“Your Anger is a Gift”

A prophet once said, “Your anger is a gift.”

That prophet was Zack De La Rocha.

In this age of incivility, many crave civility as an ends in itself.

However, civility is a situational virtue. In many ways, civility is a bourgeois virtue. It protects the powerful and the comfortable, because uncivil behavior is a threat to them most of all.

Do not agitate. Do not criticize. It is not civil and nice. Martin Luther King’s Letter for Birmingham Jail was a response to those that that agreed with his goals but who felt that he was causing too much trouble. Those who said “wait” then now say “be civil.”

Now, some might say that this is hypocritical of me. Didn’t liberals like me criticize Glenn Beck for lacking civility? Well, some did. However, I never did. My issues with Bro. Beck were with the content of his views and message. Whether he was “civil” or not was irrelevant to me.

Does civility have a place? Absolutely! Civility within families, within organizations, and amongst neighbors is a wonderful thing. Likewise, incivility is not a virtue in and of itself. It is sometimes appropriate, but it often is not. Surely it can be annoying. In many ways, that is the point. It should be used strategically.

Now, anger itself is not a virtue unless it is rooted in good ground. I would contend that we need more anger rooted in social justice. More specifically, we need anger rooted at injustice.

Additionally, we need to make a distinction between anger and hate. Loving our neighbor and enemy still applies. Injustice should anger us. We should not hate people. This requires a certain discipline which is rooted in moral firmness. This moral firmness can be rooted in a religious or secular philosophy. Roots are needed, but the nature of those roots are of minor concern to me.

The proper and the comfortable will surely disagree. They do not make me angry. However, I do laugh at their discomfort.

About Chris Henrichsen

Chris Henrichsen has moved Approaching Justice off of Patheos. Find his latest posts and the new Approaching Justice. Thanks!

  • Margie Harris

    I used to be all about civility. A lot more living and a little more education, and I realize that civility can be overdone.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      I guess pretty much anything can do overdone. Thanks for the comment! :)

  • Niklas

    “we need more anger rooted in social justice.”

    Orson Pratt said:
    “Righteous anger is a feeling of indignation against sin, a feeling of justice, a feeling that the evil-doer merits punishment. This kind of anger is justifiable, whether it exists in the bosom of God, angels, or men”
    (Millennial Star 28:473-474, http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/MStar/id/11872 )

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      Niklas,

      That is an interesting quote. Thanks for sharing. My approach is similar, but less focused on individuals and more on social ills.

  • Lyndee

    So this is who you worship now?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      Nope.

    • Pantaloons

      What does worship have to do with anything?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

        Pantaloons,

        Lyndee is my wife. She is just giving me a hard time.

  • numenian

    Lol, funny article. Has a place in the DSMIV under denial. This is very sick thinking. Insane thinking, really.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      Thanks. I will bring it up with my therapist.

  • numenian

    Whenever I am distrubed, the problem is in me.

    Anger is self-assessment, where we are in need of healing or growth. It is a secondary emotion. This article is extremey sick in its assesrtion that anger is something like a virtue. It is emotional immaturity.

    Victim consciousness, fear, and a sense of entitement honor anger. But yes, in the process of maturity anger is necessary, just like the author suggested. Yet he is stuck.

    “Now, anger itself is not a virtue unless it is rooted in good ground. I would contend that we need more anger rooted in social justice. More specifically, we need anger rooted at injustice.” This sort of thinking is so uttery perverse it is difficut to address. The “unless” in the first sentence informs me that this man is looking for an excuse for his anger. More compassion rooted in social justice is what is really needed, not “we need more anger rooted in social justice.” Anger is wordly and a clear sign of spiriitual immaturity.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      Am I immature or insane? Because now I am just confused.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      It is so utterly perverse and difficult to respond to…yet you are already three comments in.

      I sense much anger in you… :)

  • numenian

    Justice under Christ is restorative, not retributive, so how in heaven’s name does anger help?


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