N.B. I do not want to turn this into a political blog, because quite frankly, I know squat about politics, but there is a large part of me that has recently gotten angry at the mess the world is in. Let me explain.
Over the last few weeks, thousands of school and university students have marched the streets around Parliament - outraged that Nick Clegg is backing down from his pre-election promses. Apart from a minority of students (or maybe not) getting carried away and spoiling what was otherwise a peaceful protest, I would commend these students for getting passionate about something that affects them.
So often young people get accused of being violent, uncaring hooligans. But in my experience, and especially in my work with young people - if facilitated the right way, young people get angry about a whole load of injustice that generally passes older Christians by. To be young is often to be powerless to the oppression of the 'world of adults' that operates without (and often without thought of) you. But young people have such a strong sense of justice that they often are moved to action a lot sooner than others when they feel injustice has been done.
Many have preached; and will preach for many years to come; about the danger of anger. Many more have interpreted this to mean that anger is bad. I would say that anger - to get angry at something - is a good emotion. Anger promotes action. Anger discourages passive behaviour. Anger promotes change. Anger discourages the status quo. Anger, as an emotion in itself, is not bad - even though some may react to the reaction in a negative and sinful way. What I have been discovering is that God requires us to be good AND angry. This is something that I have been working through personally for many months, but I was reading a book someone gave me for Christmas last year, and found an excellent chapter all about this. (You can find the same book here.)
Paul Tripp does an excellent job in promoting the 'good and angry' position that he believes Christ is calling us to be in. Think about this. How often do we (by we, I mean the Church) get angry about the state of the world? If your answer is not in the present then maybe we are missing something. Recently, I have discovered the divine art of getting angry. God does not call us to put up with injustice, but to fight it. (And by fight, I mean with passion - not violence... Jesus/Gandhi style all the way.)
So maybe it is time for the church to get angry: To get angry about the suffering of the oppressed and the poor. To get angry about the children caught up in violence and abuse. To get angry at the lack of support for those seeking assylum. To get angry about the businesses that use slave and cheap labour to create chocolate, clothes, cars and iPods. To get angry about the children growing up without parents due to HIV. To get angry about the thousands of women and children sold into the sex trade every year. To get angry about the Sex Shop opening up near a school. To get angry at the drug dealers who target young and vulnerable people. To get angry about God's creation being desecrated to feed our consumerist culture. To get angry about the people who gossip about the church leaders. To get angry about the church leaders who do gossip about their church members. To get angry at those who stop at nothing to gain power, status and money.
But in our anger - let us not be moved to violence and sinful behaviour - but let us be motivated into doing something about these issues - whether that be a protest, boycott, or simply a change in our attitude to the way we approach things, and the way we treat others around us. And if you really think there is nothing in this world worth getting angry about - get your head out of the sand, and look around you. For where there is broken and hurting people, the Church needs to act.