[Editor’s Note: This post is in response to “Praying Angry” by Robert Orsi.]
A German perspective on “praying angry” as a reformatory or revolutionary speech act.
Robert Orsi’s essay, “Praying Angry,” addresses a specific theme that emerged from a series of interviews he conducted with survivors of sexual abuse committed by priests. At the center of Orsi’s analysis is a specific “theodicy of praying angry.” This is represented by a certain “Frank H.,” who has become a spiritual advisor to many survivors.
I would like to concentrate on the following passage from Robert Orsi’s text:
Frank’s theodicy of praying angry directly addresses this reality. “What more can God do to you?” he says. To have seen God at God’s worst is to be liberated from the old relationship with an omnipotent God, and this opens a way for a new relationship. Survivors are free not only to express their doubts, their sense of betrayal, and their anger with God, but also to consider the articulation of these feelings as prayer. There is a hard edge to Frank’s theodicy of prayer. Survivors have got God’s number; they meet God without illusions about God. But this does not drive them away from God, or it need not do so in Frank’s theology. Rather, it permits them to pray fearlessly and freely, to pray as they really are as persons, to open their inner lives in all their turmoil and anger to God who must take them as they are.