My mind keeps returning to a conversation I had recently with a friend who is soon to be ordained within a church tradition very different to my own. It all followed a group discussion in which a mutual friend made what I thought was a fair critique of formal religion, and it led me to point out that Jesus was frequently angry at the religion of his day, and for very good reason.

To my mind, Jesus turning the money changer’s tables in an area of the Temple that was reserved for spiritual seekers, was a judgement upon the religion he had been born into. The Court of Gentiles was empty because nothing was going on there that interested those who had not been born into it. He therefore must have been angry, just as he was on those numerous occasions when he opposed religious leaders. Just look at the language he used! His hearers certainly didn’t think him meek and mild. There are so many occasions on which Jesus enraged comfortable, religious people, and they eventually enacted their desire to kill him.

I’m not sure I managed to convince my religious friend though. We clearly have very different images of Jesus and about the potentially righteous nature of anger. I was woken up this morning by a couple screaming abuse at each other in the street outside my back yard. It was distressing just to hear them. Maybe my friend feels similarly about the idea that the Jesus of his imagination ever got angry. Anger can lead people to do some frightening things, but it does not alter my conviction that without it change rarely happens.

All this has led to me realising how angry I am at the moment. About lots of things. And much of it is aimed at those who are not angry enough. At Putin, his Generals and potential internal opponents. At the political party that governs us which seems to think politics is more about winning and keeping power than keeping its promises or empowering those less fortunate than themselves. At those who are undermining any understanding that truth exists and are manipulating the chaos for their own gain.

What do I do with my anger? Denying it is dishonest and unhealthy. Expressing it might be misunderstood and could be destructive. I must find ways of standing up and being counted though. Too many people are keeping quiet.

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About the Author

Craig Millward has been a Baptist minister for over 30 years and has extensive experience of the joys and challenges of church leadership.

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