(This is from Brant Hansen’s personal blog, and not
originally written for an industry site. Brant is host of “Mornings
with Brant” for WAY-FM/CHRSN.)
Dan Kimball wrote this book They Like Jesus But Not the Church.
Or something like that. It's a great book.
I mean, I suspect it is. I haven't read it. I don't think I
need to. I get it: People outside the church think Christians are
judgmental, simplistic, etc. etc. Got it. But Jesus? He's
challenging, revolutionary, fascinating, insightful, mind-blowing,
After working in both mainstream and Christian radio, I think I'm
ready to write my own book about the many I encounter: They Like
Church But Not Jesus.
I mean it. I wrote before: Based on my observation, Jesus is
simply not the most influential guy around. I've seen it over,
and over, and over. In fact, I'd say it's a theme at my job:
People just aren't that into Jesus. He ticks Christians off.
I've been corrected many times by church folk -- after reading
something Jesus actually said. They don't like it. I'm serious.
"You know, all the commandments can be summed up with love the Lord
your God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and
love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said that, and..."
Ringing phones. "Hello?"
"You forgot one: Evangelize."
Jesus stands corrected.
"Well, it's not quite that simple, you see, because..."
No, no. It can't be that simple. Not here.
You see, we actually talk about Jesus quite a bit on the show.
In fact, I’m not sure if there’s another music show that talks as
much about Jesus. We do some bizarre stuff, too (like the
award-winning game "Is My Head in a Case?" or playing "Rapper's
Delight" in German, etc.) but it happens that Jesus – the stuff he
said and did and says and does – comes up all the time.
(Not bragging here. I just think we're doing something kind of
experimental. If you're in Christian radio, reading this, and
you're doing the same thing -- that's cool. I just don't get out
So more Jesus...but less Christian? How can this be?
I'll connect the dots for me: The things Jesus said, the way of
life he gave us, his themes and priorites -- they're simply don't
seem very Christian.
If we were to sprinkle in some more hey-I'm-on-your-team-here
insider terms, or talk about how America is under attack by (you
name it) or just stick to quoting Paul, even -- problem solved.
Now it's Christian.
Jesus? Mmm -- not so much.
I know you think I may be exaggerating. I'm not. Not in the
least. Today, I read where Jesus told us that when we're praying,
we shouldn't babble on "like the pagans do".
I got three very Christian emails of protest, citing scripture to
No big deal, but -- so you know -- it happens again and again.
This is where my
"If Jesus Had a Blog" stuff comes from, by the way. Real
conversations with learned Christians, and real objections to stuff
I’ve noticed: People do love the Bible. But not the Gospels.
They quote Biblical stuff to me all the time, but it's never the
stuff Jesus said.
I can't tell you how thankful I am for my job. Ironically – we
all love irony -- I effectively killed my ambition a couple years
ago, and since, my platform has grown. It happened immediately
after I stopped caring.
I can't believe how understanding my bosses have been. Those of
you who are down on Christian radio would be heartened by some of
what transpires where I work.
And we get a remarkable number of emails/facebook messages/texts
from people who say, "I have never thought about Jesus this way
before. Thank you." It can bring tears to a guy's eyes. I wish
those people called more on the phone, to be honest, but most people
will never call a radio station and talk to an on-air "personality",
especially when his head is in a case.
So that's just it. You've got "How can he say that?" on one
side, and "I've never thought about Jesus like this before," on
another, and there's quite a bit of both, and hundreds of thousands
of listeners, and -- I can’t help thinking something's going to
happen. Maybe I'm nuts.
Like, maybe Jesus is too much for religious folk. And they won’t
stand for it, even as so many are drawn to him.
Jesus has always scandalized people. What if we do, too? How
long can that continue?
I have to pray every day for God to help me love these people,
the frustrating ones, the Christians bugged by Jesus-talk. I've
told my wife, and a few friends, that eventually they will come for
me. If I keep talking about Jesus, and keep probing the stuff he
said, they're going to come for me. I'm only half-joking.
I'm not worried about the A.C.L.U. It'll be religious leaders.
I think there's precedent for that.
Please pray for me. I'm not writing this because I'm desperate,
or there's anything new here. I just take my job very seriously.
It matters a LOT to me what people think of Jesus. At the same
time, I always have my own stupid concerns about me.
I want to do great radio, not great Christian radio.
And I want to convey how remarkable Jesus is. How smart he is.
How he understands our nature. How infuriating he can be to those
in power. I want to subvert a culture that turns the church into an
incredibly expensive and remarkably harmless spectator sport. I
want people to understand how revolutionary the love of Jesus is.
I don't want to preach at them. I want to be a friend. Doing
this is really, really hard. I know your job is hard,
too. Thing is, my Christian radio job comes with its own paradox:
If I focus a lot on Jesus, I’m going to upset a lot of Christians.
I may not have put any of this very well, but please pray for me.
Hansen can be reached at