Lyric prose meditations that play with elements from evangelical Christianity, Buddhism, yoga, reiki, Tarot and “weird voodoo shit.”
~by Cindy Clem
The Anger Chronicles: Part Two
“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart, you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath. ~Romans 2:5
“Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?” ~Romans 3:5-8
“When we are angry, our tendency is to punish the other person.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
According to the New International Version Concordance, there are 269 instances of the word “anger” in the NIV Bible. About 70% (191) of those instances reference God’s anger toward people. I counted.
Godly Anger: The True Story of Gail and Tim
In 2003, Gail Banks left her husband of almost 20 years to pursue a younger man who happened to be walking down the street. Her husband, Reverend Tim Banks, grabbed his gun and ran after Gail, shooting her a lot of times. She died in the hospital three hours later. Rev. Banks, upon his incarceration, shook his head and said, “I was angry. My tendency was to punish her.” This is not the true part.
In after-life counseling, Gail revealed to me that their role-playing as a couple perhaps led to her husband’s drastic actions. “Tim has always had a hard time separating fantasy from reality,” she said (through the medium). “When he had the idea that during, you know, he should dress up as God and I should dress as the world, I thought, kinky but why not, I mean if we have to wear clothes anyway. So I’d wear blue and green and he’d wear a white beard he found at the discount store. He loved the discount store.”
Here, Gail paused so long that we (the medium and I) thought we had lost her. But then I felt a shiver of cold air, and she began to speak again. “It was fine at first, but then it got icky. He wanted to be God all the time, and he started beating me with his belt and yelling, ‘Do you treasure it? Do you treasure it? Speak as a man!’ I had no idea what he was talking about. And it hurt.”
I asked Gail what she wants people to learn from her story. “Oh, I don’t know if there’s anything to learn,” she said. “You know what I miss most, though? Oyster crackers. Tim hated soup, and they hardly ever had oyster crackers at the discount store. I guess I’d tell people to pay full price, YOLO.” Gail then began to laugh, and the medium asked me to leave.
Closing meditation: Perhaps the true definition of “faith” is believing that God is not angry with us, not with any of us, not ever.
- The God/Us binary: fact or fiction?
- YOLO: fact or fiction?
 I thought I should, in all fairness to God, count the number of times the word “love” is used (i.e., to show how much God loves us). But of the approximately 344 instances of the word “love,” most of them are God commanding people to love him.
Cindy Clem received her MFA in poetry in 2005 and has been writing non-fiction ever since. Her poems and essays have appeared (magically!) in Mid-American Review, The Normal School, Prairie Schooner, Memoir (and), Superstition Review, The Interrobang, Spittoon, and Michigan Quarterly Review (forthcoming).