As the time neared for me to begin my tenure as interim editor of Alive Now, I looked with great anticipation over themes for upcoming issues. Which issue, I wondered, was still under construction? On which issue would I begin? Stones, I hoped. The topic resonated deep within me. There's the stone wall I tried to build as a child of seven, the work I did on Jacob's stone in seminary, my favorite hymn with its obscure stone reference. Here was a theme that would stretch my creative gifts.

It was with some disappointment that I realized that the Stones issue would be gone to press before I arrived. My inaugural issue would be the one on Anger. How I could I be intensely creative about anger?

As we began to work on this issue, my appreciation grew for the creative possibilities suggested by a closer look at anger in all its manifestations and expressions. In fact, I came to see a deep connection between anger and the creative force in us all. I was reminded again that God's power extends through every part of our lives: our work and play, our rage and jubilation, our failures and triumphs.

The Bible is a great record of God's constant presence with us. It contains many stories of anger, from murderous sibling rivalry to Jeremiah's anger at God, anger so deep that he wishes he had never been born. Consider Jesus cursing the fig tree, or Paul speaking sharply to the divided Galatians. Just in the Psalms alone, we recognize so many facets of anger -- the burning wrath of the falsely accused (Psalm 69), bitter taunts at adversaries (Psalm 109), and the psalmist shaking a fist toward heaven, declaring, "Why do you sleep, O Lord?" (Psalm 44).

The anger expressed in the Psalms can make us uncomfortable. We may try to avoid this anger, to pretend it's from an earlier, different time. I once heard the scholar Walter Brueggemann suggest that our avoidance might be a mistake. The anger in the Psalm is our anger, he said. We do want to smash our adversaries. We do shake our fist at God, even if we cannot admit it. Every emotion we have ever felt is recorded in the biblical story, and allows us to see ourselves as part of God's ongoing work of creation and redemption.

In this issue, we attempt to illuminate a wide range of Christian views on anger -- from one of the deadly sins to an invitation to action. We examine biblical instances of divine anger, and what it means for God to hate sin. Recognizing our own anger -- and the masks it can wear -- is explored. Our interview with theologian Bonnie Miller-McLemore offers a look at anger within the family. The next section identifies anger as a tool to spur needed change. Then we consider how we experience -- and express -- anger towards God. Finally, we turn toward resolution and reconciliation, both personally and corporately.

We hope this issue of Alive Now helps you explore this rich, and yes, creative theme. May it help you find new understandings of the ways in which all our emotions can be properly returned to God in prayer and praise, in confession and communion, in wonder and woe. God offers to us the presence and power to create from our rough stones a life rich with meaning.

Melissa Tidwell
Interim Editor


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