I don’t trust my anger. I don’t trust it to help me be wise or to act with love or even, really, to be just. I think it’s why Mennonite pacifism appeals to me so: Violence is the most natural response to anger, and eliminating it from your toolbox forces you to consider other ways of channeling it.
You know that scene in The Avengers? Let’s say I understand it better than I prefer to admit:
Here’s the thing: I think my distrust of my anger might also be a luxury. There’s lots to be righteously angry about. A president who can’t quite condemn racism, for example.
And let’s face it, Jesus — well, he never killed or injured anyone. It’s impossible for me to imagine doing so in his name.
But… he could get pissed once in awhile, couldn’t he?
(What I love about that scene: The 80s action-movie horns.)
I don’t have a grand conclusion I’m drifting towards here: I am constantly enraged these days, depressed when the rage wears off, and I don’t really know the best way to make it something productive.
So I find myself lingering on these verses. I hope you’ll forgive the sexism of the King James Version here, Rebecca, because except for that, this is my favorite version of this passage:
He hath shown thee, O man, what is good:
and what doth the Lord require of thee
but to do justly
and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly.
I’ve got a long way to go.
With respect, Joel