Holy Rage

 You make the rules and then you change the game. You join the club and, because you are above simply breaking the rules, you seek to change them. Both of these courses of action would make you unpopular at school, and perhaps did, among some, but on the whole your personal aura drew people to you, as they still do. You don’t exactly have a magnetic charm. Quite the reverse in fact. There is a kind of compelling ghastliness about you, about the way you behave in public and in private and about the shoddiness of your appearance which reflects that behaviour. Unfortunately, you represent all of us, so in you, we, as a nation, experience shame.

We do not, of course, always experience it directly. Much of the time it is channelled to us through the agency of those close to you. We wonder how they can bear having to do that. We hope they do not believe in the things they do and say that cause us to feel shame, but they probably do. They appear to feel no shame whatsoever.

The shame we are experiencing here in the UK as a result of your government’s policies on refugees and hence in regard to how it places us morally in the wider global community, as it tries to manouevre its way around laws enshrined in the European Court of Human Rights, makes many of us angry. We are angry because we feel shamed. We not only feel for those caught in the effect of the game and rule changing machinations that you and your government deploy in order to maintain your grip on power, we feel it for ourselves in a quite personal way. But we are perhaps partly to blame. We are each of us paying the price for being a society that spits indifferently on its most precious asset, the freedom to dissent, protest and, if necessary, overthrow the evil in its midst. We are morally weak. Perhaps we deserve the government we are maintaining in power.

As a free society we cannot get away from the fact that we are personally responsible for that evil, in some measure at least. We may not have voted for it, but it is still here and likely to remain here like an untreated sore unless we feel sufficient outrage for the shame we are being forced to bear and the anger that goes with it.

But there is hope, and the hope lies with all of us. I am talking about the ‘God perspective’, a way of seeing things which also strengthens the collective will to the good if properly deployed. It gives licence to something more than righteous indignation, or even moral outrage. It permits, and even requires, holy rage. Holy rage is not only right, but desirable, when a people are shamed by those who govern them.

Holy rage, properly used, can wreak total destruction on the enemy and do so without shedding a drop of innocent blood, or breaking any of the laws we hold sacred; those which pertain directly to the freedom and dignity of the human person, especially to the oppressed and the vulnerable, to the expectation that vows made by the powerful to those whose lives they directly influence will be kept, along with integrity in regard to the things we say we believe in when we join an organisation or a political party.

I am not a member of the Conservative party, so perhaps it is unfair of me to say to those who are, please, please feel free to leave. This is not the time for loyalty, or for any kind of closing of ranks. Your leader has lied to you. We are not ‘in this together’, but we could be, if you show him the exit door by foregoing all further allegiance to him or to those who support him. It is the time for holy rage and you, of all people, must lead the way in deploying it.

Author: Lorraine Cavanagh

Anglican priest living in Wales, UK. Author. Books include 'In Such Times - Reflections On Living With Fear' (Wipf and Stock 2019), 'Waiting On The Word - Preaching Sermons That Connect People With God' (DLT 2017), 'Finding God In Other Christians' (SPCK 2014), 'Beginning Again' (Kindle e-book 2015) All books available from Amazon

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