Righteous Anger and Prophetic Protest

Published: July 24, 2013

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Reading the news these days makes me really angry. I see injustice and violence that at times seems impossible to overcome.  Even more maddening, I hear people in power deny the very existence of problems like racism, sexism, and systemic poverty that still plague our country.

I have a few choice words for those people.  They’re not exactly approved for all audiences. But they’re really nothing compared to the stuff that the prophet Micah throws down in one of the most interesting passages our Hebrew Bible class examined last semester:

Listen, you rulers of Jacob,
You chiefs of the House of Israel!
For you ought to know what is right,
But you hate good and love evil,
You have devoured My people’s flesh;
You have flayed the skin off them,
And the flesh off their bones.
And after tearing their skin off them,
And their flesh off their bones,
And breaking their bones to bits,
You have cut it up as into a pot,
Like meat in a caldron.

The revolutionary prophets of the Bible didn’t mince words.  Micah called ‘em like he saw ‘em, and when he saw corrupt and oppressive leaders, he saw predators tearing away at the very flesh of God’s people.

As a Christian, I am called to participate in the continuing act of prophecy – to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  This is not just the calling of great leaders and orators – the Micahs and Sojourner Truths and Martin Luther Kings.  At Wake Div, I’ve been encouraged and affirmed in my belief that every Christian is called to speak truth to power.  Some of my fellow students do this through powerful sermons or inspiring music or revolutionary poetry.  Many others take part in prophetic action by marching in the LGBT Pride parade, teaching people how to grow their own food, or gathering in fellowship and prayer with their Muslim and Jewish neighbors.  Each of these members of my community continually remind me to channel my anger into action.

Photo by Carey Lowenstein; Charlotte Observer.

Photo by Carey Lowenstein; Charlotte Observer.

Here in North Carolina, we are in the midst of a prophetic people’s movement which calls every woman and man to raise their voice.  For the past 11 weeks, people of faith and their allies in the struggle for social justice have gathered at the state capitol for Moral Mondays, our protest against the legislature’s immoral move towards policies that deny North Carolinians their most fundamental rights.  I’m proud to be one of the thousands who have gathered to voice their opposition to legislation that hates good and loves evil. So far, approximately 800 of these prophetic brothers and sisters have been arrested for civil disobedience.  For my part, I’m trying to stay hard at work on the outside as an intern with Planned Parenthood, especially trying to raise awareness about pending legislation that would shut down all but one of the abortion clinics in the state – clinics that also provide life-saving preventative medical care to all people, but especially low-income women.

When I drive up to Raleigh with my friends from Wake Div or fellow volunteers from Planned Parenthood, I know that I’m doing my small part to continue the work of the prophets that came before me, including that great people’s prophet Jesus of Nazareth.  Among our misfit assembly of preachers, rabbis, pagans,  atheists, feminists, military veterans, LGBT people, radical environmentalists, grandmothers, toddlers, teachers, and doctors – of all colors and hues – I think he would fit right in.

place-jessicaJessica Place
MDiv, Second Year