Monday, December 28, 2015
Wouldn't it be nice if, when someone merely mentioned the name of Jesus, people became Christians with no baggage, no past and no consequences from their past? What if, at the very mention of grace, everyone became nice and neat and could simply take their place next to us in our favorite pew? Not our seat, of course. But next to us in a pew that miraculously and suddenly had room for one more.
Unfortunately, that is not the way grace, or pews for that matter, works.
I recently finished Messy Grace, by Caleb Kaltenbach, a book I believe should be required reading for every Christian. Oh, I suppose the ideas have already been recorded somewhere in a book that is considered required reading for Christians, but somehow many of us have missed the application of truth that the Bible offers.
Does it make sense if I say that Messy Grace is groundbreaking while not actually offering anything new? I don't mean that in merely the sense of 'there is nothing new under the sun' as we read in Ecclesiastes. I mean that Kaltenbach has literally taken the example of Jesus and the encouragement of the New Testament writers and applied it in the way which should be foundational for people who say they love Jesus.
Caleb writes that grace is necessarily messy, because it is the mixture of truth, something we often use as a weapon, with love, something we don't use enough of. To make matters even more sticky, he applies it in this book to the subject of homosexuality. But not simply the topic, but the people who identify as homosexuals.
He admits that people on both sides of this divide will likely disagree with him at points along the book, but thankfully, he wrote it anyways. I was thrilled that Caleb did not simply give us bumper stickers or new banners to wave, but gave us practical action points and plenty of opportunity for discussion.
Like many books, this one offers discussion questions along the way, making this a good group read. I received this book from my good friends at Blogging for Books. They don't tell me what to say, but simply ask that I say something.