Philip Gulley, popular Christian author and pastor of the Fairfield Friends Meeting (near Indianapolis, IN), used his most recent “Back Home Again” essay in Indianapolis Monthly to consider the prevalence of griping in our country – especially griping done by white men. The words he uses to conclude his essay captured my attention and led me to return to his article on multiple occasions as I pondered just what this might mean for me:
. . . for reasons I do not fully understand but fully deplore, is suffering from a surplus of angry men with fearful minds. There is no reason one so young should join their ranks.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with Gulley. I have experienced an overabundance of angry white men who seek to shape the future based on their fears that anything different that their idealized version of the past is unacceptable. Many worry about what they perceive as a declining nation, and believe they have the ability to help reverse whatever it is that is causing that decline.
As a white man, I must be careful that my own actions do not place me in a position that would allow others to characterize me as an angry man with a fearful mind. In seeking to be anything but such a person, I do my best to approach life with a sort of realistic optimism complemented by an understanding that history is never as straightforward as it first appears and that the future is something all generations must create together with God’s help.
What practical advice can you offer to those who
- don’t want to be or become angry people operating out of fear?
- want to help ensure the next generation doesn’t find their way into operating out of such a framework?