The Role of Outrage in the Christian Life

A Call to Prayer & Action for Las Vegas

When I talk to groups about my memoir, one of the topics I address is the role of outrage in the Christian life. After I was raped at gunpoint I was nearly crippled by fear, terror, and fury. The world I lived in seemed outrageous to me. It’s not surprising that most Christians shy away from experiencing, or expressing, outrage and other strong emotions. After all, these emotions are painful to experience and dangerous to express. Some people even consider these emotions sinful.

But is it necessarily outrageous to be outraged? If outrage goes unacknowledged it creates its own little snowball, cold and icy, in much the same way that a person can become afraid of fear.

Perhaps one of the gifts of experiencing trauma is learning to co-exist with strong emotions. Fear, terror, anger, and outrage can be crippling, yet they can also provide a source of energy. The heat of outrage can mobilize a person toward right action.

Now there has been another mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. Of course our hearts are broken for this senseless violence. But I suggest to you that offering our “thoughts and prayers” alone is not enough. There is right action to be pursued.

You might be interested in seeing these good words from the PCUSA, which are a call to prayer and action. It is time to mobilize for gun safety legislation. How will you make your voice heard?

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I'm an essayist, memoirist, and Presbyterian pastor. My books are both spiritual memoirs -- "Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land" and "Ruined."