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
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
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