The Psalmist urges: "leave rage alone." It's a plea, wise counsel, I wish talk radio, some TV, and certainly a lot of letter and opinion writers in my local newspaper would heed, including Christians among them.
(Yes, I know the gospels say Jesus used a whip to chase the money changers from the temple, but Jesus was acting for justice, not ratings and circulation.)
I hear and read a lot of rage, but little reflection on issues of the day, all of which demand a thoughtful, respectful response from people of faith. All faiths.
In promoting rage and ,worse, by engaging in it, we divert ourselves from useful dialogue on the polarizing issues of the day: abortion, stem cell research, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, global warming, health care, and more.
And we avoid resolving our differences on these issues in a consensual, community-strengthening way.
Rage--while arguably satisfying, if only temporarily--only increases the divisions among us. It weakens, even breaks, bonds among us as Christians, as Americans, as global citizens.
We forget poet John Donne's famous line: "No man is an island." We are all interdependent creatures. We ignore founder Benjamin Franklin's comment at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "We either hang together or we all hang separately."
We need not less talk and writing, but more talk and writing that reject the easy illogic of arguments ad hominem and unsupported personal opinions, but embrace the hard work of emotional discipline or even suspension, rational, intelligent analysis; civil debate, and earnest problem-solving for the good of all.
My hope is that such an approach, quixotic as it is, will guide Springfield, this nation, and the Episcopal Church, especially as my church meets in General Convention this summer and deals with tormentingly difficult issues, including same-sex blessings.