Oneing: Anger

Oneing: Anger


This limited-print issue of CAC’s journal, Oneing, features Richard Rohr, Barbara Brown Taylor, Walter Brueggemann, Joan Halifax, Barbara Holmes, Brian McLaren, Mirabai Starr, and others.

From Richard Rohr’s Introduction:

Even if you are angry, do not sin because of it. Never let the sun set on your anger or you will give the devil a foothold. —Ephesians 4:26

This oft-missed line in the New Testament shows real insight and almost modern psychological awareness. It is cleverly able to make a subtle distinction between having a feeling and being controlled by that feeling. Necessary and helpful emotions are very different than personal identification with those same emotions. Only the latter is seen as a problem, or a “foothold” for evil.

Emotions do not just go away. They must be felt, their honest message must be heard, and only then can we release ourselves from their fascination over us. . . .
Seeing any emotion, even if it is negative, as a “sin” is not useful, because guilt and shame, or any sense that “God is upset” with us, usually only increases our negativity and fear—which causes us to close down all the more. In other words, our emotions become more complex, more conflicted, more repressed—and thus less honest “reflections” of reality.

Anger is good and very necessary to protect the appropriate boundaries of self and others. . . . I would much sooner live with a person who is free to get fully angry, and also free to move beyond that same anger, than with a negative person who is hard-wired with resentments and preexisting judgments. Their anger is so well hidden and denied—even from themselves—that it never comes up for the fresh air of love, conversation, and needed forgiveness.