There are many hazards: the undisciplined and discourteous ways of our Facebooked culture for example. We need to remember that mourning and lamentation is an act of prayer, which requires discipline. On the one hand we want honesty and transparency but we run the risk of recklessness, of unbridled tongues and careless words. On the other hand we want discipline but we risk an attempt at the anxious micromanagement of our fears. Both are expressions of self-centredness.

The people of Israel have walked this road many times before us and we have much to learn from them. Walter Brueggemann says, ‘In exploring how Ezra and Nehemiah might be appropriated as scripture in Christian reading… It is not to be denied that communities under threat must practice discipline. When the discipline is propelled primarily by anxiety that causes core commitments of the community to be surrendered for the sake of anxiety-assuaging disciplines, however, then the community asserts secondary matters at the cost of primary commitments. The question posed by this literature is how to maintain disciplines and boundaries without sacrificing core commitments in the process.’3


3 Brueggemann W. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination, (Westminster John Know Press, Louisville, Kentucky, 2003) p.371