I recently had the pleasure of reading a review copy of Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach. I was very tentative about reading this book, as I am about any book relating to the subject of homosexuality and the church. The subtitle, "how a pastor with gay parents learned to love others without sacrificing conviction", intrigued me and led me to believe the author had some credibility on this subject.
This is an issue I have wrestled with for the past 20 years, and not because of it's rising popularity and acceptance in the past few decades. Rather, a close family member of mine is gay, and our differences in opinions have caused great rifts in our relationship over the years. At times I have responded poorly (in my opinion) to the gay community because of my convictions, and for that I am very regretful. However, through Caleb's story, example and encouragement, I believe I can move forward in relationship with members of the gay community AND continue to hold on to my (not so popular) convictions.
When he was very young, Caleb's parents divorced and his mother entered into a lesbian relationship almost immediately. He spent most of his time with his mom and her partner, and was raised in the LGBT community. Although he didn't realize it until much later, his father also admitted to being gay.
Caleb's earliest memories and impressions of Christians were those people holding hate signs at the gay pride parades. As a teenager he encountered Christ, and discovered the teachings in the Bible. Eventually this led to his baptism and a call to enter the ministry as a pastor. You can imagine this decision was not popular with those who had raised him.
As he weaves his story - his upbringing, his conversion and his new understandings of homosexuality - with personal examples from his relationships with those in the LGBT community, Caleb humbly shares what he has learned.
I believe everyone who reads this book will gain something. For those who hold to Biblical convictions that God's design for marriage and sexual relations is limited to one man and one woman, they will find courage to seek out relationships with those within the gay community. For those who just cannot understand why some would hold to such archaic convictions, they will find understanding for why those beliefs are held.
I found this book to be challenging and comforting. I am grateful for Caleb's story and his willingness to encourage others by sharing it.
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Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.