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Doubting Jesus as an Introvert: Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 22, 2023 5:15 am

Doubting Jesus as an Introvert: Brant Hansen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 22, 2023 5:15 am

Feel lost in the crowd? Brant Hanson talks about the Taylor Swift phenomenon and how some feel left out at church. If you doubt, Brant discusses misfit Christians, the stigma around doubt, and the importance of open conversations. Join us as we look at the different gifts in the church and why it's important to understand and include introverts.

Show Notes and Resources

Connect with Brant Hansen and catch more of their thoughts at branthansen.com

Find him on social media on Insta, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

And grab Brant Hansen's book, Blessed Are the Misfits: Great News for Believers Who Are Introverts, Spiritual Strugglers, Or Just Feel Like They're Missing Something

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So this program is called Family Life Today, but it could be called Real Family Life Today, because we get pretty stinking real. Because we all need to know what is happening and how to deal with the things that are really difficult in life. And I tell you, I love being part of a program where we're allowed to do that, where we can be that honest.

You know why? Because that's where people are living, right where we're living. And we're talking about stuff today that we never thought we'd talk about 30 years ago. And we hope that you find hope and help when we go there. And if you've supported this ministry, I just want to say thank you, because you have enabled us to bring so much help and hope to families. And I want to invite you, if you haven't supported us, now's the time. And your gift at this time will be matched, it will be doubled, and you can help your family and other families down the street from you win as you enable us to bring life and literally bring Jesus into your home.

And so go to familylifetoday.com. I struggle to pray, but I do it anyway, because I know the truth is the truth. And so I'm walking and I'm talking with God and my mind drifts. Instead of beating myself up for it, you know what I do?

Take that thing that your mind just drifted to. That must be something important to you. Start praying about that. Prayer is just you and God talking together about what you're doing in life together.

That's it. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at familylifetoday.com.

This is Family Life Today. So I don't even remember who said this to me in the last couple of weeks, but they said, So I was watching you play bass the other night in the worship time at church, and I could tell you weren't into it as much as everybody else in the room was. And I was like, what?

Did I show that? You know, and I remember the night it was like everybody's arms were up. There were a couple of people on their knees singing. It was beautiful. It really was. It was emotionally powerful. And I'm playing and you know, they're looking at me because I'm up on stage and I was resonating with the lyric of truth. I wasn't feeling what a lot of the emotions and expressions were in the room. And so this person called me out, not in a bad way, but they just said it was noticeable.

And I was like, Oh, I got to fake it. Which is interesting because one of our sons was at a Christian school and they had a chapel and they were doing worship. He was what, 12?

12, very analytical. And I mean, he's in IT now, very smart. And a teacher came up to him and said, Hey, you need to sing. And he said, I'm listening, I'm listening.

And she said, no, you're going to sing and you're going to fake it or you'll be out of here. Those are the kind of things like, Oh, I'm sure he felt like a misfit. Yeah.

And so we're going to talk about that today with Brant Hansen back again, the author of Blessed Are the Misfits. Brant, you know, when you hear those kind of stories, what do you think? Oh, it hurts. I mean, I relate to it. It hurts because at least half the people listening are like this. You think it's half?

I think so. I think a lot of people have these emotions during church, but church is kind of set up for that in a lot of ways. Not all traditions, but certain traditions, it's set up to produce emotion. And there's a lot of people that don't go in those places because they don't understand what's going on. It doesn't compute.

Doesn't make sense. Right. If you can imagine like going to Branson, Missouri, where they have all these theaters set up along the road and people are like, Oh, I like this show. Not everybody's going to Branson.

Yeah. They don't want a stage show. They're thinking about other stuff. They relate to God differently. It hurts because I know the kingdom welcomes people like me who are more analytical and robotic. And I relate to your son.

I say robotic. I don't even mean it in a bad way. Yeah. God made us all different.

God made us all different. Yeah. Yeah. And we can celebrate that. Yeah.

Everybody. That's why I like the subtitle of your book. Great news for believers who are introverts, spiritual strugglers, or just feel like they're missing something. I heard somebody say to, I think Philippiansy talked about this, but he wrote a book called Prayer. And he said, prayer is the thing we talk about the most and do the least. And I think that gets at something because we all presume everybody else is praying all the time because everybody talks about it. But the reality is once you start talking, it's a real struggle.

Do you think most people think it's a struggle? I think so. One of the things you wrote in your book, Brant, about prayer where you said, you know, they asked Jesus to teach them to pray and he prayed for 25 seconds. Yes.

It's such good news to me. Think about this, like growing up, some church prayers on and on. I'm thinking about the Cardinals game that afternoon. I'm thinking about where we're going to eat.

I'm thinking about the girl, you know, over there and like, what's the matter with me? But they're still going on and on and on. And I love that when Jesus is saying, when you pray, do it this way. And he goes for 20, 25 seconds.

If you say the Lord's Prayer, that's how long it takes. He covers enough. He knows. This is what's so beautiful about this. He knows we have short attention spans.

He's not mad. My mind drifts. It happens. So when I write a chapter about that, I think a lot of people, most people, honestly, like, oh, thank goodness. Think about how tender that is of God to recognize our attention. Because we feel like we're not as spiritual as that person up front. I get up at five and I pray for three hours and then I'm like, that's awesome. Yeah, it is. I'm not there yet.

I might never be there, but look how kind God is to let me play anyway. Right? My attention span is not there. And then I had somebody point out that what you do when your mind drifts, let's say you go for a walk in the morning. That's what I do.

That's my prayer thing. I'm walking the dog. You're golden retriever. Got the golden retriever. I've seen that dog. Yeah, she's a sweetheart. What's her name? Cozy. She's really good.

Really fluffy. But I take her out. And again, I struggle to pray. I don't feel God's presence.

We talked about that. It's just not a strong feeling for me like it is some people. But I do it anyway because I know the truth is the truth. And so I'm walking and I'm talking with God and my mind drifts. And like, instead of beating myself up for it, you know what I do?

Take that thing that your mind just drifted to. That must be something important to you. Start praying about that. Oh, that's good.

It's really good. Fold it back into your prayer. So grocery shopping?

Maybe. You're grocery shopping to take care of your family. Or you can say, hey, God, help me get this stuff done today. I need to get done. I was just thinking about grocery shopping.

I got this list of stuff and just give me the resources I need for today. Which is part of the Lord's Prayer. Give us our daily bread.

And I don't know about guys, but women, we travel to our kids, our grandkids. We're thinking about that. So you're saying just pray for them. Well, that's something you're passionate about. You think God cares about what you're passionate about? And maybe God took your mind that way. Maybe.

You're saying, who knows? But instead of beating yourself up for being, I'm so lame, I'm such a bad prayer. Like, instead of that, he cares about what you care for. That's why you can do this. Some people are so relieved. How many people say, I sit and pray and then my mind wanders? Yeah, I think I'm not a very spiritual person.

Yes, you are. But just go ahead and fold that back in because God cares about this stuff. In fact, he says you can cast your cares on him because he cares for you.

Whatever you're anxious for. In 1 Peter, it's what it says. Like, why not? But people think I must be the worst Christian. I don't pray very well or I don't feel it. You do it anyway. And what you do, prayer is just you and God talking together about what you're doing in life together.

That's it. I've realized, I've gotten a little better about this since the lockdown stuff. Because you do so many Zoom meetings. I'm like, why would I miss my Zoom meeting with God? I have one other meeting.

Why would I miss the one with the guy who actually can change everything and loves me more than anyone else, is rooting for me, wants to spend time with me and can actually change things? I'm not missing that meeting. And I think it's important if you feel like the best time for me to pray, because I'm not a sitter. I'm always doing, I'm going, I'm active. So my best prayer time is walking. My mind is more centered. I just don't wander as much when I'm walking.

She runs into trees because her head's bowed and her eyes are closed. That alone is something to pray for. That's what made me think, because I've had people at my church sometimes say, hey, when you pray on stage, your eyes are open. And I'm like, I like to look at the congregation.

Oh, I bet. Because I'm so grateful. I'm like, God, look what you're doing. It's amazing. When I'm talking to God, there's nowhere that we're told you have to close your eyes and bow your head, which I understand.

Sometimes that's the way to do it. And it's reverent. But it's like, man, you, you're walking. She loves creation. She feels God in creation. So she's looking at God as she's talking to Him. I do the same thing when I'm coming on. It's amazing how you made light, how it reflects through these trees.

I love the different greens I can see right now. It's Romans 1.20 that we see Him in His creation. Right. He reveals His nature that He loves us. You didn't have to make everything so beautiful.

You didn't have to make music. Why does that have to do with anything other than beauty? Why are things beautiful? He loves us. We can see that He loves us.

Let's see the things that have been made. And to have your eyes open and talking to Him about that seems like a perfectly human thing to do. I keep my eyes open when I talk to my wife most of the time. I mean, and friends.

So if you want to close your eyes to concentrate, that's great. But this thing where we feel like losers, because people give this impression of super spirituality. Well, maybe they are super spiritual in some way that we're not. They've got a gift.

But that's not all of us. Let's talk about people that maybe, in the subtitle, you talk about introverts. Yeah. Blessed are the introverts. Yes. Do you feel like introverted people?

Do they feel like misfits in America? Well, in American church culture, you can. Again, in some traditions, like the tradition I'm from, there's a thing.

Now, this can be controversial. I just ask that before you fire off a letter, think about it. And I can always be wrong, too. But I want to propose the idea that a lot of extroverts kind of feel like they're in charge of things. And they tell us what we need to be doing based on their gifts.

So they're like, evangelize, evangelize, evangelize, evangelize. Okay. Now, that is something I do want my friends and neighbors and everyone for their own good to know who the king is so that they can have peace.

I want that. But the idea that I'm the one that has to be on the street talking to strangers terrifies me. Terrifies me. And so you feel this guilt as an introvert.

Well, you know what? Some people have a gift of evangelism, and they need to use it. And others of us have different gifts that'll be mainly where we're concentrating on. So if I'm good at hospitality, I've got another gift of teaching, which is what I enjoy doing. But the idea of talking to strangers, like, why can't we have different members of the body that really concentrate in that area and they've got a gift for it and they can operate in that gift really well. My son's on the spectrum.

I'm on the spectrum. My son has to go door to door. He's going to be a brain surgeon. He's at Yale Medical School. He's going to be a brain surgeon. Can't he use that? He wants to use that in a mission's context. What would that feel like to him to go to a door? Death.

Would it? Honestly, I had to sell cheese and sausage in middle school to raise money for band uniforms. I still tremble at ringing the doorbell.

There's a brochure of cheese or like crockery pots. People felt so sorry for me. Like little kid with glasses like that. I don't even make eye contact. Can you see how some people are really good at something? They say everybody has to be doing this all the time. That's all that matters.

Well, that's not necessarily. And think about all the letters that Paul writes. Is he telling every single member, like, you better be out there evangelizing door to door? Or does he say some people have, you've got this gift, that gift, this other gift? Well, you are evangelizing every day as an introvert from a radio.

By myself. It's just a different way. I mean, Jesus did say, go make disciples.

So we called whether we have a gift of door to door. Oh, disciple making. We are doing it in a different way. You're doing it in a beautiful way. And it fits who you are.

The cold call thing that you can make people feel like they have to do. And again, I know people have different. But if you find Paul saying that to everybody all the time, I can't. He does talk about members that have different uses in the body and we should all support each other.

And that's how it all works. Some people are given to be, they have prophetic voices into the culture. Some people are given to be evangelists. Some people are given to be teachers. Other people have this pastoral gift. All of that is a disciple creating mix.

And I'm all for it. But we don't do that with other gifts. Is that the biggest piece of introversion that you're talking about in the church?

Are there other aspects of being an introvert that you can feel like the misfit? Oh, sure. Like being made to be a greeter at church. Oh, my goodness. I would hide behind the folded door. The door would be back. I didn't mean to.

I just find my body is drifting. And again, some people are so good at it. Why not let them do that? So Dave and I are both extroverts and our kids were old enough that we could figure out what they were. And we didn't even understand, like, what's an introvert?

That's so weird. But we saw this in our son since the day he was born. He'd be around people. And after a while, you could tell that he was just stressing out. And once we got alone and put him in a room by himself or with one of us as a baby, it was almost like, oh, okay. So as he got older, we realized, oh, he needs to recharge. He needs to be alone at times. So to go on a retreat, a spiritual retreat at a church, to him, it was so overwhelming after a while.

Yes. That he was like, I need to come home. But we said, you need to take some time out of your day to get away and be by yourself. At the retreat.

At the retreat. Like, just go to your cabin. Yeah.

Lay down to bed. It's good to understand that. And for the leaders to understand other people have that need to be alone. They're not less spiritual. Yes.

That's just who they are. Now, conversely, I have to say this for me as an introvert. I enjoy teaching Sunday school or whatever. It's not good enough for me to just do that and say, well, I'm an introvert, so I'm not going to be a people person.

No. Make yourself a people person over time. Like, you have to care about people. It may not be, you may not enjoy the crush of a full weekend with a bunch of people.

And I honestly, that exhausts me too. By the way, this is December. So you got holidays, you got family. This is so appropriate because they're in your home or you're in their home.

Yes. And as an introvert, you can just go sit in the corner and drink your eggnog and not talk to anybody. And that would not be a good thing to do.

No, it's not good for us. So there's mutual submission that can happen here where as an introvert, I can't just say this is who I am too bad. No, I got to love people. It's not just who I am too bad. I've seen that with some leaders, honestly. Like, he's a great speaker, but he's not really a people person. I'm like, well, he needs to become a people person because you're supposed to, like, we have to love people. As far as the, like, back slapping or I hang out with 100 people and I chit chat and make small talk.

No, that's not going to happen. But I can ask people questions and genuinely care. I can do that as an introvert.

So I've got to change. But I think church culture could do more to accommodate because there's a lot of extroverts that are drawn to the stage. So they wind up making these decisions, but not realizing that this isn't where everybody else is coming from.

Yeah. You know, one of the things you get into in the Misfits book is doubt. Can we talk about doubt?

Because that often is not allowed. You like this topic right here, don't you? Well, I think part of it is because I grew up in a church with my mom, you know, single mom taking me to church. And doubt was really viewed as sin. And again, I'm sort of skeptical. So even as a young boy, but especially in my teenage years, I started to voice questions. And honestly, I wasn't antagonistic. I literally had real questions that I just wished I could get some answers to. And they were never like, hey, yeah, that's a great question.

Let's talk. It was, you're not spiritual. We who are spiritual don't have questions like that. We don't doubt. Did you ever feel like that, Brant?

Yeah. In college, I took some religious studies courses and one of them, a couple of them were just all about tearing down the Christian faith. I went to secular university, but it was all reductive criticism and Rudolf Bultmann and, you know, Schweitzer and all this stuff I'd never thought about forever.

Like the different sources of the text and all that. And it really threw me for a loop. But thankfully, I had somebody smart from my past.

I could call and say, what do you think about this? And he explained it. And then I read a couple of books countering it. And that made my faith really strong. So what hurts me now is people who don't express doubt and then just leave the faith. If you would have just asked me, I've probably struggled through this and thought about it because I've doubted about everything.

But we could talk about it. And then I think you would walk away going, oh, my goodness, God's better than I thought. Like when you go deeper, you go an inch deep, you have these questions like, oh, my goodness, but to keep going. And then I also encourage people, like doubt can be good, but be an equal opportunity doubter. If you're going to question the Bible and question Christian ethics or question our, you know, that's fine. You should question things.

You better question the culture too. So your son, you said, is super smart. He's on the spectrum.

He's going to Yale. I'm guessing he's had doubts. Oh, I'm sure. I'm thinking of a listener who's thinking, my kids are expressing so much and they're listening to YouTube all day and they're hearing these things that are just, they feel like, oh, this is the truth. As a parent, how would you face that? If they ask me questions, I'd be so thankful.

Really? Yeah, if they're expressing that, like, let's talk about this. Otherwise you're shut up with this other stuff one sided.

And if you don't know the answer as a parent, find it. So you'd open the door to it. Hey, you guys, you probably are hearing things that. You know, you could say, I haven't thought about that before.

That's really interesting. And you can do that because of the strength of the truth. Like you don't have to have all the answers. You just, you know, God's good and you don't need to be worried.

Like all truth is his. So if we keep researching this, we're going to land in a place where we actually have learned more. Our faith is increased probably. That's been my experience. So as a parent, if they're asking questions you haven't thought about, a lot of these questions, honestly, again, are about an inch deep.

They sound smart. And then you realize, wait a second, people can make fun of stuff in the Bible. They'll make a meme out of it. I remember, you know, as we're talking, I felt I didn't know the term then like a misfit because I doubted and felt like nobody else in church culture ever doubted. And I don't know when it was when I first came across Thomas. And he says, I'm not going to believe unless I can see the nail scars. You know, I'm just reading the scripture and it's like, I expected because of my church background that Jesus is going to shame him. You're like, what?

And say like, dude, you loser. I can't believe you don't believe. Jesus doesn't shame him. Jesus says, hey, Thomas, you need evidence. Here's the evidence. And I'm like, okay, I'm not. I'm in.

I fit. He doesn't need to be reminded. Like John the Baptist himself.

Yes. John the Baptist himself doubted. And what does Jesus call him? His cousin. He doesn't go, he what?

You've got to be kidding me. Good grief. No, he says, remind him.

Let's go back through this. We know the kingdom's here. Yeah. Because we remind him of this. That's a really tender thing for God. He understands it. He gets it. He honors us anyway. And I think he's excited that you're asking questions.

You won't believe this. We were in Branson, Missouri speaking at a marriage conference for coaches, football coaches. Saturday afternoon was off. So Ann says, let's go to Queen Esther, Sight and Sound Theater. And we had been told it's fantastic. So we go and it's really well done.

The biblical story of Queen Esther and they acted it out. Anyway, they have an intermission. And I'm like, it's so long they have an intermission? You know, I'm like, but anyway, there was no one, like five seats beside me are wide open. And so we're sitting there during the intermission and this guy sits down beside me and leans into me, some stranger. It was so like, at first he sat there and I'm like, do I turn and say hi to this guy? But then he leans and like lays on my lap.

And it was the weirdest thing ever. So I turn and I go, hey dude, he goes, you remember me? I go, you look sort of familiar. He goes, I talk about you every time I give my testimony. You led me to Jesus.

I was part of your church in Detroit 20 years ago. And I look at him. I go, you're the guy in the lobby at the men's retreat, the skeptic.

He goes, yup. And I'll never forget this because I was speaking at our men's retreat. We got a thousand, two thousand men there.

It's a big deal. And a session's over and I'm walking through the lobby and I'm in this, near the door. And this guy comes up and he goes, you know what? I don't believe any stuff you just talked about. I'm a skeptic. And he quoted somebody.

I think it was Dawkins, but he quoted a very well-known atheist argument. He goes, and that's why I don't believe. And I look at it.

I'll never forget this. And I go, oh yeah, I've walked through that whole argument as well. And here's the three reasons I think he's wrong. And I think you can believe. And I just, ding, ding, ding. He goes, I went home and I researched what you said and I gave my life to Christ. I talk about you every time I give my testimony. Here's my wife. Here's my kids.

My whole life transformed. And I thought there's a doubter who said, is this true or not? And here's the thing. God loves it when we bring our doubts to him. Cause he's like, I've got the truth. As you said, he's not afraid of our questions.

No, no, no. And so we need to not be afraid. And then also trust God's truth. Even if we don't have the answer, let's find it together. Let's do a mutual inquiry into the truth. That's what Daoists would say. He's like, I don't debate people, but I will do a mutual inquiry into the truth. Cause he's very confident. He knows where that truth leads.

If you really want to search for truth, I'll do it with you. I don't have all the answers. I know where it goes. Very confident. I think that's a really good reminder, especially for me as a mom. Cause I would worry about my kids when they were in high school.

I'm like, where are they spiritually? But we don't have to worry. We can pray even when we don't feel like it. You take your anxieties to him. Tell him what you need and remember what he's done. And sit down with your son or daughter tonight and have a real conversation.

That'd be pretty cool. I'm just, you know, as you were saying that, Brian, I'm seeing parents do that around the world because of what you said. Like, yeah, I'm going to sit down and say, Hey, let's talk. You have questions? So do I.

Let's figure this out together. And it's December. And so a lot of our kids will be coming home.

We're going to be around a lot of relatives, people, and it can be wonderful. But also we just want to say Merry Christmas to you. And we want to thank you too for just listening, being a part of us, being a supporter. And we need you. We really need you. I'm Shelby Abbott and allow me to be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve. You've been listening to David Wilson with Brant Hansen on Family Life Today. And you know what?

Anne's right. We do need you. Christmas is coming up on Monday.

It's an amazing time of year for many of us. And we want you to be a part of the Family Life Today family by becoming a monthly partner and experiencing the joy, really, of what God is doing through this ministry at Family Life Today. And thanks to some generous donors, every gift that's given this month is going to be matched dollar for dollar up to $3 million. So help us take advantage of these donors' generosity and give today. You can go online to familylifetoday.com and click on the donate now button at the top of the page.

Super easy to see. Or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, the number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And you know, I really loved hearing from Brant Hansen all this week, basically all week long. He's been such a gift to us here at Family Life Today. And he's written a book called Blessed Are the Misfits. If you're an introvert and you feel like you don't feel like you kind of belong at your church environment, Brant has written this book for you.

You could go online to familylifetoday.com and click on today's resources to get your copy. Now, coming up next week, in the resurrection, God will fulfill our deepest longings, provide a true sense of home for our hearts, and reverse all of our pain and suffering. Doesn't that sound amazing? Well, next week, David and Wilson are going to be joined by Dane Ortlund to talk about that beauty of what we have in our future. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. Merry Christmas, and we'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-22 06:25:46 / 2023-12-22 06:38:46 / 13

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