Thursday, October 15, 2015

Book Review: Messy Grace

Title:  Messy Grace
Subtitle:  How a Pastor With Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction
Author:  Caleb Kaltenbach
Genre:  Christian Life
Publisher:  WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group
Number of Pages:  212
My Rating: 5 out of 5

There is much in the news these days about the LGBT community, from the passage of the same-sex marriage law to Olympian Bruce Jenner's transition from male to female. This book offers readers two things: the opportunity for Christians to learn about and to love the LGBT community without compromising Biblical conviction; and the opportunity for the LGBT community to learn about and to love Christians in spite of a history of hurtful words spoken or actions done by them.  Any prejudices and barriers that exist, exist on both sides and must be dealt with in a loving, respectful way.

As Kaltenbach states, "I didn't write this book to tell you what to think. I wrote this book to share my heart with you and to hopefully help you think on a deeper level about this issue." He succeeds in doing this by weaving personal anecdotes about growing up as the son of separated gay and lesbian parents and the precious people in the LBGT community whom he encountered through the years, both before and after he became a Christian. Not once does his decision to follow Christ and the Biblical lifestyle cause him to disrespect or disavow his family and friends; if anything, his decision to follow Christ stirs up a greater love for them as he realizes that they need the Lord as much as he does (as much as any of us does).

Kaltenbach doesn't shy away from calling homosexuality a sin, based on his Biblical beliefs, but he is also not shy about inviting, even urging, Christians to pursue meaningful relationships with individuals in the LGBT community so that we can "think critically and talk comfortably about the issue of homosexuality." Christians "need to overcome our inner resistance to getting involved with those who are different from us" and "to lose our us-versus-them mentality" because we're all sinners in need of God's grace. He also reminds us that is is "not our job to make gay people straight; it is our job to lead anyone and everyone to Christ." Amen to that!

I commend Kaltenbach for presenting a complex and often divisive issue in such a humble, sensitive, and practical manner, and I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about relating to and responding to the people of the LGBT community with grace and truth.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from for review. 

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