Introduction by Ken Sehested
Years ago, in putting together a special issue of Baptist Peacemaker on the topic of anger, I asked two friends (thanks again, Steve & Marion) to do a bit of research. Read through the Psalms, I asked, and compile a list of verses that speak about anger and its various synonyms—expressions of hatred, longing for vengeance, threat of retaliation, etc.
Needless to say, there is a lot there; and it’s actually shocking that the believing community’s prayer book contains such a level of vile and violent accusations and bequests. (This material is formally referred to as the imprecatory psalms.)
In his Praying the Psalms, biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann says this material reveals ancient Israel doing three things. “First, you must voice the rage. Everybody knows that. Everybody in the therapeutic society knows that you must voice it, but therapeutic society stops there. Second, you must submit it to another, meaning God in this context. Third, you then must relinquish it and say, ‘I entrust my rage to you.’” Read more ›