Saturday, March 07, 2009

Kings of the Wild Frontier

It's been just over two years since I posted Kings of the Wild Frontier. At the time I only knew a handful of you, and I'm thankful for how those friendships have developed, and how new ones have formed! Well, in that post I spoke of how today's tamed Christianity, based upon rules, principles and methods for Christian living, had caused damage to my marriage at one point in the past. Since I couldn't keep up with the onslaught of rules, principles and methods - especially, but not limited to, the 'marriage principles' - I had underlying thoughts that I didn't really love my wife. At the time, two years ago, it was really good for me to write all of that stuff down. It helped me to realize more and more that I wasn't created to be tamed and controlled, but that I was meant to get out and live!

The Kings of the Wild Frontier theme has stuck with me, and really has become more and more established in all areas of my life. Kings of the Wild Frontier is the title track to an album from 1980 by Adam and the Ants. I was living in England at the time, when "Ant Music" burst on the scene and became wildly popular, instantly. I absolutely loved the music (and still do). At the time, I sang along to all the lyrics, but I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to what they were actually saying. However, a few years back I was listening to this song and one line in particular jumped out at me like never before:

"I feel beneath the white there is a redskin suffering from centuries of taming."
The imagery here, as I see it, is of a white man who feels the passion and "wildness" of an Indian warrior on the inside, and yet it's all been bottled up and contained within - not able to be released - due to the taming of modern day white man's culture.

My heart cried out to God that day. I'd heard those lyrics a thousand times before but they never really registered with me until then. How much of my life has been bottled up and not truly lived, all because I've been living in a system that is trying to tame me, rather than release me to be who I truly am. Again, many of the teachers and preachers of principles and methods may have really good intentions (and many of them don't), but either way the people are left not knowing who they really are, and they live with various sorts of struggles on the inside that they can't quite put a finger on, all because they think they're doing the 'right' thing by trying to apply all the principles that are taught every week.

Living as the wild (not tamed) creation that you are does not, of course, include doing things that hurt yourself or others, or that are not "expedient" or "helpful" (see 1 Cor 6:12, 10:23-24). But the church - even when it's had good intentions - has gone so far with rules, principles and methods for Christian living that it has essentially snuffed out the true nature of the lives we're meant to live. In many cases they don't even realize what they're doing. Their tamed lives perhaps have a great outward appearance - "an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body" - but yet "are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (see Col 2:20-23).

What ends up happening is a lot of faking. A lot of acting. A lot of trying to keep up with others who seem to have it together, while those who seem to have it together know that they don't really have it together, but can't let anyone know! And there is a lot of living inside a box. A box of must's and should's, rather than trust and get to's. A box of performance, trying to get it right, trying to be good Christian boys and girls, but never seeming able to arrive, and therefore never being able to get out of the box. Often not even knowing there's a whole world outside of the box! I was in that box for quite some time. Even as I began to grow in grace, I kept myself in that box in many ways.

How about you? Have you suffered in some way from the taming of the modern church? This is not meant as a means of bashing the church, of course! But reality is reality. People have been hurt, and it's up to us, by the Holy Spirit, to spread the freedom for which Christ has set us free!


  1. Joel,

    I can really relate to this. My wife and I had our most turbulent times when (at my most dedicated to the IC), I was spending too much time at church. She was upset that I was neglecting the family and I was upset that she wasn't "supporting" me when I was clearly trying to "serve God".

    When I look back, the Pastor NEVER told me I was doing too much or that I should back off. It was tacitly approved of and even encouraged. (I didn't even realize it then, but I LOVED their approval).

    You are so gracious sometimes Joel. I am not as nice about the modern church. I am angry about the way me and other people I love were and are treated. I know that this is not exclusive to me as I've read and talked to many people about this. Just read Aida's blog and Darin's most recent one about anger.

    I don't want to say that you are wrong in the fact that you are NOT angry - just that I understand people who are.


  2. Well Joel, I never had the same feelings for "Ant" as you do :) but nevertheless...I totally relate to this post. When I initially left "the church" in my younger days, it was because of never being able to measure up or make it inside the very small box of religiosity that I heard about but rarely saw anyone adhering to or unable to adhere to. That caused much confusion and doubt in my young mind. When I returned from a long sojourn in this sin-cursed world, I again entered into a mindset of how I could best "act" or "do the right thing" and again that was in a church setting. Again, it didn't sit right in my heart, but I kept trying. Kept failing and kept the guilt weighing heavy on me. By God's infinite Grace, He orchestrated a series of events that lead me into this Life that I now rest in. Without these happenings in my life, I know I would never had been able to sit comfortably within the institutional setting for very long. I was and still am loosely a part of that but the obligation, the trying is now over. There are wonderful loving people there and there are actors and judgers and controllers there as well. I have a small group of like-minded believers around me in my daily walk (very small) and I really don't get to see them enough in my opinion...but I know they are there and I know there are you, brother and the on-line community that continues to encourage and remind of that One True Thing....Jesus and Who I am in Him. All rules aside, I have freedom now and no longer live in the light of commentary and supposition and interpretation. He provides all of that to me and it has been the journey that literally saved my life by killing me. I love that and I thank you for this reminder of your initial blog on the "Kings of the Wild Frontier", however I will retitle that for my own life as "Queens of the Wild Frontier", although that sounds a little strange, doesn't it :). I have seen a lot of acting, faking etc. in my own life and the life of people around me...but the freedom that I experience because of Grace allows me to love even those...I am a new creature....thank God for that and my new heart!

  3. Saw this one time before I came to grace - didn't and still don't know what to make of it, but I thought of you when you mentioned it here.

  4. Awesome, Joel! (The thought, not so much on the video. Never could get into Adam and the Ants.) I think we almost train our people, especially our men, to not serve and not get involved in ministry. We train people to be passive. Then we wonder why nobody does anything.

    I believe this may also may be the reason men don't go to church, and the reason kids leave when they get out of high school. Most people don't like to be held back.

    The church should be the one place where everybody is free, but too often the church's teaching stifles freedom.

    BTW, this post was great! My wife was reading it over my shoulder, and she said, "Where does he live? We should be friends with him." She was disappointed to learn you're in Iowa.

    If you make it out to sunny SoCal, you've got friends...

  5. Hi Joel,

    I can really identify with what you said. God has been revealing my freedom in Christ more and more over the last three years. I just returned from a men's retreat through my church (a well established and well known pentecostal denomination). This morning's teaching was about the "biblical principles of family and marriage, and the laws we must obey to live out those principles". The speaker went to great lengths to show what a good husband and father should look like. During the teaching, I reminded myself that principles and laws can only show us our shortcomings, but are powerless to change us. I thought that some of the men were likely struggling in their roles as husbands and fathers and would conclude that the answer to their struggles is to buckle down and try harder. I went away saddened that we didn't hear how Jesus is our life and He will live his victorious life through us in every area as we trust Him and abide in Him moment by moment. BTW, I discovered your blog a few months ago and have enjoyed going back through your archives and reading your past blogs and articles. They have been a great encouragement to me.

    Grace and peace,

    Bob Gorman

  6. John,

    I bet many, many people can relate to your experience in the IC, sadly. In the IC, it's ok to neglect your family, all in the name of 'ministry' and 'serving God.' You must be about your Father's business. And yeah, the approval thing. I remember some of that. It really did feel good to have various people thinking and speaking so highly of me, all because of what I was doing. But yet as I look back it was one big act. I think some of it was legitimate too, but in many ways I think I was really only trying to put on a good show.

    As far as whether or not I've been angry with others... Now that I've come out of that, I look back and see that my experience in the modern church has been varied. I've known some very legalistic people who truly had a desire to help and love people, and they simply didn't know better (I think that's what my own legalism was based in), and I've also known some very controlling people who at times seemed nice enough, but there was something about them that seemed as if they got pleasure out of controlling and manipulating others.

    Mostly, my knowledge of how legalism has deeply hurt and angered people has been from the accounts of others, and not necessarily from my own experiences. I've definitely felt the blow of legalism, and have been truly hurt by it (and am still recovering), but when I hear other people's stories, I can see exactly why there is so much anger (justifiably so). I haven't yet read those blogs about anger, but I'll head over and take a look.

  7. ICA,

    Your story... wow... I've heard you share bits and pieces before, and it's so sad to hear about your past journey. However, it's - of course - so wonderful to hear how you overcame it, by God's grace, and through the series of events that He set up to bring you to freedom!

    The cycle of trying and failing and guilt, and so on... aaarrrggghhh! I can so relate! It has been such a wonderful thing to come into the freedom of this wild, (super)natural life for which God created us to live. Indeed we are new creations, and we can't let anyone stifle the living out of that life, with rules, control, opinions, manipulation, etc.

    And right on... you can be a Queen of the Wild Frontier! LOL... No problems there! I have a few more lyrics from the song that I'll be sharing, including the beginning of the song - "A new royal family, a wild nobility, we are the family." We are indeed a royal family!

  8. Richard,

    Yeah, as with what you and ICA said, I can't seem to ever get anyone as impressed with Adam and the Ants as I am... ;) I know I'm not alone, but I just have to go elsewhere to find other Ant People. hehehe!

    You said, "The church should be the one place where everybody is free, but too often the church's teaching stifles freedom." So very true! I think the key to so much of this is that resting and abiding has either not been taught, or it has been improperly taught. The church has made it all about behavior modification, and so all the rules and principles come out every week, trying to get people to change their behavior and become 'better Christians,' all the while leaving them without a clue as to who they truly are in Christ, and who He is in them. Without knowing our identity, all the changed behavior in the world doesn't mean a thing. We must learn to rest in the finished work of Christ, and literally in His life, and from that will flow all the doing of the Christian life.

    Yeah, it's kind of hard to connect when we're 2,000 miles apart, give or take. :) But my brother lives in San Diego, so if I'm ever able to make it out there for more than a day or two, I'll look you up. That would be sweet!

  9. Bob,

    I appreciate your comment. Thanks for taking the time to share, and I hope you'll find some more encouragement as you go through some of the older blog posts and articles. The retreat you've mentioned here is similar to what I've been on in the past as well, so I can relate! I've sat under a lot of that type of preaching and teaching. How to be a better husband and father, etc. You're so right that all the principles and laws in the world can never change us, and in fact that they only wind up showing us our shortcomings. That's truly what happened to me, as I shared more of in my original Kings of the Wild Frontier post that I linked to.

    I wanted so badly to be the best father and husband, and to be the best Christian I could be, and so I listened and took notes and tried to apply all those principles and methods. But in the end all it did was it left me dry, and wondering if I was ever going to make it. This was even after having come into a much deeper revelation of grace. I was jammed with a constant, unending flow of principles for Christian living, and it really messed up the love and grace that I was learning about.

    Thanks for sharing, and I really appreciate your words about Jesus being our life, and Him living His victorious life through us. We truly need to rest in Him and trust Him moment by moment!

  10. By the way, John, thanks for the link. I began to look at the site yesterday but got distracted. I'll check it out after work today. GASP... I'm going to WORK... on a SUNDAY!!! LOL

  11. Joel, this is a fabulous post. I read the original but I don’t remember it touching me as much as this one did. Part of the reason may be the fact that I just finished reading “Dances with Wolves” and its sequel, “The Holy Road.” While “Dances with Wolves” described Lt. John J. Dunbar’s transformation into a Comanche warrior, “The Holy Road” describes the painful transition the Comanche went through as they were forced to leave their free lifestyle and submit to the humility and cruelty of reservation life.

    “I feel beneath the white there is a redskin suffering from centuries of taming” really spoke to me. As I read both books, I was constantly reminded of the church which started out as a free group of believers who were eventually herded into the reservation of institutional church. It was depressing and it was sad. The truth is ALL institutions operate pretty much the same way and their goal is to promote the institution and with, this goal in mind, freedom and individuality is snuffed out. The result is a captive people who are more dead than alive.

    As much as I love and respect Darin Hufford and as much as I’ve connected with him and his ministry, Darin and I are worlds apart regarding our temperaments. My angry is nothing like Darin’s angry. Mine would probably be closer to Joel’s. I don’t believe Darin is trying to encourage a raging type of anger but I believe his purpose in writing his post was to encourage us to allow ourselves to feel our emotions however we experience them.

    In the system, we learn to put plastic smiles on our face and bottle up our feelings but feelings are important. They’re part of who we are and how God has created us. When we see abuse and injustice, we should be angry and although that anger may not overflow into rage, it should result in action. For too long, we’ve sat quietly because we didn’t want to become offended or bitter and, as a result, we’ve allowed the system to trample on us and on others. I’m thankful for those who are finally speaking out.

    Thanks, Joel, for this post and thanks for allowing me to vent.

    I appreciate the introduction to Adam and the Ants. As usual, little brother, I find your choice of music interesting although not as inspiring as Twisted Sister.

  12. Interesting that this post led it's way into a side discussion on anger. It has been resonating with me that a lot of "Grace People" are very angry, mostly, I guess at the IC and I get that .... I really do! I just can't seem to be angry now that I know what I know that I know, and now that I see things in such a different way it is like peace, but Peace, you know. I used to be so much more angry and judgmental and sarcastic...and yes I still can "act" that way, but the Love is know...Jesus and so much of the negative has left this temple....long ways to go...but there is a fine line, I guess between passion and anger and it has been on my mind a lot as I read different posts and search out what is on God's kids minds....just interesting to note ....anger is there and that is ok....don't let it control you though...not you Joel....but whoever feels that anger is more than Peace.....He is Peace.

  13. In my experience, the 'taming' can come from anywhere - church, family, friends, work place, school. I have had a hard time expressing my true feeling about spirituality with my parents because I knew they were totally on a different page. So I experienced bondage right at my home.

    The moment I become untruthful to me, I fall into a bondage. And I lived in such bondage for years and years... and I still have some in one way or the other.

    I am still have some 'masks' I wear especially in front of many of my family members. Some time I act religious, but other times I act 'cool'. But looking back, I see a tremendous work of God in my life in terms of liberating me from a lot of errors I were in. And He is still at work...

    Great post, Joel!

  14. Aida,

    I bet those are wonderful books. I honestly wish I had the type of attention span that would allow me to sit down with books like that. I'm sure I would get so much out of them! But I just can't sit and read for too long at a time, and therefore I easily lose track during fictional stories, so I generally give up. I'm that way with TV and movies too. Unless it's an hour or less, I don't generally sit through it. But I'm digressing waaaay far away here!

    Those books do sound very interesting. Institutions, whether 'church'-based or otherwise, tend to tame people and end up snuffing out the freedom for which they were born.

    I love my job - which of course takes place in an institutional setting, but yet I'm out on my own for most of the day. I love my job, and I do it well. But then we get roped in, and have to attend meetings and seminars, etc, all for the purpose of helping us become 'better' workers and staying with the 'mission' of the hospital. Now, I 'get' it. And sometimes I glean some good information from all of that. I'm happy, on the one hand, to sit through all that stuff. But so many times all I can think of is how they're trying to conform me into their image, rather than letting me be who I am within the institution. There is not much talk about individuality and gifts and talents. Mostly, "this is how you behave if you're a part of this institution."

    Again, some of it is necessary and important, in that in order for the system to function, there needs to be some order. However, this is soooo different than what church life was ever meant to be! We're not a system or an institution, and we function correctly, not when we sit under an institution created by man, but when we individually walk according to the Head, Jesus Himself, by the Spirit.

    I don't mind people organizing groups and meetings and activities, etc. But when those things become "it," and when they become institutions themselves, then the church has lost its purpose, and people lose their freedom - whether they realize it or not.

    As for anger, I agree that I'm more in line with you, and with what ICA is saying. I'm not really angry in a hot-tempered way, but more in a way in which I'm passionate about how people have been hurt, and I seek to do what I can to help people be free, and, when I can, to dialog with those who have put others into bondage, hoping to influence them in one way or another.

    Often I think it hasn't had much of an effect, but I've had some really great conversations with people and I've seen some lights go on in their heads and it's been pretty cool.

    Also, I always try to keep in mind that it's not flesh and blood (people) that we're against. It's ideas, principles, thoughts, etc. My job isn't to get others to see it the right way, but rather to share truth and see what the Holy Spirit does with it. That can be so hard... because by outward appearances, people can be so darn stubborn and mean and obstinate and opinionated! But I know that God, not me, can take hard clay and make it soft and moldable.

    ICA... those are great words. Indeed He is Peace, and His peace is greater than anger. The more I grow in His peace, I think I've seen the same thing in me, that I'm less judgmental and sarcastic about it all... although as you say, I still act that way sometimes! And I suppose if I were sitting in the midst of it again, some of that stuff might come back up again. But overall, I really just want to walk in His Peace, and under His lead, to lead people into freedom and grace.


    All of what you've said here really resonates with me! I have, and still do, experienced the same types of bondage with my family members, church friends, other friends, coworkers, etc. In a sense, I'm a different person around different people. By the grace of God and the life of Christ in me, that has changed over the years, but it's still there. I'm definitely more free around others, to be who I am, but I still find myself wearing those masks at times.

    I try to keep in mind who I really am, and to know that it doesn't matter if people don't like who I really am. If I can't be "me," then who cares if they like me, because they're really only liking a facade! Still, it's definitely a growing process, and indeed, He is still at work!

  15. Okay, I liked this blog! I have been struggling with Daren H blog for a few days now and I am glad to hear some likeminded people here. I have to confess that I have never been hurt by the institutional church. . . I believe that part of the reason is due to the fact that my dad was an anglican (episcopalian) pastor since I was 13. I watched him suffer through seminary and I watched him suffer as a pastor. He was wounded and no doubt he wounded. Much of it was ignorance and unintentional. But he felt that he had been placed in the 'anglican church' to lead people to Jesus. And there were such special bonding Holy Spirit things that happened in a good many years while he was a pastor. There was a deep unity in the Spirit and if someone had the unction to say something while he spoke or whatever, it was generally honoured. There was a special bond amongst the people - many of whom who had known me from a young age. Yes, he did buy into the system to a certain extent, but he also was undone when He saw the love of God and he longed to be free and open to the H.S. which is not always easy when there are so many people of different backgrounds and persuasions gathered together. So, as a result, I did not put my faith in a leader or an instution. I knew what leaders were like. Like everyone else. And I avoided doing things out of obligation (I was always rather rebellious that way), though I confess to quite liking the attention of others and I would do things for selfish reasons.

    So, I say all that to lay a background to my present day thoughts. What are people so angry at? I like what you said Joel about the fact that we don't fight against flesh and blood. And because I was born stubborn and rebellious to mans authority I never experienced being controlled by certain mentalities. I know people were hurt. But what or who hurt them? And from my experience, when a person sees Jesus in all his splendour, then how can we not be filled with passion and life and desire to share Him?! When I saw all that Jesus had truly done for me i was amazed and I said to my friend (now husband),'There are so many churches built on the wrong foundation. We need to let people know the freedom. And I was at a missions college at the time and I was exposed to all sorts of stuff, including much nonsense. But I never recall anyone telling me not to be angry. Anger was never an issue for me. Why would I be angry? Don't get me wrong. Of course there was and is much that grieved me that wa being taught in much of Christiandom. But here is the thing. People are free to go where they please. There is no-one holding a gun to ones head telling them to believe this or you die. I don't negate the fact that many people have been practically brainwashed into believing all sorts of nonsense! However, what causes us to believe what we believe? And are we forced to believe? And isn't His Spirit in us free to let us know if there is something "off". I believe that God desires that we would all know truth and freedom in Jesus. But Jesus, when He spoke to the crowds, knew that His words would fall by the wayside to some of the crowd. "To him that has ears to hear, let him hear."

    This all leads me to say, that the problem is not the institional church so much so as ears that are stopped and the eyes that are blind and wish to remain so. Jesus saw what unbelief did to a person and he was not quiet about it. But I tend to see all that I went through was part of the journey to bring me to Him. And God is not limited by dumb mentalities and lies. Those are all part of His working out good for our sake.

    When you KNOW the Truth the Truth shall set you free.

    We all have a choice. To follow man (lies) or to seek out the truth. Just like Adam and Eve.

    (I do have to confess to some snide jokes and sarcasm centered on the silliness of Churchianity though)

    What do you think?

  16. Great thoughts!!

    I really think there is a very wide variety of past (and current) experiences represented in the lives of those who have come out of the institutional church and/or are experiencing true freedom in Christ for the first time.

    Some have been very badly hurt and abused, and some have simply felt the reigns of legalism in such a way that it affected their view of God, and life in Christ, but haven't been too badly hurt by it all. Perhaps disgruntled. And then there are many in between.

    I think it's true that we can trust the Holy Spirit to lead us in God's grace, but it's also true that the Spirit can be quenched. Christians can manipulate and be manipulated. Christians can sit under teachings for years, and really believe it's the truth, while yet being hurt by it and living on emotional roller coasters. Even as we are fully indwelled by the Spirit, we can be confused and in bondage (mentally, soulfully, emotionally). I'm only scratching the surface, of course.

    And so I can see how a lot of the anger comes out, especially in the people who have been hurt the worst. People need time to deal with all of that. I've seen and participated in several blogs out there that have a heavy emphasis on dealing with the hurts they've received in the church. I totally understand where they're coming from and why they focus on such things. They need to get it out, and they need to help and support one another in it.

    I was just thinking about this last night and this morning. I've noticed that there have been visitors to my blog who have had deep past hurts in the church, who have 'stuck around' for a little while and commented on the freedom and grace that I speak about, but many of them have tended to not stick around for a great length of time. I don't know for sure, but I think that while they need the talk of grace and freedom, they are also in a place where what they need more of is to relate to other people who have been deeply hurt and abused like they have. In that respect, I truly can't relate, and I totally love that there are other blogs (other people) who they can relate together with.

    And on an different level, I personally love so many of the things that Darin Hufford says, and yet I don't relate relationally with how he approaches things. And that's ok! There are people who he reaches and touches that I could never be able to reach and touch.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I think the center, or the focus, is the love and grace of God, and freedom in Him, but we all come from different pasts and backgrounds, and we have varying levels of anger, and varying ways in which we deal with our pasts and with the freedom we're currently experiencing.

    So on the one hand I totally agree that each of us needs to ditch the victim mentality of having been in the bondage of our past beliefs and experiences in the IC, but on the other hand I also fully realize that it takes time to do that. Part of that process, for many, including myself, is talking about the actual things that go on in the IC.

    Had a few more things to say, I'll perhaps come back later. Gotta pick up the kids from school.

  17. What you say is true. I totally agree with what you said. I was just reminded of something that happened at Missions College before I tasted Jesus. . . I was at this group bible study sort of thing on campus and the people who were leading it were addressing the judgement of God. That what we did would be like a slideshow presented before God's judgement seat. Oh boy oh boy did I get angry at God! I blurted out loud,"Then I hate God!" and I left in a fit of rage. Which was very unlike me!

    A while after that there was a strong minded and angry calvinist who was saying all sorts of stuff about how God chooses this and that and the other, which I found quite disturbing, and I told him that I was unable to listen to what he was saying until I was sure of the love of God.

    So, it shows me that I obviously had been raised with a very graceful understanding of God - so much so that I remember telling God at age 8 or so that what I did was His problem as He was the one who created me. So, really, I don't know what people who have suffered under abuse have really gone through!

    I do know this though. That God is totally faithful and loving and will do and use whatever it takes for people to seem Him as He truly is. Of that I have no doubt!

    So, I too have truly enjoyed much of what I have read from the free believers network. Much of it is what D and I have seen over the past 11 years and it is fun and encouraging to hear someone else saying it. I just did not really agree with all he was saying about anger, as my experience with people who got angry with what they saw and heard ended up damaging others in the same way they had been damaged. But it all can be taken so many ways by so many different people. I just want to see people compelled by the love which is in Jesus by the Holy Spirit! Far more powerful than any other weapon!!!

    Thanks Joel!

  18. Yeah, I too was raised with quite a lot of grace. I didn't realize it till years later, of course! But all my life I've not been able to fully relate to angry people, even those whose anger is justified. I've really never had anything to be that angry about. Yes, I've been angry with legalism and abuse, but my experience, relatively speaking, has not been as bad as what a lot of others have been through.

    Even after having spent some time in a legalistic setting in the pentecostal church, when I began to get freed up I had some good things from my past to fall back on. My parents were not angry people. They were very loving and graceful, even towards those who had hurt them. My dad was a pastor, and my parents were hurt by various people in various ways over the years, but they never spoke ill of others.

    So I suppose that's where my predisposition of grace towards legalists comes from, I guess. I hate what they do and how it hurts people, and I speak out against it, but in my own case it's not really a bitter or angry type of speaking out. That's just me... and I know that my own experience does not reflect where others are coming from.

  19. This has been an interesting conversation. In my opinion, being angry and being an angry person are two different things. As I read Darin's blog and because of my personal friendship with him, I'm quite sure he is not saying it's okay to be an angry person.

    I've been around angry people and I'm even related to some and I avoid them as much as possible. It's stressful to spend time with them because I always have to be careful what I say. Even the most innocent comment can lead to an angry outburst. It gets exhausting after a while.

    I remember someone getting angry with me because I innocently asked her when she started straightening her hair. Since she was a close relative that I've known all my life, I didn't think I was being offensive. Now, I watch every single word when I'm with her but occasionally I do slip and say something that causes an outburst.

    However, being angry when we see an injustice is in my opinion quite normal. Jesus was often angry but his anger was ALWAYS directed at the leadership that was holding the people in bondage. He took a whip to the money changers and he called the Pharisees names such as white washed tombs. He also told them their father was the devil who was a liar. There were also other incidences where he was just plain mad but it was always out of love for a hurting people.

    I think we need to make a distinction between an angry person who's life is controlled by anger and whose behavior is self-centered and destructive and someone whose anger is not focused at people but at injustices.

    When Darin said that he had to watch christian TV in order to work up the anger to write, it's obvious he's not talking about being someone whose life is consumed by anger.

  20. Aida,

    Those are all really great points. It's truly good to distinguish those different types and meanings of the word anger. Yes, it's crystal clear to me that Darin isn't talking about being consumed by anger.

    Truly, Jesus' anger was always due to how the religious and legalistic people and system were hurting people.

    I've been around the same type of people you're talking about, where you have to be careful of every little word that might set off an angry spell. Ouch! Yeah, I avoid them as much as I can! It takes away from the joy of life and indeed it can become exhausting in a hurry.

    All in all, I think anger in a proper context can be a healthy thing. Paul said "be angry and do not sin," which means to me that being angry can definitely be a really good thing, and that we also have the potential to take it too far and to let it consume us or to let it lead us into some 'unrighteous' directions.

    This really has been a great conversation --- definitely turning in a different direction than the original post, but no doubt in a very good way!

  21. This was a great read thanks for linking to that older post and sharing your journey.

  22. Leonard,

    Thanks. Yeah, the sharing of the journey with others is a big part of the journey.