Thursday, November 19, 2015

Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach

Sometimes, grace gets messy.

Caleb Kaltenbach was raised by LGBT parents, marched in gay pride parades as a youngster, and experienced firsthand the hatred and bitterness of some Christians toward his family.

But then Caleb surprised everyone, including himself, by becoming a Christian…and a pastor.

Very few issues in Christianity are as divisive as the acceptance of the LGBT community in the church. As a pastor and as a person with beloved family members living a gay lifestyle, Caleb had to face this issue with courage and grace. 

Messy Grace shows us that Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” doesn’t have an exception clause for a gay “neighbor”—or for that matter, any other “neighbor” we might find it hard to relate to. Jesus was able to love these people and yet still hold on to his beliefs. So can you. Even when it’s messy.

My review:
  I'll admit I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book. With so many churches and Christians going with pro-gay theology, and the author being the son of two gay parents; I wondered if he might be of that persuasion.

  As I read the book, I was happy to see the author does not go with the pro-gay theology. He does a great job of balancing the truth with compassion. A lot of the book emphasizes the need for Christians to be more loving towards gay people, and accept them as people. Since he grew up around gay pride parades and other gay related things, he saw a lot of hate from Christians and knows from personal experience He then addresses the need to be honest and not compromise the truth of what the Bible says about homosexuality.

  There is something for everyone in this book. If you're a Christian afraid of gay people, if you're pro-gay theology, and if you are gay yourself. He covers what to say and what not to say if someone confides in you that you're gay, and has some very helpful things to say to those who are gay but want to be a Christian. And there is a lot in the book about how churches need to be more welcoming to people who are not like us and who don't have it all together.

 The book is a fast read and is an awesome testimony that God can reach anyone anywhere. I did feel the author was a bit too careful to condemn people living gay lifestyles and professing to be Christians, but overall this is an excellent book all Christians should read; whether or not you think you know any gay people.

About the author:

Caleb Kalenbach is the Lead Pastor at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, CA.Raised in the LGBT community, he was exposed to how some Christians treated the LGBT community, and grew to hate Christians. In high school, he joined a Bible study to disprove the Bible, but ended up following Jesus instead. Later, his parents followed Jesus too. This is the subject of his first book, "Messy Grace" --holding on to the truth of God's Word while being filled with grace.Caleb is a graduate of Ozark Christian College, Talbot School of Theology (Biola University), and is finishing his doctorate at Dallas Theological Seminary. He speaks widely on the subjects of reconciliation, faith, diversity, and grace/truth. Caleb and his wife, Amy, reside in Southern California with their two kids.

Messy Grace is available from Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing.

Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for the review copy.