Tag Archives: Anger

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Anger: Passion that Purifies and Plunders

‘Be angry; don’t sin.’ (Eph. 4:26)

Anger cuts both ways. It can incite one to drive idols from the Father’s house; it can drive others to fill that house with idolatry.

We each face resistance to what we perceive as worthy goals. It helps to access the passion that motivates us to go against the grain. Anger may activate us to bore a hole through the hard wood of injustice, or at least what we perceive as unjust.

Maybe that’s the catch. What begins as ‘justice’ may devolve into a self-serving effort to get what we want, our way. In other words, our concept of ‘righteous anger’ can veil a selfish effort to justify ourselves.

People who have been mistreated often point to their wounds as justification for their defensive, angry behavior. They thus cherish the wound and brandish it like a knife in order to secure certain rights. When they bypass God with their wounds and in defining these rights, they run the risk of becoming despots, little gods who now seek to control others by virtue of the real injustices done to them.

Consider a woman who has been cheated on by her husband. Incited by real injustice against her, she can arise to hold the whole family hostage with her rage.

Or a man wounded by one creepy pastor or by a system that ultimately sides with the creep and not the victim. He like the betrayed wife is right to press through fear and expose that darkness. But anger too often morphs into an infectious stranglehold of hate (in this case, against the Church) which bars him from what could cure him.

The most obvious example of misplaced anger is gay activism. Citing real ills done to some children who are gender confused and claiming that suicide is immanent for any such confused soul who is not allowed to act out homosexually or get a sex change, activists have done a masterful job at changing how an entire civilization understands sexual brokenness.

Brokenness, what brokenness? We can no longer even speak of Jesus’ loving redemption of persons who repent from what Scripture defines as a perversion of God’s will for humanity in our ‘born that way, stay that way, get out of my way’ culture.

Still, anger can be a good thing. I am angry at what unfaithful men do to women and what clergy men can visit upon the vulnerable. And I am angry that the Church has often failed to understand such relational and sexual brokenness and to provide healing. That anger motivates me to do something about it. I want to go against the grain of a complacent Church that would rather play ‘nice’ than act decisively on behalf of damaged people. If she arose as the prophet, she may well begin to remove the stains that blemish her. She could become a healing community worthy of Jesus.

God got mad, so mad He drove idolaters from the Father’s house then submitted to misery in order to end ours at Calvary. His passion is always the litmus test for whether our passion will plunder or purify. In order for anger to motivate us rightly, we must submit our wounds to the One who bears them and cleanses them from bitterness and other infections. We must forgive our captors. I must continually lay down activists at the foot of the Cross—‘Father, forgive them; they know not their self-justifying ways.’

I want to arise and see and act on behalf of persons enslaved by a host of injustices. Let us be His witnesses, inviting them to kneel before the One in whom mercy and justice meet.

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Justice for Whom

Advocates for ‘gay marriage’ usually claim no harm can be done to anyone through extending marriage and family rights to two men or two women.

New evidence now exists to show a host of challenges to kids of gay parents.

Professor Mark Regenerus found that, when compared to adults raised in married, mother/father families, adults raised by lesbian parents had negative outcomes in 24 out of 40 categories, while adults raised by gay fathers had negative outcomes in 19 categories.

(See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/10/study-suggests-risks-from-same-sex-parenting/)

More studies are in the works to debunk the myth that kids don’t need parenting from the two who gave them life. To thrive, a kid needs a mom and a dad. Period.

We must take issue with those who, as a result of supporting gay loved ones, fail to see the implications of such skewed advocacy.

A legal change in the definition of marriage is short-sighted and cruel to the most vulnerable ones in our culture—children. Generations-to-come depend upon societal structures that advocate for their best. ‘Gay’ marriage and family is not one of them.

Strange justice: ‘gay marriage’ advocates often cite early childhood experiences of bullying and harassment for their same-sex tendencies as one reason why gay equality is imperative. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that ‘gay marriage’ only perpetuates the destabilizing of young lives.

‘Gay’ marriage and family causes the very ills it seeks to cure.

Christians, take a stand and resolutely refuse to redefine marriage, especially in the face of our president’s decision to do so. Consider those who have come before you. On behalf of the Church, St. Thomas More refused to grant Henry VIII (his king) a divorce, and was beheaded. May we emulate his courage in championing marriage today.

Please join me in this prayer that American Catholics have been encouraged to pray on behalf of religious liberty until July 4th:

Grant we pray, O heavenly Father, A clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome— for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us— this great land will always be ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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Pray More

‘Patience, prayer and silence—these are what give strength to the soul.’ St. Faustina

If we want to be more like Jesus, we must be with Him more. And do less of everything else. Our roots must sink and stay deep in the Source if we want to bear fruit that remains.

I do badly when first thoughts of the day revolve around unsolved problems. I start striving, and my words and actions become cutting. I know right away that I am not in Christ; I am worldly, and thus unable reveal Him to the world.

I used to wake up each morning and see if the little red light was flashing on my phone. My first thought of the day revolved around which text or email or phone message needed me. One morning, weary and anxious after a fitful sleep, I bawled out a colleague who had left a disturbing message during the night.

So the next morning I bypassed the phone; I vowed to pray for a good while before anything else.

I cannot live like a Christian unless I am founded in Christ. That means opening my heart and hands to Him in quiet before saying anything to anybody. My loved ones deserve better.

And Jesus expects more of me, and of all who claim to know Him. He said that ‘unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, we won’t enter His Kingdom.’ (Matt. 5:20) Contrary to popular opinion, the Pharisees were good, conscientious people. But Jesus raises the bar for everyone when He equates murder with bawling out a colleague and adultery with thinking lustfully of another. He then broadens ‘loved ones’ to those who hate us and treat us cruelly.

How can we love like that–purely, gently, non-defensively–without more of Him? We need to go deeper in Christ if our love is to exceed the Pharisees’.

Pray more. Do and say less. Let what you say and do arise out of increasing times of silence before Him. Judge the fruit yourself. Do we manifest love, peace, joy and self-control? Or anger, lust, and self-vindication?

‘Let those who are singularly active, who think they can win the world with their preaching and exterior works, observe here that they would profit the church and please God much more…if they were to spend at least half of this time with God in prayer…They would certainly accomplish more, and with less labor, by one work than they otherwise would by a thousand…Without prayer they would do a great deal of hammering but accomplish little, and sometimes nothing, and even at times cause harm.’ St. John of the Cross

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Merciful Discipline 2: Broken, We Repent for the Church’s Mishandling of Abuse

This is the second post of six in the Merciful Discipline Series. A complete list of available posts will be at the end of each article as they are made available.

Merciful Discipline 2: Broken, We Repent for the Church’s Mishandling of Abuse

‘This crisis isn’t about sex abuse. It is about covering up sex abuse.’ Spokesperson for victims of priestly abuse

‘God’s justice summons us to give account of our actions and to conceal nothing.’ Pope Benedict to priests who abused children

As the Church, we are united as members of one Body. When one is abused, all suffer. When abuse is covered up or mishandled by Church leaders, the abused are abused further. We all are exposed.

Only the truth sets us free. In order for the wound of abuse to heal, it needs to be acknowledged and aired in order for all sufferers to be delivered. Healing requires that the full extent of the damage be brought into the light.

The Church has historically excelled at damage control.

Our corporate shame is overcome through repentance. Church membership grants every Catholic the authority to repent on behalf of the whole Church. We can implore God for His Mercy, and ask Him to change us.

As one Body, we must become a transparent witness of our own failures and of painstaking effort to repair the damage done to minors. We can then become transparent safeguard of minors—of their dignity, inviolability, and integrity.

We begin by acknowledging the failure of many Catholic leaders to be transparent safeguards. When aware of priestly misconduct, they failed to act on behalf of victims and the greater community.

In the Old Testament, overseer Eli failed to act. The elder knew his 2 sons—both priests—were having sex with women in the temple. He failed to act in a way that stopped the abuse. God addressed Eli through Samuel the prophet: ‘I told Eli that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and Eli failed to restrain them.’ (1 Sam 3:13)

Serious business. Spiritual overseers release and restrain God’s servants in order to build a strong, clean Church. We are all secured in love when a leader acts rightfully; when he fails, as Eli did, the most vulnerable are unprotected.

Historically, the Church has tended to protect herself, not victims or surrounding communities, in cases of minor abuse. A careful review of the most comprehensive study done on the sexual abuse of minors in the US Catholic Church over the last 60 years (‘John Jay Report’) reveals several disheartening themes.

Before 2002, Church overseers who became aware of minor abuse tended to focus on the priest-abuser more than the abused. Rarely did she subject her priests in question to legal scrutiny; she became a law unto herself. Due to the complications of canon law, these priests were not dismissed but rather put on leave or transferred to other communities who had no knowledge of the new priest’s ‘vulnerabilities.’

Overall, victims’ needs were minimized and the needs of the communities surrounding the abuse were kept in the dark.

In 2002, the Church sought reform. Dioceses throughout the US adopted a new set of norms for handling priestly sexual abuse. These norms include speedy and diligent inquiry of alleged abuse, priority-tending to the victims and their communities, removal of priest from office, and full compliance with the law.

The St. Joseph/KC Diocese adopted these norms, and today stands as a cautionary tale of sliding back into damage control, as the Bishop’s own confession and an investigation revealed (‘Graves Report’).

2 years ago, a KC priest was discovered to have a computer full of child porn. The vicar-general (second in command to the bishop) took matters into his own hands. The matter was not submitted to the diocesan review counsel, nor was the computer turned over to the authorities. A therapist claimed the priest was depressed, not dangerous; Bishop Finn reassigned him to a community house where he soon began engaging with children again, all ignorant of his ‘discipline.’

By God’s mercy, diocesan mishandling was exposed, the priest arrested. Six months had elapsed between the seizure of the porn and the arrest. Within those six months, a father lamented plainly to the Bishop: ‘That monster was in my house to prey on my kids and you let him in because you felt you were above the law and made that decision not to turn in photos of my kids.’

The norms of reform protect only when followed. With Bishop Finn who takes full responsibility for the damage done by damage control, we cry out for mercy, and ask that we would change. We can and must become transparent witnesses of the damage done. Only then will victims and their communities be healed, and minors safeguarded in the future.

How a man who has said ‘yes’ to Christ…could fall into such perversion is hard to understand. It is a great sadness also that Church leadership was not sufficiently vigilant and sufficiently swift and decisive in taking necessary measures. On account of this we are living in a time of penance, humility, and renewed sincerity. We must renew and learn again absolute sincerity. Pope Benedict

MORE:

The Merciful Discipline Series of Posts (updated with each new post as they become available):

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Faithful Mother for an Adulterous Generation

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

Faithful Mother for an Adulterous Generation

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 3

‘Rejoice, for you are closer to God in His mercy than a baby to its mother’s heart.’ (423)

‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all that He has made.’ (Psalm 145:8,9)

‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; you are ever before Me.’ (Isaiah 49:15,16)

Humble us, O God, by the tender and mighty nature of Your ‘rachamim’. You feel deeply for our needs, and ache over our afflicted state. Would You move us with the Mercy that moves Your heart? Grant us a share in Your Mercy. May our prayers for the release of Mercy promote healing action. Bring the unfaithful home! Transform them through Your (and our) faithful love.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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