Permission to Speak Freely

in the perfect Church, there are no more secrets, only mysteries. JKS

i sat on a bench overlooking the pacific ocean, soaking in the ocean air, being tickled by the breeze. and delighted by the clarity offered in this simple yet extraordinary place.  in my hand i held Anne Jackson’s new book, Permission to Speak Freely.  falling deep into it’s words, i’d encourage myself to glance up and witness the crashing of waves after each chapter.  my thoughts were many as i identified with her story and with her hope for how this sacrifice would be received.

Anne’s book felt good in my hand.  i read the intro first and then went ahead to the personal stories, confessions, poems, and essays that were submitted online to answer the question “What is the one thing you feel that you can’t say in the Church?”  page 69 stood out particularly to me.  it was my brother’s story.   it simply reads “i spoke up. the church fired me.”  it isn’t a unique story and in essence that is why he shared it.  my mind quickly headed to the back cover… Donald Miller read his story, Seth Godin read it too! and then to the praise page… Shane Claiborne read it, Pete Wilson, Jon Acuff, Charles Lee!  but then it settled in, i read it.  the pastor who is now pioneering a church, also fired, will read it.  the former creative director of so & so mega church that has decided to take break from the messy church will read it.  the girl who’s watching church online, at a safe distance, because the church has fired her in so many ways, may just read it.  this is the beauty of story.  we identify and then we don’t feel alone.  keeping quiet keeps us isolated.

as i made my way through Permission to Speak Freely, it became clear that the point wasn’t only to allow for freedom, but that within this freedom would come healing, restoration, and the kind of unity within the Church that we only read about in the book of Acts.  i have a story.  i am living a developing story.  we all are.  i have questions.  i am living a life full of questions.  we all have questions.  the Church need not be afraid of our stories, of our questions, of our mess or our hopes.  and we, as the Church, need not be afraid of each other’s stories, questions, observations, perceptions, and differences.

Anne’s book doesn’t have an ending or a prescription of what we should do next.  but as humans, we know what to do next.  we know what is right.  in our guts we know it.  sharing, communing, discovering, and inviting… this is living.  i encourage you to read Anne’s story.  i encourage you to share your story.  i encourage you to listen to what others may be trying to speak, because giving yourself and others permission to speak freely is also committing to give space and time to listen intently.

Humanity is wonderful and flawed because I am wonderful and flawed.  Humanity is wonderful and flawed because you are wonderful and flawed.  And when we confess the simple truth of both to each other, we embrace the grace and mercy our Father God has given us…

Anne Jackson ~excerpt from Permission to Speak Freely~

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Comments (8)
  1. “in our guts we know it”

    thank you.

      • JuliaKate
      • September 7th, 2010

      thank you for reading and responding… listening really. thank you for listening to the Spirit of God as He prompted to you to speak up on something that may cost you. your sacrifice was not in vain. God is with us in the silence and in speech.

  2. I love the heart of this book. Anne is an amazing person.

    I have often wondered what “church” would be like if people were honest about things…not just the sinners at the alter call, but even more importantly the leaders who stand as examples to the sinners at the alter call.

    What would happen if leaders were portrayed more as peers on a journey than pseudo-experts of good and evil? What would happen if the paychecks and positions no longer defined us, but rather our momentum in the journey of knowing Christ?

    Open, honest conversation on journey to know Christ…what a novel concept (insert sarcasm). Guess it starts with me.

      • JuliaKate
      • September 7th, 2010

      brother… it started with Him and continues with us. continuing is such a great responsibility, but living openly is living out the freedom He sacrificed for. love you.

    • Dorienne
    • September 7th, 2010

    As I’m pondering the lessons in this particularly rough part of my journey, it has become keenly aware to me that we in the Church (me, included) take our faith far too lightly.

    Generally – when we finally recognize that we’ve sinned, missed the mark or hurt someone, we hastily and perhaps sloppily apologize to God, say the Name and the Blood and quickly move on. That does not work and I don’t really hear anyone telling us that it isn’t working! What is repentance? In Hebrew, the word is “t’shuvah” which means to return back to. It requires a decision and action to really change ourselves so that we can return back to walking holy and pleasingly before our Creator. We must delve into our own hearts and examine ourselves to ensure we’re living the kind of life that He has intended for us!

    All that was to say this…. Since the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart, if our hearts are pure because we are actually, intentionally changing ourselves for Him, I wonder just how much this issue of speaking freely, or not, can be resolved?

      • JuliaKate
      • September 7th, 2010

      always so well spoken Dorienne. i encourage you to read the book. you may be surprised by the approach. this could open the eyes and eventual mouths of many.

  3. I so enjoyed this book. One of my favorite things about it was that she didn’t tie it all up at the end in a neat package. It’s messy, it’s raw, it’s genuine. It needed to be said. Great review! 🙂

      • JuliaKate
      • September 7th, 2010

      i loved that part too… but i guess i loved so much of it. i can really hear Anne’s heart for the church in this book and essentially, i really heard God’s heart for His church in this book.

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