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The Psalms of Anger

(The following is an excerpt from my chapter on the curse or imprecatory psalms in my book, Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life. I thought it might be helpful to post a portion of the chapter here in light of the current events in our society and the confusion that often surrounds the emotion of anger in Christian circles, especially within the context of prayer and worship.

As I write in the book, the psalms make justice a primary concern in a way that many Christians today do not. And where you find injustice in the psalms, you also find anger, which, again, plenty of Christians have rejected as an absolute negative emotion. Yet in the same way that there is no faithful prayer apart from justice, there is likewise no cry against injustice that does not include an element of anger.

So what does it mean for Christians to allow themselves to be taught in the "Anger School" of the psalms in such a way that our prayers are made more, rather than less, faithful by …

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