tropicalia, techno, experimental, indie, alternative, folk, anti-folk, dance, funk Beck has really done a lot. Metallica started out as one of the inventors of Thrash Metal. For a while, even they weren't sure what they were. Avant-garde, noise rock, jazz fusion, funk, jazz, thrash metal, bluegrass, instrumental rock, hard rock, progressive metal, heavy metal, experimental rock, funk metal, ambient, dark ambient, alternative metal, electronica, country rock, folk rock, experimental Yes, he plays all of that.

Oh yeah, he also incorporates robot dancing, nun-chakus and chicken into his stage performances. It's safer to say that Buckethead is simply Buckethead. You think you've explored all genres of metal and suddenly, A Capella Epic Power Metal outta freaking nowhere. Fans just started calling them "tiberian ass bastard folk". What to call Tangerine Dream? Further proof of how flawed these labels are to begin with.

Enter Shikari mixes post-hardcore with various electronic genres and in certain songs, rap. Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine were originally a two-piece whose songs usually consisted of witty punk rock-style vocals and cranked-up rock'n'roll guitars, played over backing tracks that sounded like Stock Aitken Waterman done on the cheap.

They eventually got a full band line-up and became a bit more conventional, then broke up because nobody was enjoying it any more. Devin Townsend 's solo output generally falls under progressive metal, but albums like Terria go off at so many tangents that no one label could do them justice.

People have tried to classify them as such things as alternative metal, progressive metal, hard rock, but they don't seem to fit into just one genre. Are they progressive, alternate rock with metal elements, pop with metal elements, or downright metal? Not to mention all of the unique sounds in their songs Many of their songs are not even identifiable as "music. Most pop music historians classify them as "new wave" or "ska", but then there are other critics who claim that they invented pop-punk.

But they were heavily influenced by traditional African and Indonesian music, jazz, and classical and country to a lesser extent. But some of their songs are so solo-driven "Dead Man's Party," anyone? Frontman Danny Elfman even said, when asked to sum up his band's ethos: You could, if you had to, classify them as Rock, in it's most broad sense. More specifically, depending on the song, you'll find polka, Eastern European folk music, surf rock, gypsy rock, jazz, whatever the hell Maskineri is, and so forth.

They've also been described as a "punk rock Tom Waits", and Tom Waits desribed them as "Norwegian storm-trooping tarantellas with savage rhythms and innovative textures". While their albums might be similar in terms of style, each album contains songs that are pretty different to any of the others on that album, more so on the earlier albums.

Some people call them progressive metal. Some people call them alt-rock. Some call them pop-punk, post-hardcore, alt-metal, hard rock, prog-rock or even emo. In a way, all of them are right Amorphis is a metal band generally , but no one really knows what the hell they are beyond that.

Gangsta Rap, speed rap and Hardcore Hip-Hop fused with barbershop doo-wop harmony. To a lesser extent, Disturbed. We know they're rock, that's for sure, but that's as close as anyone can tell.

Might have to do with the band explicitly saying "We just play what we want and let the execs figure out which rack to put it on. Given their notably evolving sound throughout their various albums and sometimes even within albums they might qualify for Alternative Metal as well. Cognitive definitely feels like this. While unmistakably death metal, they mix it with brutal death, technical death, mathcore, progressive metal, and deathcore in such a way that it's very, very difficult to find a more detailed genre description that fits.

For that matter, there's also their buddies in Hammer Fight, who mix traditional heavy metal with hardcore, thrash metal, death metal, and punk rock in a manner that manages to be unbelievably catchy and fun but also very difficult to classify at all.

Master blender John Zorn , also fond of the Genre Roulette. Most of the time he blends free jazz, modern classical, metal, even grindcore and klezmer, among others.

But you should also add Americana to the mix. And several classical influences, from Bach to Stravinsky and Schoenberg.