In reference to the Disturbed video I posted Saturday, ER commented that he appreciated my little self-indulgent commentary, because, among other things, he claims he is old. As he is one year older than me, I would tend to dispute that claim in the interests of self-preservation. Yet, I got thinking about a conversation the missus and I had a few years back when I purchased the Disturbed CD from which "Pray" came, along with another CD I have, A Murder of Crows by Dead Soul Tribe.
In reference to "Pray", and another song, "Liberate", I enthusiastically encouraged my wife - hardly a fan of contemporary heavy metal - to check out the lyrics to both songs. She did so, and listened to both as well. Her only real comment was, "I like what he has to say, but why does he have to be so angry?" I didn't have an answer at the time (surprise, surprise), but I have thought about it more and more over the years, and I think the answer is, "Because anger is sometimes the only appropriate response to the world." Like my post yesterday, frustration with the confusion and contradiction, the horror and absurdity of life sometimes leads to simple tantrums. Such venting exercises are a necessary part of life for anyone who is sensitive enough to the plight of others. Addressing them to God in the form of prayer also helps to make sure one is not being self-indulgent, but actually seeking to move beyond simple ranting towards a solution. As ER noted yesterday, Jeremiah and Habakkuk both managed to get their rants included in the Bible, so there is some precedent for it.
In regards to the song "Flies" by Dead Soul Tribe (also "I'm not Waving"), she asked me, after perusing the lyrics (in both cases, pretty dismal), "Do you really think the world is like this?" I had to think for a moment, but I responded, "Yeah, I do, mostly." I think it is important not to rest within one's own experience of life, but to include the views of others whose experience is not only vastly different, but a challenge. As a white male, despite various personal problems brought on by my own limitations, I have led, and continue to lead, a pretty privileged existence. I recognize that, and so I do not for one moment think that mine is either a typical or unfortunate life; on the contrary, I think mine is an exceptionally good one, including the blessing and grace of a wife whose presence is a dessert far beyond anything I have earned in my life (I think my sister, should she pass by, would agree with that view). Whether of a different class, or race, or gender, or nationality, I think it is important to listen to voices other than those with which I am familiar, to hear their own Job-like, or Jeremiah-like, or even Mohammed-like, visions of life, and to be aware that, as my father had to tell me far too often, "You don't know every god damn thing."
So, the anger appeals to me because sometimes I get angry at the world, at life, and at God. Sometimes I think that life is just not worth all the struggle, so I appreciate those who ruminate on the fact that it all seems to be swamping them. Sometimes I think that the world is a place wear the good is too often destroyed because of the relentlessness of evil. My hope lies, of course, not in anything we do or have, but in the power of God to never surrender to death or evil. There is nothing wrong with ranting about the evil and death that seem overwhelming at times, though. It is the first step in climbing out from under the cloud that seems to hang over the world.