Thursday, February 22, 2018

Anger as a Gift

I am not sure what to say about guns and children and killing that has not already been said.  I can say that it’s beyond frustrating—indeed, disheartening—to see the kinds of immoral arguments for the maiming of life that those who stand for clearly believe without questioning. I feel myself challenged in my faith to accept these individuals as brother and sisters—and yet I do, and I desire deeply for their conversation of heart. For us to see the same Gospel with the same eyes, not with the dubious trust in metal and commerce, not with this self-interest, not with murder and malice and maiming, but with the same heart these children exhibit when they see a wrong and know it to be wrong (and speak out against the wrong unabashedly).  I am still, at the age of 45, astounded at the ways to which we can disagree as human beings on things that should be clear-cut, that matter most.

It’s a God-send, I think, that into my hands—right now— came Arun Gandhi’s book The Gift of Anger. My surprise came in finding the same message Christ offers us, too, about the nature of living and dying by the sword, but there’s more even to this. Gandhi’s grandson echoes the message of anger as a sign of something more, and a place to start seeking grace. Grace is in the way which Christ sees the adulterer, the betrayer, the tax collector, the prostitute, the ne’er-do-wells as we design them, seeing beyond them and into God’s mercy. Arun Gandhi writes about anger as a starting point, a place for us to begin a new story which moves away from that anger.  Anger, if we recognize it for what it is, need not remain that way—if we guide it to something which will bring light into the world.

But it starts with recognizing the anger in that way: as a starting point. Not the thing itself. Then we can look past our own narratives, the stories we tell ourselves, and see what is real, what touches our souls and risks our lives, and makes us human. The we can act as one, and our actions can begin to look like what God has called us to do through the ages: to put down the violence of our choices and choose radical accompaniment.