Following the appalling disaster of the fire at Grenfell Tower, local people planned a ‘Day of Rage’ to protest at the injustices and cost-cutting that appears to have led to the catastrophic failure of fire regulations in the tower—and almost all others like it clad in a similar way. The immediate response from many Christians was to plan a ‘Day of Prayer’, for many based on the maxim that ‘Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purposes’ (James 1.20), and perhaps out of anxiety that the planned protest would result in violence—fears that were not, in the end, realised. But in response to this alternative, Mike Higton (Professor of Theology and Ministry at the University of Durham) makes a striking observation:
I must admit, I’m disturbed by the ‘we need a day of prayer, not a day of rage’ line. We should be angry; we need to be angry. As a Christian, I’m a reader of angry scriptures, and serve an angry God – a God who rages against the machine. Discovering how to be angry well, how to harness anger constructively, how not to let anger spill over into violence – yes; absolutely. Discovering how not to be angry? No! I don’t think I’m yet anywhere near angry enough.