Brant Hansen is a syndicated radio host and podcaster heard by millions of people each week around the country. In 2015, he became an author and has since released four books. “Unoffendable,” our focus today, has been updated and re-released this year, along with some extremely helpful resources to foster more conversation about this important topic. There is so much useful content from this conversation that I’ll be sharing it with you in two parts. Let’s get started:
Brant, you are a broadcaster. Was it ever one of your goals to be an author?
I did not really have it as a goal, I wanted to be a baseball announcer, but that didn’t work out.
What was the trigger that said, “Now is the time to write this?”
I highly recommend Seth Godin’s book, Lynchpin ‘cause that really unlocked me. He was talking about how a lot of people don’t get things accomplished because they’re perfectionists. He was saying it’s better to actually finish something mediocre than wait until you can do something perfectly. And I realized that’s probably why I had never really written because I had never given myself permission to just be terrible at it, but at least get it done. So, I went to a coffee shop and sat down. I was like I’m not going to get out of this chair until I write a really bad chapter about something. And I did it two weeks in a row and I sent my bad chapters to Harper-Collins, and they liked it. And then you have to finish the book!
Looking back, are you surprised this is the topic that you first decided to write about?
Honestly, yes! I guess it makes sense because our culture is so consumed with anger and it affects all of us, so I guess that’s why it would have been close to the top of my mind. All of us have hurts, all of us have trauma we’ve gone through, all of us have people we need to forgive, and that includes me. But I was really wondering when am I supposed to do that? How long do I wait to forgive the people that have hurt me really bad? I guess it’s always close to your consciousness.
It seems to me that people are often angry and ready to “unload” on someone else. Where do you think that is coming from? Is it different now than in the past?
Human nature is the same. People are disconnected more than ever and we’re very sensitive because of that. We don’t have family and community like we used to, to draw on for our security. Instead, we put ourselves in all sorts of ideological tribes and that makes us more sensitive. I also think that all of us deep down are looking for a blessing and when we don’t get it, it feels like a curse. We feel judged. We’re just very sensitive. If I’m not existing in that reality that there’s a God who loves me and I’m secure, that affects everything.
What is the role of anger? Doesn’t the Bible say that it is Okay to be angry sometimes?
The Bible doesn’t actually have anything in it about human righteous anger. Righteous anger is only God’s. And that shocked me when I first realized that. I thought this can’t be right. But it turns out, it is right. There’s one scripture that says, “In your anger do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26) That verse has prompted a million sermons saying see anger’s good, it’s not sin. Well, the rest of that verse says to get rid of it before the sun goes down. So, I find it always interesting that we’ve memorized half a verse and staked an entire claim to our anger based on that half a verse when the rest of the Bible, including later in that paragraph is very clear that anger is something to be gotten rid of for our own good.
So, what is the role of anger? It certainly exists for a reason.
Anger is an emotion, and it can be helpful at the moment. It’s for fight or flight response, so this flush of anger, this thing that happens affects our bodies. It is a huge physiological catalyst and it’s supposed to help us survive in the moment to respond to threat, real threat. The problem is that we, humans are able to extend that feeling of threat beyond today, into next week, into next year, into the rest of our lives and it has real deadly physiological consequences.
Do you think the anger level is different among church people as compared to people outside of the faith?
Not much and I think that’s a tragedy. And I also think it’s directly attributable to the lack of teaching on anger, and the confused teaching on anger. Dallas Willard said that anger is American Christian’s biggest problem because they’re not taught out of it. We should be the least angry people, the most grateful people, and the most forgiving people on the planet. But if you’re not taught that you’re supposed to forgive, that this is the way to deal with anger, then you’re going to deal with it, in the same way, everybody else does, which is incredibly unhealthy.
In addition to his book Unoffendable, Brant has written The Men We Need, Blessed are the Misfits, and The Truth About Us.
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Be sure to join me for the rest of our conversation with Brant Hansen here next Friday.