Friday, March 11, 2011

The False God of Rage vs the Quiet Protest

I just saw that a "Day of Rage" is being planned in Saudi Arabia. There's protests all over the Middle East. Protesters shut down the Capitol in Wisconsin. Riots, people shouting angry slogans, sometimes spilling into violence where property and people are burned.

This is why I hate the term Protestant, and why I loath it when I get called a Protestant as a Lutheran. We equal protest with rage and the expression there of. Oh, to be sure, there was plenty of rage being expressed during the Reformation - Zwingli went to war looking for glorious battle, Muenster fell to Anabaptist hordes, Henry cut off heads not for the sake of doctrine but for politics and sex. Plenty of violent protest, plenty of rage.

But with Lutheranism, with the Lutheran ideal? No. Ours was no modern style protest that glorifies the rage and anger of the individual. Our great protest was simply crafting a document, the Augsburg Confession. We had it read in Latin and in German. And the princes there who signed it did not demand bloody revolt, they did not call for the head of the Emperor... rather in humility they offered their heads to him, saying that they would rather die than give up the faith.

Today, so much focus is upon not only expressing your anger, but trying to change, manipulate, and force others to change. Seemingly gone is the quiet protest - the person doing what is right even if it brings him harm, the person who loves the neighbor instead of bludgeoning him with a stick and demanding that he accede to your demands.

Do you feel rage and anger? They are not fruits of the Spirit - but peace is. And love. And self-control. Bend not your knee to the false god of Rage. Instead, power your head in prayer, and if called upon to suffer indignities, still show love. Defend your neighbor firmly and adamantly, but without rancor towards the guilty... indeed, they should be pitied. Anyone trapped in sin deserves our pity and prayers.

We are Lutherans. We are the people of the quiet, humble protest - not the ravings of the world. God grant us peace.

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