Rev. Fred has written a powerful reflection this week—an invitation, if you will, that gives us permission to get really mad, when it is right for us to be mad. He is right. There are so many things in the world about which we should be mad and yet we spend an awful lot of energy deflecting or ignoring or denying or moving past the crappy stuff in the world just so that we can keep things light and easy or manage the effort it takes to see it all or relieve ourselves of the responsibility to do anything or deal with the feelings of grief we have about not being able to change the big things. It is much easier to turn away than get mad.
Rev. Fred also talked about his own reaction to rage. I too am vividly aware of my own visceral, physical, in my body and spirit shocked response when someone in my midst get really, really mad. Not to mention when I myself get really, really mad. I always end up in tears of release when it is over—even when I think the rage is apropos. I think this is a part of why it is hard for some in our midst to deal with real life expressions of mad-ness like the #BlackLivesMatter Movement or the radical response of feminists to ongoing sexism or the angry calls for justice we hear from the bold ones in every corner of cultural concerns (like for the homeless or the addict or human trafficking or the racism and conditions in which our native American sisters and brothers live). We argue that those loud and angry voices are a detriment to change, that they are immature and imbalanced, that their fury spoils the chance for change, that others cannot hear their message for the rancor or vehemence. Maybe some of that is true—yet me thinks we doth protest too much. Denial has a very powerful influence on our souls. Sometimes, sometimes it is only the maddest of messages that can break through our barriers to change. Sometimes it is only the very loud voice that can offset our insistence on maintaining the status quo. Sometimes only rage can pry open our desperate hold on our priviledged positions.
We’ve been taught to try to keep everything civil, soft and sweet, ‘nice-nice’ if you will—and I agree with Rev. Fred. We Christians have done so to a fault—and to our own peril I think. It is not enough for us to be nice to each other—niceness is wicked overrated. I mean, what do you really get when someone is being nice-nice but a bland ‘how-ya-doin’ that they don’t really want an answer from as they are waling on by to the next thing they really care about? Jesus showed us. Nice isn’t enough. Jesus turned over the tables and threw out the evil when things were not right. Jesus turned the whole thing upside down because things needed to change. If we are going to follow Jesus, if we are going to make the kin-don of heaven happen here on earth, if we are going to be disciples who love God and Neighbor, then we do have to get mad when it is right to get mad. When the least of these are harmed, when the systems of the world are hurting our sisters and brothers, when the powers the rule are evil, when injustice is allowed (and worse the status quo) then we have to get mad as hell to crack open the system to let the light of love shine in.
Rev. Fred is right, it is our call to trounce them—with the truth, with love! It has been said that God loves us waaaay too much to leave us the way that we are. May we be the kind of Christians that love our kin so much that we do not allow them to remain the same.
With Blessing and Prayer,
Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade (firstname.lastname@example.org)