Anger and the Prophet, Outrage and Effective Action

Recently, a subscriber wrote that she was outraged by what is going on in Texas toward women and also toward people who want to vote.  Thomas Aquinas says that “nothing great happens without anger” and


It would be a shame if TikTok crashed the website. Real shame.

♬ Sure Thing (cover version) – daDonSpin
Creative direct action: protestors on TikTok flooded the Texas Right to Life denunciation website with false reports, leading its host to cancel its account for violation of terms of service. Video by @travelingnurse on TikTok.

a trustworthy person is angry at the right people, for the right reasons, expresses it in the appropriate manner and for an appropriate length of time.

Injustice and moral outrage go together. Such outrage takes place in our third chakra, where we carry our anger and where we feel “kicked in the gut” when we hear politicians, religious hierarchy and Supreme Court judges feel themselves empowered to control the bodies of women.  

Or of draconian efforts to prevent black, brown, poor and young people from voting and allowing one party to dominate the actual counting of votes.

Or climate deniers who deny climate change on behalf of their fossil fuel sponsors.

Or politicians denying January 6 was what we saw it was—a violent effort to overthrow a valid electoral process. 

As Rabbi Heschel tells us,

we are stirred by the prophets’ passion and enlivened imagination. . . .it is to the imagination and the passions that the prophets speak rather than aiming at the cold approbation of the mind.

All prophets are angry. Prophets tap into their anger and that of their people and direct it in ways that are effective, so that it does not get lost or dissipated or rebound into more violence. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas, pp. 131-136.  

See also, Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 329, 416-422, 457-459.

To read a written transcript of Matthew’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Stop the war on women National Day of Action to Defend Women’s Rights. Rally at Dallas City Hall, July 15, 2013 Photo by Steve Rainwater on Flickr

Queries for Contemplation

What effective ways do you see occurring or are you giving birth to for utilizing anger in solidarity with others seeking non-violent solutions to abuse of power?   

Recommended Reading

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

Upcoming Events

“Wisdom, Grace, Love” – a 3-part online lecture series by Caroline Myss, Andrew Harvey, and Matthew Fox, September 8, 15, and 22, 3:00-4:30 pm Pacific (GMT/UTC-7). Learn more HERE

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7 thoughts on “Anger and the Prophet, Outrage and Effective Action”

  1. Avatar

    With regards to your inquiry for today’s DM, my response is rooted more from my own experience, related to the many injustices that have come to light within the field of health care in for profit long-term care and retirement homes… which was exposed during the Covid pandemic.

    I learnt to use my anger and outrage in creative ways, such as emailing politicians and media sources, as well as reporting to my municipal ministry of health on the injustices occurring; using truth-telling as a nonviolent tool, advocating for necessary change. I also participated with other organizations, lobbying for change through on-line surveys; once again using truth-telling. I did this anonymously at times, not trusting the whistle blower protection laws, knowing often that these are not upheld.

    I wouldn’t in all honesty being doing this, in this more spiritually minded way, if not for the teachings that have been shared through this website, and all that you Mathew and your team, as well as those whom openly contributed in the responsive comments. Not only has the wisdom you shared been helpful, but it has also given me the courage to step more fully into my prophetic gifts, as a truth-teller… for love and justice. All of this has helped me to grow also in the wisdom ways of mercy as well, which to me is about doing what I actively can choose to do, to alleviate the suffering of others.

    It has been challenging at times, learning how to harness the emotional anger and anguish I experience as a prophetic truth-teller… and aligning this with love, justice and mercy and the wisdom of these. I am grateful that I am not alone in this learning.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Thank you for sharing your experience in the field of health care. And continue to be a truth-teller…

  2. Avatar

    Yes, paradoxically, love can prompt anger as a motivating force. But Divine LOVE prompts grace, mercy and compassion. The ego self must die for the divine self (in the image of LOVE) to prevail. }:- a.m.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Patrick, years ago (sometime in the 90s) I heard Ram Dass and Matthew Fox dialogue with each other at an event, over the issue of whether to be egoless was a goal of spiritual life (Ram Dass). I remember Matthew speaking there passionately about the need for our young people to have a strong sense of ego and how, without it they would inevitably fail in whatever area of life they approached…

  3. Avatar

    I agree that we must find creative and positive ways to deal with the crushing blows of anti-women and anti-voting forces that are sweeping across this nation. It does feel like a punch to the gut. First, my reaction is cussin and fussin, and then I try to think of what I can do. Fr. Rohr says that the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. I can and do communicate with the senators and representatives on a national and local level, even though most of it falls on deaf ears. One never knows when a seed may be planted. I sign petitions and have written a letter to the editor. If the time comes to demonstrate, I hope I have the courage to do it because the draconian laws in Florida will guarantee an arrest, even for this old lady in a wheelchair–they have shown no shame thus far so I do not expect they will in future. And lots of praying.

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