Angry People in the Pews: Managing Anger in the Church

by Leroy Howe. Judson Press, 2001.

'Angry People in the Pews' provides resources that enable caregivers both to deal more effectively with their own anger and to help angry people.

Leroy Howe begins with vignettes of the many ways—ranging from unexpressed irritation to violent fury—in which people may experience and express anger. He then provides a context for understanding how we can deal with our anger by looking at what the Bible means when it speaks of God’s anger. Howe affirms anger as a God-given response to the experience of disappointment or betrayal which is meant to motivate us to actions that alleviate the lack, loss, need, or want we feel. However, anger is negative when it is disproportionate to the deprivation or serves only hurtful purposes. The remaining chapters of the book re-visit the opening vignettes, suggesting ways caregivers could assist angry persons in dealing with their anger.

Howe recognizes that anger is a powerful emotion and angry people can be dangerous, so he also stresses the need for caregivers to be aware of safety issues when dealing with angry people. The book concludes with study questions for each chapter that assist the reader or a class in both facing their own anger and developing skills to provide care for angry people.

Designed to be particularly helpful for lay persons who are dealing with their own anger or providing care to angry people, this is also a good basic resource for pastors.