This has taken a long time.
I’ve tried to write several blog posts since the last one back in October, but they’ve all descended into angry rants, filled with what could only be called ‘agricultural’ language.
In November I tried to write coherently about Trump’s election – epic rant! Couldn’t post it.
In December I tried to write a considered and reflective blog about loss, given the number of the ‘great and the good’ who shuffled off this mortal coil in 2016 – just got morose, and then quite ranty … I mean David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood all gone but Farage, Gove, Johnson and, yes, Trump are still hanging in like suppurating pustules on the backside of humanity … see … ranty!
Last week as the New Year turned, I tried to write a more cheerful, and to be honest blandly generic, ‘Happy New Year’ cum ‘New Year’s Resolution’ type post – but it felt like all my resolutions were turning vaguely homicidal … see above … and there was something unreal about it. I felt it when I read people on my various ‘echo-chamber’ social media feeds talking about how we should put our shoulder to the wheel in 2017 and fight against injustice, prejudice and whatever else ended in ‘-ice’ as an antidote to what felt like a rising ‘alt-right’ tide. Couldn’t do it … couldn’t be unfailingly positive, or even resolutely determined … I still can’t.
I tried – on and off, from November onwards – to write about searching for a new, a better ‘label’ now that I felt like the ‘Evangelical’ label had been left in tatters thanks to prominent voices campaigning for, and then celebrating, a triumphalist ‘God wanted Trump’ trip … but …RANTY McRANTFACE!!!
And then in the midst of all my profanity laden ranting and my thinking that this blogging malarkey might be doomed I realised something …
It’s okay to rant.
In fact, I think we might – as people of faith – be required to rant. I think it is part of the job description.
You see, I don’t believe in a Jesus who is ‘meek and mild’ nor do I recognise a Jesus so ‘spiritual’ that He’s no earthly use, and I’m damn sure that I don’t believe in a Jesus who promises me ‘prosperity’ if I’ll only send in my ‘seed offering’ to some corrupt televangelist.
I believe in the power and example of a Jesus who resolutely confronted the excesses and evils of temporal and religious power; a Jesus who stood squarely against the collusion, corruption and capitulation of faith in the service of expedient politics. I believe in a Jesus who preached against the leaders of faith that condoned the status quo because it served their own agendas and authority. I believe in a Jesus that never shied from speaking truth to power. I believe in a Jesus who would call out the hypocrisy of religious leaders and name them as the “brood of vipers” that they were … In short, I believe in a Jesus who could rant with the best of them.
And so, I will rant.
Hopefully, not in a ‘that man’s a lunatic’ manner (well, no more than usual), but rather ranting in what I’d like to believe is the right way… ranting like a good old fashioned prophet.
Ranting like Amos shouting at the privileged in Jerusalem that God wasn’t interested in their extravagant worship when justice and righteousness had been silenced by greed and oppression. Or ranting like someone bewildered and embarrassed by so-called prosperity gospel proclaimers asking their congregations to contribute towards a new private jet for instance …
Ranting like Jeremiah when he rails against the ‘professional’ prophets and priests of Jerusalem and stands up against the lies and the delusions they present. Or ranting against alleged Christian leaders who championed the cause of someone who presents as a deeply divisive, terrifyingly brittle, narcissistic, twitter obsessed sex-pest …
Ranting like John the Baptist who harangued the corrupt authorities, and even questioned the morality of a king. Or ranting against those who question and condemn the right of people to protest or the right of people to express a different opinion, or the right of a free press holding the powerful to account, without shouting ‘fake news’ or ‘post-truth’ or even ‘I won!’
Ranting like someone prepared to ‘speak truth to power’ and to talk about freedom for captives and sight for the blind, to say to those in charge that this isn’t their world to ruin for their own ends but that this is the year of the Lord’s favour …
Ranting as a way to find, and express, that God-given voice that looks at the world and says, “Excuse me? Really?” and then perhaps even moves on to ask, “Isn’t there a better way to do this?” Ranting like someone convinced that the better way, the best way is to try and walk in the ancient footsteps of an itinerant ex-carpenter and his followers to try and set this modern world on its head just as much as they did in the past …
And so, even as I recognise that it seems inconsequential and perhaps even self-indulgent, I will rant. And I encourage you to do so too. Find your God-given voice and speak the words inside – words of hope, of life, of truth, of peace, of justice and of grace.
Rant over… for now.