This book at the center takes on the issue of sin and the need to deal with it through God's grace by the writer telling her story of struggling with addictions and abuse as she seeks to find healing and peace. She also shares the journeys of several other people as they also find their way to healing.
While I found this book to be quite visually stimulating with the use of illustrations and liberal use of poetry I still found it to be quite incomplete and inconsistent in the approach it took to the subject matter. While it is important to recognize sin and to ask God to give us grace to deal with the challenges we face we must remember that it is through Christ that we are able to, and are called to, have victory over sin and not sit in it. (1 Corinthians 10: 13; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
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Anne Jacksons, second book Permission to Speak Freely is a compilation of her own journey and artists submissions about the valley of the shadow of death. While she doesnt say it like that, she does use personal history and great tact to basically come right out and say what so many people are fearful of; to admit that Christianity isnt wrapped up in tiny little bows. We all know that is true, we all know that life is messy and there is pain. Whatever that pain is; addiction, abuse, doubt; mainly sin. Sometimes the sin is ours and other times it is the sin of others that has been thrust upon us. We struggle with wanting to talk about it. Because talking about it brings it out into the light. Admitting it is the first step to healing, forgiveness, or even awareness.
I have met Anne a handful of times, and we have many mutual friends... I also enjoy following and reading Anne's blog and twitter posts, as she is a great writer. The topic of this book is definitely interesting. Why is it that the church is the very place we feel least comfortable being honest and open? We feel the need to paste on a happy face and pretend that everything is great around fellow Christians, when it obviously isn't. This book is Anne's contribution in breaking down that misconception, in letting us know that it's OK to be broken. We all are in some way. Anne tells her story, offers scripture, art and poetry throughout the beautifully put together book... but there is no easy answer to fix your heart. Don't expect a last chapter or paragraph tying it all up and handing you the key to healing or success. It's a personal, spiritual journey, and Anne allows you to take the reins and go from here. Anne is very open about her failures, strongholds and brokenness... we should all have an opportunity to be as honest and real.
First picking up this book, I instantly flipped thru it and was drawn to read the confessions/art work post cards sent in by readers of her blog. I quickly found a couple that I identified with. I knew this was a book I ought to read. After flipping thru the book I was instantly reminded of Frank Warren's "Post Secret" Project which I loved. I enjoyed Anne Jackson's book as sort of a Christian Answer to "Post Secret." The church talks about being "real" but some of the topics of the postcards or parts of Anne's story were ones I'd never heard of in the church much less much outside of the church. The author's raw honesty drew me into her story.
It started with one simple question:"What is one thing you feel you can't say in church?"The response that Anne Jackson received was phenomenal. She had struck a nerve with believers and nonbelievers alike. Using the responses she received, plus her own personal experiences, she wrote, PERMISSION TO SPEAK FREELY.Growing up in Southern Baptist churches, a preacher's daughter, it became apparent to Anne that what Christians say and do in church is completely different from what the Bible tells us. She did not see or feel the love and grace that she read about in the Bible. This made a big impression on her as a young child...a negative one. And it was the actions of those "Christians" from her early childhood that changed the course of her life. Anne set out on a journey to try to escape the loneliness she felt and the pain and confusion she was experiencing. * Alcohol * Pills * Addiction * Sex * AbuseShe was searching for that "safe" place we all long for. A place where she could talk freely about her loneliness and brokenness without feeling rejected or shunned. I am going to be honest with you...I cried while reading this book...a lot! Now, the average person may not become so emotional while reading this book, but I felt such a connection with this dear author and the suffering she experienced. I have walked a similar path with my daughter.I don't want you to think this book is all about church-bashing, because it's not. Permission to Speak Freely is a beautiful book filled with art, poetry, true confessions, the word of God, and so much more. Anne writes this book to let all of us know we are not alone in our: * Shame * Brokenness * Fear * Pain * LonelinessPermission to Speak Freely is a book we can all relate to, especially if you have ever felt to need to keep silent in church.