I think I’ve finally figured something out.
At the beginning of this year, I committed to wrestling how to balance Godly anger (i.e., Jesus-and-the-money-changers) with detachment. I do not see how these coexist.
I spent a whole heck of a lot of time this summer pulling crabgrass and driving while listening to Fr. Richard Rohr’s 1993 (1992?) reflections on the Sermon on the Mount. This set of talks was mind blowing on several levels, but the thing that has really crystallized in recent weeks is this:
There are things that are genuinely, and permanently, and irreconcilably, in conflict with each other. And yet they are both 100% true, both of God.
For instance: we are called to rage at injustice in the world, to be angry with what makes God angry, to mourn what breaks God’s heart—to agitate and advocate for the Kingdom on earth—the thing we, incidentally, pray for every danged time we pray the Lord’s prayer. Jesus absolutely excoriated people who didn’t make their religious beliefs concrete. Matt. 25 and the cleansing of the temple are good examples, of course, but also think of Jesus ripping into the Pharisees for tying up heavy burdens, heavy to lift, and raising no finger to help. Clearly, to Jesus, the things of the world MATTER. Religion is totally bogus if it’s only in the head and heart. It must be lived, concretely, in the real world. (That’s the whole point of the Theology of the Body.)
Yet we are also called to remember that the only way to really follow Jesus is to bow out of the worldly system altogether. Jesus’ whole thing about the tax and Caesar was meant to say, “Quit freaking out about questions of taxation and authority. It is IRRELEVANT, because you don’t belong to this world. Who cares about the taxes?” No matter what happens here on earth, the end goal is Heaven, so what happens here… doesn’t matter?
It does matter… and it doesn’t.
It is the now-and-not-yet. The both/and.
This is what I have realized in recent weeks. I’m feeling tension because there IS tension. There’s SUPPOSED to be.
Now what do I do with this insight?
To be clear, that’s a rhetorical question. I suspect answering it will take the rest of my life.