Monday, September 14, 2015

Messy Grace by Caleb Kalenbach

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.

Available at  Amazon, Waterbrook

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.

I received this book courtesy of Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

My Thoughts:
This book is extremely insightful. Written by a man who was raised by not just one, but two parents involved in the LGBT community, Caleb has incredible insight into the community, and how to reach them for the kingdom of heaven.

Caleb became a Christian as a teen, while, actually, secretly trying to find ammunition against Christianity, after seeing many so called Christians treat those in the LGBT community with an attitude that was anything but the love of Jesus.

This book is about the tension between grace and truth. Caleb in no way condones the same sex lifestyle, but he does open our eyes to see how Jesus went about loving sinners while at the same time, not participating or condoning their life style. He continually provides Scripture to support loving sinners, and also provides Scripture that clearly states that lifestyle as sin.

Caleb asks hard questions, give much food for thought, and doesn't compromise his convictions while standing firm in the truth. Grace is messy. Some people lean too far to one extreme or the other. They either abound in grace by accepting everything, or they may be so focused on truth, they forget to speak that truth in love. Rather, they condemn the sin and the sinner and instead of drawing them to the goodness and love of God. People feel snubbed by the believer's attitudes - which many times are also rooted in the sin of pride or self-righteousness. 

This book will help you take a look at the LGBT community and see them as a people, who although they may differ from your lifestyle, are still people created and loved by God. It will help you know how to talk to them, witness to them, while not compromising your convictions or faith in God. Caleb admits that there may be times a person will have to make a choice, and those choices may not be easy.  With all the changes coming about in our society recently, I would say this book is a great resource to have. Recommending this book doesn't necessarily mean I agree with everything in it, but it has certainly benefited me and opened my eyes to a need that is not being filled. I believe in grace and truth, and the love of God for sinners, and the need for us as Christians to find a way to communicate that love to them, while not approving the lifestyle.

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