What’s your angst?
a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.
Angst. We all have one. This thing we can’t quite quiet in us. It can be a negative thing or a positive one – either way it nags us. I’ve been reading Ronald Rolheisers’ book, Sacred Fire – something he said accurately communicates mine. He writes:
Jesus’ human origins lie in Judaism, and he stood and taught within their prophetic tradition of charity and justice. Hundreds of years before his birth, the great Jewish prophets had already coined this mantra: ” The quality of your faith will be judged by the quality of justice in the land; and the quality of justice in the land will be judged by how the weakest and most vulnerable groups in society (‘widows, orphans, and strangers’) fared while you are alive.” …
Jesus’ invitation that his disciples be both charitable and just is commonly misunderstood, or perhaps more accurately stated, is under-understood. How so? What Jesus asks of us here is not just that we be generous of heart and give in charity to the poor, though he does ask for that. He asks for more. Charity, as we know, can sometimes operate independently of justice, especially of social justice. Jesus does not just ask us to give in charity to the poor, he also asks us to work at correcting all the social, political, and economic structures that disadvantage the poor and help keep them poor. Charity seeks to give directly to the poor so as to help alleviate their poverty; Justice seeks to correct the structures that help create that poverty. And Jesus asks us to do both. (Rolheiser, 49.)
My angst is: Do I care enough to live radically enough to fight the structures that disadvantage the poor and help keep them poor? If so, then how shall that look?
I think Jesus’ life, words and call was to do so… but sometimes I struggle with the cost and the application. There lies my angst.