Sep 7, 2008

"anger is a gift"

That’s a lyric from the song “Freedom” by my old favorites “Rage Against the Machine”. I used to listen to them daily as a teenager, feeding off of the songs big time (although I never had a clue what they were talking about!). Their songs would make me angry, and I enjoyed the feeling, but it was a completely pointless emotion. My anger wasn’t fueled by anything that they were singing about- instead it was a mixture of testosterone, pure teenage rebellion, and music being played really loud.

I talked to our students today about channeling their God-given capacity for anger towards something that was actually worth getting angry about. We spend so much time getting frustrated and angry about things that don’t matter, while we don’t get angry at things that we SHOULD get angry about! I’m pretty sure that it was this guy who I first heard this idea from years ago.

We looked at the account of Jesus healing a man’s hand on the Sabbath in Mark 3. As he was preparing to heal the man, Mark writes that he was “looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart”. They had completely missed the point of the Sabbath. Their hardened hearts were blinding them from seeing the better way to live out the commandments. But Jesus didn’t unleash the lightning bolts on them this time... (maybe if it was an OT story he would have). Instead he controlled and used his anger to fuel his next move: fixing the guy’s hand.

Then we looked at a couple verses from our old friend Amos- who pretty much lets us know that God hates church, if as a community we’re not getting angry at the right things and sticking up for people that need our help. I was going to take a look over at a time when the Apostle Paul got pretty angry, but it seemed a bit too vulgar for 9am.

I’m grateful for my gift of anger. I’m glad that I am frustrated by certain things. I’m excited to be a part of a church that gets angry about the same things, and to be alive at a time when the Church at large seems to be getting angry about them too.

Here are a few of the things I mentioned... do they make you angry?

Over 1 billion people still use unsafe drinking sources

Of the 2.2 billion children alive right now, about 1 billion live in poverty

About 5 million people in Sudan have no access to schools or health care

More than 1 billion people in the world live on $1 a day

More than 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation needs

114 million children worldwide don’t get even a basic education

584 million women around the world are illiterate

More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day

Someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds, and most of them are under the age of 5

There are approximately 27 million slaves in the world today

All of my “SUPPORT THESE PEOPLE” links on the right are organizations that are doing something about these problems.


Kevin Bales said...

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for publicizing our work (the 27 million slaves figure is ours), and for a great thoughtful post. I hope you might consider adding us to your list of "worth of support" - you can learn more about us at our website - Be sure to check out the Freedom Awards which happen next week near you.

We are good pals with IJM, and cooperate - especially as they concentrate on working where they can make the rule of law effective, and we tend to work in places where the rule of law does not reach. You should also know that while 27 million is a lot of people in slavery, it is also the smallest fraction of the world's population to ever be in slavery - we got it pushed to the edge, now just one more big heave-ho and we can end slavery for ever. You might like my book from last Fall: Ending Slavery: How We Free Today's Slaves.

Warm wishes,
Kevin Bales

Ryan Guard said...

Thanks for the comment Kevin! I'm curious how you found my blog.