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Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better Paperback – April 14, 2015
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"[A] charming handbook for the contemporary Christian that will also find its audience among pastors." ---Library Journal --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Brant Hansen is a radio host who has won multiple National Personality of the Year awards. He also works with CURE International, a worldwide network of hospitals that brings life-changing medical care and the good news of God’s love to children with treatable conditions. Brant currently lives in Northern California with his wife, Carolyn; his son, Justice; and his daughter, Julia. He can be found at branthansen.com and @branthansen on Twitter.
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But really more than anything, what bothers me is how Hansen seems to push for nice sounding resolutions like "let it go" or "your life will be less stressful if you give up your right to anger or offense." Tell me if you would comfort a husband whose wife and children were killed by a drunk driver with those words? Is that not an over simplification? Is that not turning a deaf ear to the real hurt and wounds this person feels? Why do we need to negate the language of pain so easily? Anger is not evil. Like any emotion, it just is. Hansen seems to have a real fear of emotions. He also writes with a general tone of insensitivity, in my opinion.
So anger... is a second-order emotion. It is built on a first-order emotion, like fear or powerlessness or many other feelings. When we are angry, we can't simply say "stop being angry." Not only because that's impossible without self-shame which is denial which is lying to oneself, but because it misses what is going on inside. Anger is a lightbulb on the dash. We don't tell the low-fuel light to turn off. We do something about the fuel.
I wish Hansen would have encouraged us to learn the language of our emotions, particularly anger. instead of urging us to push them aside and put a spiritual band-aid on it, which seems holy, but is just as unhealthy as taking offense at everything.
I think Brene Brown speaks would also approach Hansen's book with a sense of hesitation: “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
Before you jump to any conclusions, I am not making the case for being angry. I had a temper as a child and it almost cost me my life as, in anger, I stuck my hands trough a glass door. I still bear the scars from that experience, so I understand the evil side of anger. The Bible is clear in that explosive anger dishonors God, damages our testimony, and destroys relationships with others. We are in agreement on that point; however, Hansen's book falls short of proving in a systematic and Biblical fashion that Christians are to never be angry.
Here is an example: Hansen points to Jesus' anger in throwing the money changes out of the Temple. Quite correctly, he points out that Christians use that as an example -- well, if Jesus was angry, then we can so be as well. Hansen deals with this issue through slight of hand by saying something along these lines -- "you see, yes, Jesus could be angry because He can do lots of things that we cannot. Like what you may ask? Oh, how about create the world and rise from the dead. Since we cannot do those things, we should not focus on other things that He does either."
What's the danger there? Simple -- Jesus showed compassion, feed the hungry, went to the outcasts, exhibited humility, experienced pain, etc. We must be careful in flippantly throwing out elements of Jesus' existence that clearly reflected His deity as reasons to avoid our humanity. Anger is a human emotion that cannot be avoided. I think the problem that Hansen misses is the realization of its innate humanness. Anger, alone, is not a problem. If it lingers and is acted upon, then it becomes wrong as bitterness forms.
Hansen refuses to deal with situations like Moses, in Exodus, being angered at Israel for creating the golden calf. He threw down the tablets containing the Ten Commandments but nowhere do you see God rebuking him for that anger. What about Paul who stood toe to toe with Peter over the issue of Gentile believers in Galatians 2. I am sure that anger was involved here but, once again, we do not see God condemning him for his actions.
Again, I am not making a case for Christians to be angry; yet I am saying that Hansen fell short. He offered lots of stories, examples from his radio show, and nice thoughts of his own. What was missing, however, was a detailed exegesis and consideration of the totality of Scripture. Since that aspect was lacking, I am left wondering at the veracity of his arguments.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLookBloggers.com review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Living this way is the KEY to PEACE.
Enjoy, and applause to Brant Hansen!!!