Must Read Book: Messy Grace

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Messy Grace: How A Pastor With Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction by Caleb Kaltenbach is by far the most poignant, relevant book on practical Christianity that I have read this year. Specifically, Messy Grace is a book that shows us how to live in the tension between grace and truth when it comes to embracing members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community. It may seem like there are a plethora of books on Christian bookshelves today dealing with this issue (as its such a hot button right now) but I can think of no other author who writes/speaks with as much authority and authenticity on the issue. 

Caleb was raised by LGBT parents and marched in many gay pride events as a young person. He was raised in the LGBT community and witnessed firsthand the hurt that many Christians inflicted upon his mom and her partner as well as their friends. He saw people who proclaimed to be Christians ostracize their own family member who was dying of AIDs because he was gay. Over and over, Caleb’s mom and her partner told him that Christians were mean, hurtful people who hated them and their lifestyle. From the examples of real-life events that happened to Caleb & his family, it is no wonder they felt this way. We all have to admit that Christians are often viewed as hateful and judgmental when it comes to confronting sexual identity issues. 

I won’t give away the entire book, but when Caleb was 16, he set out to expose Christianity for the farce that he thought it was. After all, how could such a hateful group of people really follow a true God? He began to attend a Bible study and church, all the time with the motive to be an “undercover” whistleblower to a false belief system. But what he found was the complete opposite. Much to his surprise, the truth of God’s grace and love grabbed ahold of him and changed his heart forever. Soon after he felt God calling him to become a full-time vocational minister!

In the months and years that followed, Caleb deeply sought out the tough questions that so many of us are dealing with today… Is homosexuality wrong? Why is it wrong? How can we love someone who is LGBT? How can we remain true to our convictions about sexual identity but genuinely love someone who doesn’t agree with us? These and many more questions are fleshed out through Caleb’s own experiences. He writes extensively about learning to walk the fine line where we have grace and extend grace to those with whom we disagree, while also remaining true to our convictions and speaking the truth. This tension between grace and truth is called LOVE. Caleb does an excellent job of setting aside his personal feelings on the issue and really searching what GOD has to say about it all. As he writes in this book, there was no one on earth who wanted the scriptures to match what he wanted to believe. But as he found out, God’s word is unwavering on the issue. 

The Christian stance against homosexuality should not put us at war with people who disagree. In fact, if we have a true love for Christ, we should be all the more compelled to love those in the LGBT community. In following the example of Christ, we should be seeking to love those who feel outcast by society, who are searching to belong and to find love and meaning. After all, we have all been in that place of searching and feeling lost. Our journey just looks a little different that theirs might. 

Messy Grace is full of solid, Biblical study as well as compelling stories from Caleb’s real life that will hopefully make every reader realize that it is not an Us vs. Them battle. If you are uncertain on where you stand regarding certain issues (as I was), this book is for you. If you are a firm believer in gay rights, this book is for you. If you  solidly believe the Bible is completely against homosexuality, this book is for you. It is written in such a way, with so much grace and truth, that it truly can speak to a variety of audiences. Additionally, this book has applications far beyond the LGBT community... it is a book about truly loving your neighbors as God has called us to love them, no matter our differences. 

His book releases October 20th, 2015 and trust me- you don’t want to miss it!! Preorder it now on Amazon (not an affiliate link, just making it easy for you because I loved this book so much.) so you don't forget. It will be like Christmas when it releases. :) I cannot recommend this book enough!

**Edited to add** If you want to get some great excerpts from the book to get you thinking while you wait for the book's release, follow @MessyGraceBook on twitter. Good stuff.

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

You Might Also Like

0 Lovely Words

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you!