Friday, February 11, 2005

Sound and Fury Signifying Something

This was posted on a board recently, in a on-line conversation asking the question, "What are you giving up for Lent?"

The poster, Ed, wrote:

There are a lot bad habits I've either broken or am trying to break lately... I'm also trying to overcome a weird addiction I have--I love to make myself upset by listening to people whose politics and attitudes differ from mine, i.e., Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Pat Robertson, Dr. Dobson, etc. In some perverse way I'm addicted to the feelings of smug superiority and righteous indignation that come up in me when these people spout their hateful nonsense. But it's a bad habit, a sort of compulsive mental masturbation, and it diverts energy and attention away from God by focusing it on my own ego.I'm getting better, actually.

Ah, grasshopper, how wise you are. As a recovering crisis-addict myself, I'm not only careful about ingesting the thoughts of bile-producing commentators, but about spending lots of time with those who do, and for whom impotent raging is somehow satisfying. They belong to no organizations, they volunteer not at all, they show up for nothing, they join nothing, they contribute their money to nothing, they spend their free time purely in the pursuit of leisure, but they vent and spew and vent and spew. Benevolent rage is a good thing, as is judgment. But rage and judgment without action, without commitment and without community is, as Billy Shakes said, "sound and fury signifying nothing."

If you want to renew your sense of sound and fury signifying everything, may I recommend a re-read of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail?" I read it again today and it is breathtaking.

Three posts in one day! It is not mania, it is merely sermon-writing day (so say it with me boys and girls... "Pro-cra-sti-na-tion!")


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