"I'm not an angry young man anymore," I say to my students when they ask why we don't listen to rock and roll in my classroom. But that doesn't mean the lyrics have left my brain and late last night as I read this Sunday's scriptures, The Who came back and possibly into my sermon. Before I sat down to sermonize I decided I needed some comforting music, nothing agitating for the soul tonight, no Mingus Big Band.
My thoughts are inspired by Isaiah chapter 1. Isaiah is passing on a message from God to wash yourself clean, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.
"Come let us talk this over," God says. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow."
"Yes", I say, "meet the new boss he is the same as the old boss." I don't believe those who say to me that the Old Testament God is mean and the New Testament God is nice. What, God had therapy and became loving 2000 years ago? I don't buy it. My take is that throughout history there has been a fair share of those who choose to view God as an extremely judgmental parent, president, judge, teacher, or friend. Then there are those who see God as loving and forgiving. Isaiah, Jesus, Buechner and Stratoz. After 2000 years of the NT we still have a loud proportion of christians who vote for angry. Fear motivates, but so does love.
Then lately, this thought came to me: if God can love, then why couldn't God get good and angry too. If God has these feelings at all, why be one sided. Isn't life more interesting when we feel a broad range of emotions? Maybe God did go through therapy and has a good handle on the wide range of emotions that is felt while witnessing creation. But just like a good therapist, God is ready to talk things over with us. My hope is that we can handle the emotions that this brings forth.
Yes, I am now an angry, happy, sad, and joyful middle-aged man who is listening to the Modern Jazz
Quartet's take on Bach...