rants in your pants

23 08 2009
X Factor

X Factor

There was a bloke on the X Factor yesterday who suggested that despite the name of the band being Triple Trouble (or something like that), he wasn’t the kind of’ ‘hoodie’ who caused trouble, but just liked singing and making music. I wasn’t sure I believed him (call me a cynic), and then when it turned out his primary talent is about as far from singing as Simon Cowell is to a counsellor, and chose to tell him, he reacted angrily, demonstrating that perhaps “Triple Trouble” was the correct name after all (and I had a self-righteous moment).

BBC News

BBC News

More reflections on the X-Factor to come, especially with the new format adding, I think, to the confrontational and ‘freak show’ element…  however, this time it was the reaction I was interested in. It is amazing what a sense of injustice can make us do, how quickly it can change our mood. From being cut up in the car, or someone stealing ‘our place’ in the check-out queue (‘our place’ – hehe we humans are so possessive!), to bigger things, like the banks making new money whilst others lose thier livelihoods or  this situation about the release of  Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, (dodgily convicted) suspect of the Lockerbie bombing. When things go wrong, how we rant, how we get angry – sometimes, sometimes, with justification.

Where do we rant? Anywhere. The US Government is ranting in an unprecedented way at Scotland (see Nick’s blog for reflection on that); the X-Factor blogs are full of rants about the justices and injustices or judges decisions and the format of the show. Tabloids are full of rants, blogs are full of rants ( am I ranting?), the Psalms are full of rants. The what? The Psalms? In the Bible?  I thought that was all safe and harmless, religious stuff? And I thought you were going to tell me ranting was wrong?

No, no. God is constantly on the end of rants from men and women unhappy at the injustices going on in the world, unhappy at his perceived inaction in the face of it; he is not a God we are afraid to face with our anger. Do not be afraid to face him with your anger.

He is not, though, happy with the kind of rant we might blog, under a pseudonym, venting our frustration in words we wouldn’t use if people knew who we were or could answer back; he is interested and yearns for us to express our anger passionately and vehemently, and (just about!) controllably. A man called Bill Hybels once said that if you discover what makes you angry, you discover your passion. What makes you angry? Is it injustice, inequality, unfairness, gossip, bitterness, poverty? Is it words, is it music, is it the very meaning of life itself? Turn that anger into holy passion and, as Hybels said in Courageous Leadership, the local church is the hope of the world.

Sometimes though prayer can seem so very diluted, weakened (especially, I should know, in churches), when it should be passionate, colourful, angry. Instead of beginning “Dear Lord…”, maybe we should begin “For crying out loud! Aaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I wrote this about prayer once.

a gentle clearing of the throat

prayer is like a gentle clearing of the throat
a careful excuse me
ignoring the ‘do not disturb’ sign
but only to slip a note
or a gentle clearing of the throat
to draw attention
without causing tension

but prayer feels like it ought to involve
more shouting
some shoving and
some flouting of the rules
some yelling because we should be telling it like it is
not quietly murmuring
but loudly stirring
earnestly yearning for God to hear
to act
to reach from his pedestal
to change all that is cruel and heartless and human
inhuman
inhumane

because his name means God with us
because prayers mean God help us
our cry us say something to us

yet in this moment of tension
and pleading
we pause…

and in faith are conceding, of course,
to hear
we must listen.

© Kevin Lewis 2007

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2 responses

15 02 2010
Jez

Again another brilliant summary of the way things should be! Prayer isn’t something that should just be whispered in the quiet (although it does have its place). It should be shouted from the rooftops with passion and belief!!

10 06 2011
a gentle clearing of the throat « the blog of kevin

[…] this is an edited version of a poem that first featured in rants in your pants […]

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