Saturday, August 28, 2021

I do my best writing when I'm angry.

I do my best writing when I'm angry, and I don't really like being angry.  Go figure.  So, a lot of what I write stays in draft folders and journals because it feels mean, and it isn't particularly helpful to anyone but me.  Some of you somehow combine mean and funny (kudos to you!), but I seem to only be able to combine mean and direct.  This does not seem to be the best combination to compel others, and it reads as self-righteous (and likely is).  

I'm trying to learn to distinguish between righteous anger and unrighteous anger in my life.  I know the difference in definition; it's the application part that gets me.  Also, I seem to be able to combine the two at times.  Is that helpful?  Maybe.  But what is my motivation?  Helping or shaming others? 

Righteous anger is typically anger on behalf of others, anger that sees injustice, anger that wants better for the marginalized.  Unrighteous anger seeks to score points and—indirectly or directly—hopes to shame others.  I'm not really interested in doing that.  Well, if I'm honest, I am a little bit interested in doing that (shaming jerks), but again, it's not really helpful.  It simply encourages me to congratulate myself for not being a jerk (when I'm maybe being a jerk).  Go away irony!  

It's good to write because no matter my feelings or motivations, writing helps me understand what I think and why I think it.  And even if I'm being a jerk, it's good to write the jerkiness down, but it is probably not good to share it with anyone but God.  Maybe it should only be a whiny lament to God, who will no doubt help me see better and through a lens of grace; rather than a whiny rant to you (and everyone!  this is the world wide web!) that is helpful to no one.

So, I'm trying to develop a list of questions for myself that will guide what I post.  Here goes:

  • What is my goal here?  
  • Am I trying to help bring peace, or am I trying to be clever?
  • Am I helping or hurting?
  • Am I trying to shame a jerk or am I being a jerk (or both)?
  • Is this a prayer of lament meant only for God?

I'm working on this.  I haven't really figured it out, but I'll keep trying.

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