Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Get Angry!

I'm reading this great book by Shane Claiborne called, Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical. Today he quoted Kaj Munk, a man killed by the Gestapo in 1944. Before he died, he said Christians need some "holy rage":

"The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets, and when the lie rages across the face of the earth ... a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world."

I agree with him. People who follow Christ need to get angry. And we need to learn how to handle anger, because we aren't going to get far if people get angry and leave the Church.

But I can't figure out exactly why we aren't getting angry. But I know what makes me mad, which is why I plan to always be involved with people in the church somehow, being angry, making people angry, and quenching the thirst of my rage by blessing others with the blessings I receive from God: abundant life in this life [*].

There's a lot going on to get angry about. These things are not petty doctrines and maybe not doctrines at all. They aren't whether or not you believe what I believe. They aren't music. They aren't fashion or "Sunday dress". They aren't what time you meet or whether or not you have a greeting time between Sunday school and church.

No, there are things not just more important than these things, but things that are important period:

"To rage against the ravaging of God's earth, and the destruction of God's world. To rage when little children must die of hunger, when the tables of the rich are sagging with food. To rage at the senseless killing of so many, and against the madness of militaries. to rage at the lie that calls the threat of death and the strategy of destruction peace. To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God. And remember the signs of the Christian Church have been the Lion, the Lamb, the Dove, and the Fish ... but never the chameleon."

But still, everything you just read is abstract. Sometimes we need to put a face on the evil before we can get mad. We need to not only see our own tables full, but we need to see and learn to love the poor and the rich, the oppressed and the oppressor.

It is hard to get out of cushy lives and travel to some place that could be dangerous for us or our children. Unfortunately, we always get angry too late. Sometimes it is too late because the safety we loved has been taken away. But even if it isn't our safety taken away, it is the safety or the life of someone else that has gone.

It is too late for some. That is, we can't help everyone if we get angry right now. But if we get angry now, it won't be too late for others.

I think I might like you when you're angry.

[*] Normally I would also say, "and the next," but I'm beginning to deconstruct this life and the next life in mind. Perhaps you'll read about it in the future. For now, you can add "and the next," because you and I mean similar enough things by it. Also don't start thinking I want to be silly and make people angry about silly things in tacky ways. I'm not talking about anger for the sake of anger. Read on, I think you'll catch my drift if you haven't already.

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