Monday, May 14, 2007

Would Jesus vote green? VII

Anger
When we learn about how bad things now are, a third common response is anger. How can people be so stupid, so selfish, so short-sighted, so greedy? Up to a quarter of all the sea creatures caught in global fisheries are discarded - thrown back in to the sea dead or dying - because they are not the fishermen's intended target -fish, whales, dolphins, porpoises, fur seals, albatrosses and turtles. Hearing things like this makes me angry.

Like grief, there is something right about this response. Like grief, we get angry when something we love is under attack. Anger can be a protective response. If parents didn’t get angry when someone was deliberately hurting their children, you’d have to wonder if they really cared. Anger shows we care and want things to be different.

God too is saddened and angered by the abuse and destruction of his creation. This is not a random, capricious rage that unexpectedly explodes, but his deliberate, passionate opposition to all that damages and tears down his creation, all that poisons and contaminates his good world, all that fractures harmony, all that blasphemes his life-giving Spirit.

So it is right and proper to get angry. This is not the way things ought to be. There is a deep problem with the world.

But the danger with anger is that we can blind ourselves to the role that we ourselves play. It is possible to get angry at others, at what the greedy corporations are doing, at what the spineless governments are not doing, at what my neighbour thinks, and in so doing to conveniently avoid what I am doing, not doing, what my attitudes are. This is the danger of self-righteousness.

Things are not the way they ought to be. There is a deep problem with the world. But the line between good and evil does not run between the rich and the poor, or between the left and the right, or between the corporations and the people. It does not run between us and them. The line between good and evil cuts through every human heart – including yours and mine. The problem is not simply out there; it is also in here.
Series: I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X; XI; XII; XIII.