Messy Grace: How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction – Caleb Kaltenbach
First let me say that this was an informative, enjoyable read. It had Bible verses throughout, and used those verses to support thoughts and opinions stated in the book. However, Kaltenbach has a phrase he uses constantly – “the tension of grace and truth”. The first few times he used the phrase it was okay, but the repetition quickly got irritating. He also used the word “messy” frequently, but it wasn’t as annoying as the “tension” phrase.
Kaltenbach brought to the table some thoughts on how to react to people from the LGBT community as a Christian, and for the most part they seemed like good, informed ideas – especially since he was raised in the LGBT community, and thus has personal experience to speak from. For instance, Kaltenbach tells us that the best reaction to someone ‘coming out’ as lesbian or gay is to thank the person. He goes on to tell us that this is a very personal confession, and that the person coming out to us is revealing an important part of themselves to us – a part that they would not reveal to just anyone. He tells us how not to react as well; such as, “don’t look disappointed” (pg. 109). By telling us the best way to react, we have a better idea of how to reach out to the people in our lives that identify with the LGBT community.
Messy Grace is also filled with personal stories, both from Kaltenbach’s own experience and his retelling of stories from people he knows. This book will be helpful in reaching out to those that are LGBT, and will allow us to be more informed.
One of my few complaints with this book is that the first five or so chapters are somewhat misleading. Since they refer solely to Christians that mistreat, treat differently, or otherwise insult those in the LGBT lifestyle, Messy Grace would lead us to believe that all Christians act that way toward people inclined towards LGBT – which is not the case at all. Rather, from personal experience, I would say that the Christians discussed within those chapters do not represent the majority of us. Yes, they may be the more outspoken Christians, but that does not mean they are the only Christians. In fact, I would hesitate to refer to people who would treat other people in such a way as Christians, but that is a whole other topic.
If you are curious about Christianity as it relates to the LGBT community and how to act around those in such a lifestyle, read this book. It is filled with informative stories and information, and comes from a Biblical standpoint.
Before picking up Messy Grace, I was concerned that Kaltenbach might be a Christian who tries to teach ‘Biblical’ acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle, but he does not. My fears were misplaced. He only teaches the hard Biblical reality – otherwise known as living in the “tension of grace and truth” – so don’t let that concern keep you from reading this book.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.