I’ve been wanting to read Anne Jackson’s latest book Permission to Speak Freely for months, but just never got around to ordering it- I mean the overflow of books on my nightstand isn’t really screaming to add one to the stack. However, a few weeks ago Michael Hyatt offered to give away one hundred of her books on his blog- and I managed to win!
I read through the introduction as soon as I got the book in the mail and knew I would finish it over the weekend. I’ve mentioned before that I follow Anne’s blog and I remember when she posed the question, “What is one thing you feel you can’t say in the church?”. I don’t think I commented on the post, but I do remember reading the comments because I was curious what people would say. That one post birthed this book.
The style of this book was different yet so refreshing. It was personal and raw, but left enough space for your own confessions. Anne shares her own confessions about things that are often “taboo” in church- depression and porn (as a woman’s issue).
I personally connected so much with the fear she talked about. I realize that I’m gripped by fear way more than I should be, and that’s an area I need to work more on.
What I loved most about this book is that while Anne shares a lot of her own struggles and hurt that came from the church, she doesn’t bash it or leave you questioning the Church. I believe it breaks the heart of God to see his Church hurting people as much as it hurts us.
As far as an ending? I loved the fact that there wasn’t one. A simple 4- step formula for confession isn’t going to be what gets us telling our deepest, darkest secrets to one another. As long as we are on this side of heaven we, as Christians, are in need of confession- safe and loving places for confession. This isn’t the kind of thing that could (or should) be neatly packaged- we have enough of those kind of books in the self-help section of every bookstore. This subject is a messy one and I think this book is a great conversation-starter for the Church.
Thanks Anne for going first, and for starting a conversation that, I think, is the beginning of a long one.
For more info about the book, check out PermissiontoSpeakFreely. Go get one for someone (or yourself) for Christmas.