This is going to be an odd book review, and I don’t care.
That sort of honestly and freedom isn’t necessarily what this book is talking about, but, in a way, it’s close.
The book is called Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art On Fear, Confession, and Grace. Anne Jackson got the spark for this book after she posed the question on her blog, “What is one thing you feel you can’t say in the church?”
That is a very challenging question. The book itself…a surprisingly pleasant and uncomfortable challenge. An uncomfortably pleasant challenge? An intoxicating struggle? I don’t know what you’d call it. But, it will test you if you let it.
The text is about Anne’s story, and how she’s using her story as a spring board for others to start telling theirs. She had the courage to start talking, to be vulnerable, so that others—anyone at all who feels afraid, hurt, in bondage, cast down, absolutely alone—can be less afraid to start talking. When someone else speaks first, especially about some of the difficult, dark things going on, it’s a lot easier to speak second.
Church leaders need to read this book. Home fellowships need to read this book. Brothers and sisters in Christ need to read this book. Any church body, at any time, should be ready to discuss the more difficult topics in a community, and do so without alienating, hating, and excommunicating the folks that don’t agree with the “traditional” idea. There is freedom and grace ready and waiting.
The book itself is not structured in a normal, average book sort of way. It has art and design pieces (submissions of responses to the question) that get you to meditate a bit, to look deeper past your own walls and safe guards. Plus, it doesn’t give you all the answers in the end. It doesn’t expect you to follow these 5 steps toward freedom. It doesn’t give you the layout of exactly how your life in gracious liberty should be, what it should look like, and exactly how to get there from here.
This is a great book. It will be a wonderful addition to your must-pass-it-along library. If you read this book and keep it…then you’ve missed the point entirely. You need to read it again (don’t worry, it’s quite a fast read). Then, trust me, pass it on.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”