ETERNAL LOVE…AND EVERLASTING RAGE
Throughout much of my life I assumed fury merely popped up periodically among families but over the years I’ve learned that it can have staying power. It struck me when a woman in her sixties attended my church for a few weeks. She finally said “I grew up in the Baptist church and now I want to become a Methodist but I will have to wait until my 95-year-old mother dies.” I thought she was joking until she assured me her mother still had fits of anger over her faith. Six months later the daughter said “OK, Pastor, she died and I’m ready to be a Methodist!”
I heard about a prominent author who chose to stop worshipping with his family’s faith community. When his father was dying, the last words he uttered to his son was “Go to church, dammit!”
A seemingly gentle lady in another church revealed that she has six grown kids, three are progressive and three are ultra conservatives. She revealed that she was at wits end trying to calm them down about issues during the Thanksgiving dinners. She decided to tape on her front door one year a statement that read “If you plan to be become infuriated over politics or religion today you can just turn around and go back to your own homes!” They did but they were so ashamed they sent notes of remorse and promised to behave next time. I don’t think the offspring believed their mother could be enraged but she admitted to me that she felt it full bore every year.
Why are we so reluctant or afraid to release some of our ire among our families and church members? I’m not sure but there is another annual battle zone that begins on Thanksgiving among shoppers. It’s known as the Black Friday Mob when and where we may find our neighbors and church friends who might get punched. Shoppers will take things from another’s cart and manage to bash each other every year.
Will our not-so-nice subterranean impulses ever vanish? Here’s hoping that Bruce Bliven, when he penned these words, was thinking of us.
“Human nature can be changed with the greatest ease and to the utmost possible extent. If huge…dangers lie in this, it also contains great hope for the future of humankind.” Forbes, 1956