A Lethal Poison

If you're delivering the good news of the Gospel in anger, you're far from effective. Professor of religion Theodore Pulcini has some keen insights into this horrible ploy in his Touchstone article "Cultivating 'Christian Anger.'"

Using St. John Cassian's "Institutes," Pulcini explores the perniciousness of anger and the catastrophes it causes.

The mark of a Christian is never to demean anyone. We should engage people with grace and when appropriate, humor. Anger, shrillness, and caustic words are the works of the Enemy of the Gospel.


The danger, Kevin, is holding onto the anger. Yes, we should rail against sin, but then we need to give it to God. Healing can take a very, very long time. However, the work that has been done in Rwanda is a magnificent illustration of what happens when people turn to God.
The perpetrators and victims (not all but a significant number) are seeking reconciliation.
What a change
The historic legacy of the Church in her finer moments has been to bear the reproach of her Lord in confronting evil. Unfortunately our caustic responses show more of our growing enculturation by the spirit of the age than they do faithfulness to Christ
But he goes too far
Surely Dr. Pulcini is wrong in maintaining that it is NEVER appropriate for a Christian to be angry at someone else, or something else?

I read the other day about four children in Mindanao who were scavenging for scrap metal to sell. They entered someone's backyard, and that man took them captive. Two of the children escaped, but an 8- and 11-year old could not. The man murdered them (possibly torturing them first), then burned their bodies.

Even if one acknowledges that the perpetrator is not right in the head, still it is surely appopriate to be angry about the murders? And even if forgiveness is extended, even that acknowledges that there has been an offense, and possibly that that offense is anger-able. (Well, if 'actionable' can be a word, why not 'angerable'?)

Furthermore, while extending forgiveness is most definitely a good witness, to me it seems that not showing anger is actually a poor witness, because it makes Christians looks as though we don't really care, that everything is just kum-ba-ya.
Thank you Kim. This is excellent.
Well put, Kim. It's interesting that you should post this on the same day as a Breakpoint commentary about refugees. After reading the latter, I thought about how many Christians don't sound very Christian when talking about immigrants, especially illegal ones. I'm all for securing our borders--in fact, I think it's insane not to--but we don't need to have such a meanness in our words and tone when we discuss this (or any other) issue.
Who do you think you are telling me not to be Angry? I've as much right to be angry as anyone! Hiss! Growl! Grrr!

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