Christ's Anger

Over at Mere Comments, Anthony Esolen defends anger from those who think it's un-Christian. I basically agree with what he says, but I would offer a slight refinement. Esolen is correct that anger --located in the irascible part of the soul-- is not sinful, but it does have to be controlled (via the virtue of meekness, understood not as passivity, but rational control over anger). Esolen himself never suggests that Jesus was out of control when he drove the money-lenders from the temple, but when I hear that passage discussed, I think most people picture Christ throwing a tantrum. I think --I am sure-- that is wrong. Christ was angry, but he didn't "go postal;" I am sure he raised his voice and drove his whip very effectively --probably turning over tables and putting the fear of God in people w/o actually striking anyone.
One of the things lost to man during The Fall was the proper integration of his faculties. In God's plan, the lower faculties of appetite and emotion served the higher faculties of reason and will in a harmonious whole. After the fall, the lower faculties tend to impede the higher faculties as often as not, and the effort to grow in virtue is to become an "integrated" person through grace, and through personal effort to cooperate with said grace. When people defend "righteous anger," I often get the uncomfortable feeling they think that if the grievance is serious enough, they're entitled to lose control of themselves and be berserk. On the contrary, they --we-- have to learn to moderate our anger to give it productive expression.
Think about the scene in Gibson's Passion when Simon of Syrene is helping Christ to climb the last little bit towards Calvary. The two of them are facing uphill into the sun, and the screen goes white for a moment because of the glare. As his eyes adjust, Christ looks up into the impassive faces of Caiaphas and his aide, who seem to be thinking, "Got you!" You could be tempted to think for a moment, "You did this to him! How can you be so cruel?" At that exact moment, Gibson cuts to a flashback in which Christ says, "No one takes my life from me, I freely lay it down. I have power to lay it down and to take it up again." This is the epitome of self-mastery that JP II, and Benedict, too, for that matter, always insist is the essence of real freedom. (The theology of the body is about re-integrating love, but leave that be for the present). So, yes, be angry and sin not, but it has to be channelled anger that you have power to lay down and take up again. It's not , "I'm right, so watch out!"