Skip to main content

Good and Angry by David Powlison






Good and Angry by David Powlison

Counselor and Professor David Powlison has written a gem in his new book called Good and Angry.  Many books on the subject of anger come up with seven solutions to solve anger issues or focus on techniques that someone can do before they get angry, David’s book does not solve the so-called problem of anger but promotes ways to think through and talk through anger that are wise and true.  Further, David looks at avenues by which good comes from a right kind of anger. 

To begin the book, David points to various personalities of anger or ways people carry out their anger; whether its domestic gunslingers, volcanoes, or icebergs.  I resonated with the iceberg person who does not explode when angry but keeps a growing list of those who have wronged you and will at times verbally unload the list on a person when hurt.  This kind of anger rarely causes two parties to come together in apologies but usually exacerbates bitterness.  The interesting point that David brings to bear concerning iceberg angry people is that generally all the hurt or anger surrounds upon the person bringing up all the past hurt.  Seldom does the angry person realize that they are part of the vicious cycle that continues the unbridled anger.

Anger is an activity that is learned also.  Powlison writes, “A father who routinely damns the weather, yells in traffic, and demeans his wife is training his children to do likewise.” (67)  He goes on, “Constructive anger is also learned from role models…Did you ever know a parent or close friend, a teacher or coach, who was patient and generous with others, not easily set off?” (67)   We want to provide good role models for our children and yet we allow bad habits and practices to foster a sinister witness for anger’s demise in our own children.  It’s possible though to unlearn bad behavior patterns in anger and to emulate those who carefully weave through anger in patient and long suffering ways. 

The section on Anger with God is appropriate considering both the struggles humans face on earth and the experience of the psalmists.  Yet, I do admit that I think Powlison stretches a bit too far in saying that, “Anger at God is wrong.” (226)  Many kinds of anger at God are due to unmet desires or putting on God things he never promised us.  Yet, our visceral response to God in the moment of intense suffering, pain, loss, and struggle doesn’t necessarily come from a place of sin or misconception of God, but a real human dealing with a broken world and messed up relationships.

Overall, this is a wonderful book that passes bye pat answers and digs into the nitty gritty of anger on this earth.  With a fully orbed biblical understanding, Powlison gives us a fresh book on anger.


Thanks to New Growth Press and Cross Focused Reviews for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…