Pushing back on the "sin" of anger

saw this image today on the "sin" of anger and need to push back:

I need to push back on the idea that anger (in and of itself) is sin.

That idea that anger is always sin..

- well, let me tell you about a Sunday School lesson we taught on propitiation. A student asked, "what is propitiation" - that's when God's anger is satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

"That can't be right, because anger is a sin and if God gets angry, He can't be God!"

Emotion (yes, even anger) is the catalyst for action

Do you get angry when you know that unborn babies are being slaughtered in the womb? (if not, why not?) If yes, that anger may spur you on to action, whether it be talking to a pregnant mom and talking her out of abortion, it may lead to being a foster parent, it may get you out of the sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic.Are you angry at injustice? Then get going and work for justice.The point is, it is not sinful to be angry at the things that God is angry at.If we're angry at things that God does not get angry at, the root sin may not be anger, it may be pride, selfishness, lust.

It is only when we examine ourselves through the lens of Scripture that we know if our anger is sinful.

"Feelings and Faith" is a helpful book on understanding emotions

"We are created in the image of God and that includes our emotions (which are marred by sin) - however, emotions are more than feelings; they are the expressions of our values and evaluations that affect motives and conduct"

Brian Borgman, "Feelings and Faith: Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life"

From the same book:

Although anger is a common and harmful sin, anger in and of itself is not sinful. In fact, our capacity to be angry is a reflection of the image of God in us.

Emotion (yes, even anger) is the catalyst for action.

Do you get angry when you know that unborn babies are being slaughtered in the womb? (if not, why not?) If yes, that anger may spur you on to action, whether it be talking to a pregnant mom and talking her out of abortion, it may lead to being a foster parent, it may get you out of the sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic.

Are you angry at injustice? Then get going and work for justice. The point is, it is not sinful to be angry at the things that God is angry at.

In my first marriage, there were things to be angry about. Those things spurred me action - boundaries, accountability, conditions. Because I was angry enough to *DO* something, my marriage got better.

If we're angry at things that God does not get angry at, the root sin may not be anger, it may be pride, selfishness, lust. It is only when we examine ourselves through the lens of Scripture that we know if our anger is sinful.

I just finished "Things We Couldn't Say"  by Diet Eman, published in 1999.

The book, "Things We Couldn't Say" is simultaneously hopeful and fearful; the author can lament the situation while resting in the love of God.

Diet Eman and her fiance, Hein Sietsma, watched from the beginning on Nazi occupation in the Netherlands, wondering, "what is starting here?" to  "what can we do?" to "what *SHOULD* we do?"

Diet Eman is in the company of Corrie Ten Boom - in fact, at one point they were in the same prison camp.  If anything, Eman was more involved in the Resistance Network than Ten Boom was.

Why did she do what she did?

As a Reformed Christian, Eman's philosophy of the resistance was based in her faith in God and that faith spurred her into action.  At her most exhausted and in her moments of deepest fear, it was God that carried her.

She wrote: 

When I opened the book [the Bible] that night at the end of February 1945, it said, "Being exhausted, yet keeping up the pursuit" (Judges 8:4). Even after what I had said of wanting out, even after that humiliation, the physical exhaustion, the deep despair I felt, those words were my new marching orders. The next morning, I swung my rucksack over my shoulders and was off again.

 Most authors put the "why I wrote this book" at the beginning. 

 The author puts her reasons for writing in the postscript - she wanted to forget. When Corrie Ten Boom come to the town Eman was living in (Grand Rapids, MI) Eman began being convicted that 

...every time I opened the Bible something like "Tell the great things I have done" stared me in the face. Then a pastor who knew that I had been in the same prison as Corrie asked me to speak to his church. I wanted to scream, "No, I want to forget," but I didn't dare. So I went, but it was very difficult.  (Diet Eman;James Schaap. Things We Couldn't Say (Kindle Locations 3502-3504). Kindle Edition.)

Friends and family began to encourage her to write her story as a sort of therapy. She needed to write and the world needed to know.

All those years between WWII and when she told the story, she kept her diaries and letters and those of her fiance, Hein.  She shares those notes and fills in the blanks with her memories.

We read along as Diet goes from an innocent child, to a young woman in love with a young man, and then she becomes a confused Dutch woman unsure of what to do in the face of an invading force and then she launches into the Resistance.

Diet spent months in a Nazi prison camp, where she wrote:

And also, I forget to see that this all happens with God's permission. I keep on staring at the injustice which our country and people are suffering, but I forget that you bring your trials on this earth because you deem this necessary, otherwise it would not have happened. (location 412)

 Why does it matter?

As I write this review, I'm listening to the radio.  I am writing with the memory of last Wednesday, when a mob of people stormed the Capital Building. The President has been banned from a couple of social media platforms and an entire social media network (Parler) has been removed from app stores and has had their website taken down by their ISP.  Senator Ronis in "facebook jail" for unknown reasons.  

Reports of people who were merely present at the protest - on the fringes, *NOT* part of the mob who stormed the gates - being turned in by grandchildren and getting fired from their jobs.  For peaceful assembly!

Diet wrote:

What will this year bring us? Peace? Liberty? Reunion? Lord, you know it already! This time last year, when we were all together, we would never have thought that all this would happen! But you knew it. And we still have to give you thanks, for in some way this is necessary for the big plan you have for this world.

The Biden Administration is about to begin. I watch who is being "cancelled", who is being fired, and who is being silenced.

 My husband posted:"When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar. You're only telling the world that you fear what he might say."- George R.R. Martin

This book is a "must read"

 The book has a tragic story, but the way that's it's written catches at the heart.  Going back and forth from Hein to Diet, reading their diaries and letters, one can see how each person reacts to an event (the queen of the Netherlands escaping to England)

Reading the book, while watching our own current events unfold is unsettling.

Read it...think on it...and (I think) be prepared to ponder where your own "line in the sand" will be.

Psalms 104

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

    O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

    covering yourself with light as with a garment,

    stretching out the heavens like a tent.

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;

he makes the clouds his chariot;

    he rides on the wings of the wind;

he makes his messengers winds,

    his ministers a flaming fire.

He set the earth on its foundations,

    so that it should never be moved.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment;

    the waters stood above the mountains.

At your rebuke they fled;

    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.

The mountains rose, the valleys sank down

    to the place that you appointed for them.

You set a boundary that they may not pass,

    so that they might not again cover the earth. (read the whole thing)

My favorite hymn today - Before the Throne of God Above

1 Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.


My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heav'n he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

2 When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.


Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on him and pardon me,
To look on him and pardon me.

3 Behold him there! The risen Lamb,
My perfect, spotless righteousness;
The great unchangeable "I AM,"
The King of glory and of grace!


One with himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by his blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God,
With Christ, my Savior and my God!

~~~

Rest in those lyrics...

Things We Couldn't Say

"Things We Couldn't Say" is the true story of Diet Eman and Hein Sietsma (her fiance) told through their journals leading up to, and through, the German occupation of Holland.

I'm part way through, but so far it's been a good read.

What I find interesting is the responses of the two people, one man and one woman, to different situations. They were separated when the queen took the entire government and escaped to England - his response was anger at the "desertion" and hers was despair at the "abandonment".

Her journal tells of her fear at the though to Hein being caught while in hiding from the Germans, and the caution that she had to take while moving him from home to home without being discovered.

His journal tells of his fear for her and his anger at not being able to protect her.

I'm getting value from the book and it's another story of Christians helping Jews escape persecution that we all should remember.

Setting Intentions and Goals for 2021

I want to do some goal setting for 2021.

2020 was a hot mess! I cannot change the world in 2021, but I can change my little corner of it - meaning I can set goals that will improve me.

Oola goal setting looks interesting and I think I'll use that as a starting point. I am *NOT* going to set a bunch of goals for January 1 and get overwhelmed. I'll pick a goal or two, and create a habit a week...we'll see.

Oola has 7 life areas that keep us centered: family, faith, friends, field (career), fitness, finance, fun. I suppose that when I was typing these from memory that the one I couldn't remember is the one that I "scored" the lowest on!

One caution, if you're a stay-at-home wife - one of the field questions is whether or not your job could support you. I work part time so my answer is near the bottom, individually. I answered the finance questions as a family unit, since my husband and I are a team, but the "field" questions are rigged for independence.

Fitness is my first goal areas. Exercise 5x/week.

There! Easy Peasy!

I have a couple of BIG goals for this year.

  1. hike to the top of Job's Peak - it's not as bad as it looks; the trail head is on the back side of the range. It's a strenuous hike and it has amazing views. I can see this peak from my office window, so to see my house from the top would be amazing.
Job's Peak, taken with my iPhone, at the corner by my house.

2. Make my weight goal (about 50 pounds to lose). I have the tools, now I need to strength.

3. Start logging miles on the Tahoe Rim Trail, with the longer terms goal of backpacking part of the Pacific Crest Trail.

About Deacon King Kong

James McBride wrote “Deacon King Kong” in third-person narration, hopping back and forth between characters.  Set in 1960’s New York City, the story begins with an act that makes so sense. The story ends about the same...making no sense.

As the book goes on, you do get the feel of the back story – living in Black New York City. You see the business of dealing or using drugs, getting “stuck” in this life with no way out. 

When I reached the halfway point in the book, I realized that I kept picking it up for no other reason other than I had committed to read it in a “reading challenge.”  After finishing the story, I still cannot discern the main message.  I can pick out several possibilities, but only one that has any sort of closure.

About the story

The basic story begins as the main character (Sportcoat) shoots a drug dealer and sets off a comical series of mishaps that ricochet throughout the book.  From undercover cops, to mob bosses, to drug distributors, to preacher’s wives…they all interact in some interesting and improbably ways.

This book received an astonishing number of outstanding reviews – including Oprah and Barack Obama. This does not leave me with much confidence in their tastes in books.  But so many recommendations leave me wondering if I wandered off into the twilight zone.

I read enough fiction books that keep me reading to find out where the characters end up and what their lives look like.  “Deacon King Kong” had so little character development that I had little or no interest in them.  What does Sportcoat like?  Other than King Kong (homemade adult beverage) I’m not sure what he wants.

Not Recommended

I did find that they book requires so little brain energy that if a reader wants “cotton candy for the brain” (not very filling with no nutritional value) – Deacon King Kong might fit those taste buds.

James McBride has written a number of other books (I have not read any of them so I can’t compare) and I don’t think I will read more of his works. 

Nor would I recommend Deacon King Kong. There’s just not enough character or plot development, no closure on the big story lines and too few interesting plots.


Why?

Once in a while you come across a book that you just cannot figure out why you still pick it up. I put "Deacon King Kong" in my "WHY?" category.

Some fiction books keep me reading to find out what happens with a particular character. Does he survive? Do they find love? Does she enjoy life?

None of the characters in this book catch my attention.

The main character is Sport Coat --AKA Deacon King Kong, as he says he is a deacon at a church and his adult beverage of choice is a homemade concoction called "King Kong"

Sport Coat talks to his dead wife (she talks back), shoots a local drug dealer, unknowingly acts as a gardener for a mob boss's mother, thwarts a hit man (three times) and drunkenly moves through life without a clue.

The story line moves between Sport Coat, a local drug supplier and the mob boss. I am not sure how they intertwine.

I'm 80% done with the book and I'm not sure where it's going and the only reason I pick it up is because I put it in my "published in 2020"

Barack Obama named it as one of his favorite books of the year...this does nothing for my estimation of Barack Obama.