Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Bee in My Bonnet

J G-W said:

Anger is not so functional when it comes to communicating across difference. In fact, anger is dysfunctional for that. It frightens and intimidates. It shuts people down and closes off communication. I've also found that while anger got me to a very important place in my life, it also closed me off from important things that I needed to learn, and cut me off from very important aspects of myself that I've needed to integrate in order to evolve as a human being.

My dilemma is that while I want to build bridges and have meaningful (and compassionate) exchange with people on all points of the spectrum, there are a few areas where laissez-faire fails me.

It's almost impossible for me not to be angry about moral outrages like tacit ecclesiastical approval of suicide in gay youth or the encouragement of ill-advised marriages that almost always cause suffering and misery.

I am not angry about my own experience in the church. The past is what it is, and my memories are mixed. They include some very warm, wonderful moments.

I am not angry with those who continue to believe and practice their religion. It is the right of every person to chart his or her own course through life, and it is the responsibility of us all to treat each other with respect and civility.

I am not angry with those whose intolerance of injustice encourages them to speak with candor and passion and jolt us out of our comfort zone.

I give my best wishes to all who read this, whether your views line up with mine or not. I hope there will be something here that you find useful and that we can continue to engage in ways that help us all.


J G-W said...

Wow! Cool! Someone wanted to quote me!!

That was part of a longer exchange in which I also acknowledged that anger is functional for certain things -- like survival, for instance. It is also useful when it motivates us to try to make positive changes in our environment.

Anger is a feeling, and like all feelings, is neither good nor bad in and of itself. However, we can also choose to cultivate anger, provoke anger, escalate anger... I'm dubious about its value as a cultivated mode of relating to the world or other human beings.

I have come to realize ways in which anger has hurt me over the years, so I treat my anger, like my sexuality, with reverence and caution. I find that the Spirit is a powerful, positive presence in my life when I find ways to diminish or let go of anger.

I would never suggest, though, that another person is not entitled to their own anger. Stifling anger or denying it is just as destructive, I think, as dwelling on it or escalating it.

MoHoHawaii said...

Hey, J G-W, of course you get quoted. You da man.