Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace
By Anne Jackson
Anne Jackson’s new book is brave and beautiful. And it is what the church needs. Many churches bemoan the falling off of young adults and the challenges in staying relevant to their lives. Anne was one of those teenagers, one of those young adults who couldn’t bear to be in a place that didn’t welcome her as she was, with all of her brokenness. But Anne realized that we are all broken, and she uses this book to reach the brokenness in all of us – to welcome it and release it and replace it with love. And this is the picture of Jesus – inviting confession, healing the broken, and pouring out love. Through the stories and art of Anne’s life and those she has met, we see a broken church. Then, in Anne’s open confessions, we see that God provides the hope, help, and healing. When the church provided rejection, God provided grace. Anne writes about the church being a refuge and how it needs to return to being that space for all of us, in our brokenness and through our healing as a picture of God’s love.
By giving her confession, Anne is giving all of us a beautiful gift. She is helping the church understand how it appears to those who are struggling and why young people are turning away. She is inspiring us to confess our own struggles by showing what a blessing confession can be and how it is the first step towards healing. She is providing us with a sense of community and oneness – the message that we are not alone. And she is showing us what grace looks like, providing hope to all of us that are lost.
Read this book because you want to understand young people. Read this book because you struggle. Read this book if you feel rejected or alone. Read this book if you need some hope. Read this book to experience God’s grace. Read this book to learn what it means to love your neighbor in our broken world.
And then thank God for giving Anne the courage to write this book and speak to crowds with open arms using her struggles to bring all of us closer to Him. I know I did.
This book can be borrowed from the Media Center – BK630.