Books in Review: Messy Truth
I was so excited when I heard that Caleb Kaltenbach was going to be releasing another book on the topic of handling LGBTQ discussions and issues within the church. I was so encouraged and impacted by his first book Messy Grace that I knew I had to read this one. In the end, I found this book to be just as good and is a fantastic companion to Messy Grace. Speaking from his experience of being raised by gay parents, becoming a pastor, maintaining his convictions about the biblical definition of marriage, and still making how to love others and foster community with those who disagree with him, there is a wealth of wisdom to be gained from this book. Besides all this, I have to give him extra brownie points since he graduated from my alma mater, Ozark Christian College. If you read the first book, this one is a must-read. If you haven’t read either book, I highly recommend both of them together ~ Bethel
Living our lives in light of the truth can sometimes be messy. This is because we live in a world that at best undervalues the truth and at worst is dismissive of any form of objective truth. This can make it difficult for those that embrace truth to build community with those that only embrace truth subjectively. This principle is proven true when observing the LGBTQ community and its activists. Finding ways to walk the tightrope of balancing grace and truth for Christians towards these individuals is a journey that too few Christians and churches have embarked upon and those that do are often left with more questions than answers. It makes us ask the question: how do we build influence and an inclusive community without sacrificing our convictions?
In his book Messy Truth, Caleb Kaltenbach walks through ways in which Christians and church leaders can build inclusive communities without sacrificing theological convictions. Speaking from experience of years of pastoral work, Kaltenbach acknowledges the difficulties of balancing grace and truth and concludes that it is necessary to build the community and influence we need to reach those that need Christ’s love. We are reminded that more than our stances on the biblical definition of marriage or any other theological convictions, we need to see everything we meet those the lens of value they have as an image-bearer of God that Christ died to redeem, and that knowing their value should dictate how we treat them. We learn that we need to be willing to surrender all of our convictions and personal views to align with Christ, even if we disagree with Him. With these principles as the foundation, we can start using our influence to make our churches into places where the people we disagree with belong by acknowledging their experiences and learning to empathize with them. This will put you in the best position to walk alongside those who may be walking away from sinful choices or to confront them in a God-honoring way. The principles on how to prepare for and facilitate discussions are insightful and practical, regardless of the type of difficult conversation you are facing. This book needs to become a significant part of the conversation on how to unify churches when people disagree, not just about LGBTQ issues, but about any issue that has the potential to divide us. I was encouraged, impacted, and challenged by this book, and I believe you will be too. Get your copy today!
To read my review of Caleb’s first book, Messy Grace, click here.
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Books in Review: What to Say When
I was quite excited to hear about the publication of this resource. I became aware of 40 Days for Life and their resources when I first watched the movie Unplanned. After some research, I can to have a lot of respect for this organization and what they do. So when I had the opportunity to read this book through a free trial for Kindle Unlimited, I was excited to read it. This is a great resource addressing many of the flaws in the pro-choice movement. I think this book should be on the shelf of anyone who claims to be pro-life ~ Bethel
Abortion is one of the most controversial topics in American culture. When it comes us in discussion between people that disagree, it has the potential to destroy relationships and reputations. Those that support the pro-life cause struggle with knowing how to engage in discussions with someone pro-choice because of the vigor and repetitiveness of the arguments. Many who believe are pro-life are held back from the discussion by fear, while others don’t hold back and end up doing more harm than good by the methods they use in their discussion. It makes us ask the question: what should I say when someone tries to defend abortion?
In their book What to Say When, author Shawn Carney and Steve Karlen walk pro-life supporters through intentional and grace-filled ways to address many of the most popular arguments in favor of abortion. With years of experience and diligent research, the authors break through the harmful rhetoric of the pro-choice movement and give their readers practical and straightforward tools and insights on how they can bring the discussion about abortion back to the reality of what this procedure does: kill a living baby. You will quickly find that many of pro-choice tactics are become distractions to change the subject, because modern medical knowledge and technology is making it harder and harder for anyone to deny the viability of an unborn child. This book will strengthen any pro-lifer’s resolve by giving them the resources they need to stand on the truth of value of all human life, not matter what way a discussion turns out. This book is well-written and easy to understand. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know how to speak up for the pro-life cause. Get your copy today!
Books in Review: Messy Grace
From the moment I heard what this book was about, I was intrigued. Loving the LGBT community has been both a serious struggle and topic of significant controversy among Christians for decades. This struggle has been one that I have personally wrestled with every time I’ve heard of a friend or a family member that has chosen to identify with that lifestyle. So when I heard there was a book written by an Ozark Christian College graduate that has gay parents and found a way to love them without compromising conviction, I knew it was a book I wanted to read. But it took recently learning about another close friend making that lifestyle choice for me to determine that this was a book that I needed to buy. When I did finally read it, I was not disappointed. This pastor has a heart for this difficult-to-reach community that is rare, because he was raised in that community. I now have a perspective to help me still uphold the truth of God’s word, but to also love these people as never before, thanks to this book. This is now my first recommendation on the topic of homosexuality for Christians, hands down. ~ Bethel
Giving grace is really hard. We have all received it, but Christians struggle to give to those that need it the most. This seems to be especially true when it comes to a Christian’s response to the LGBT community. When it comes to responding to this people group, they often choose to push on the truth in a condescending way, or they choose to order too much grace, to the point that they ignore what God has to say on the subject. Neither one on its own fully pleases God, but we struggle to find a way to find a balance between grace and truth. Especially they put the label of “hater” on us just as quickly as some will put the label of “sinner” on them. In the end, we are left unsure of how to even begin to approach the subject in a Christ-honoring way. It makes us ask the question: Is there a way to love those in LGBT community in a Christ-honoring way? Can we love them without compromising our convictions?
In Caleb Kaltenbach’s book, Messy Grace, he shares his personal journey of having two gay parents, finding his way to the Lord as a teenager, and eventually learning how to love those in the LGBT community without compromising his conviction about homosexuality. You follow Caleb as he describes how he was partly raised by his mom and her partner, and how he even participated in gay pride parades. He was taught that Christian hate gay people. When he was teenager, he started going to church, and he eventually became a Christian and was baptized. His parents were less than supportive, even his dad who was still in the closet at the time. He eventually went to Christian college (my alma mater, Ozark Christian College) and became a pastor, and has learned about how to minister to the LGBT community. He walks us through what it means for us as Christians to live in the tension between grace and truth, demonstrating that it is possible as he displays in his own personal journey. He shares what this can look like in the context of a church, and helps us to see that in order to love as Jesus loved those who struggle, we have to be willing to get a little messy.
You will be inspired and challenged by Caleb’s testimony and biblically grounded insight, if you choose to take these truths to heart. This is a book that every Christian about 13 or older needs to read, especially if you have loved one that identifies as LGBT. This book is available pretty everywhere Christian books are sold, so get your copy today!
Lion's Eyes Reviews is a blog dedicated to reviews of Christian books, most of which are non-fiction, but may also occasionally review movies and musicals. It will also feature the work Bethel does to help launch and promote the works of Christian authors.
The name is derived from one of Bethel's favorite books, Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko. Through these reviews, Bethel hope to give Christians the tools they need to look at the world "through the eyes of a lion" so they can find the courage to "run toward the roar".
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Bethel Grove is a Christian young woman who loves to read and write, eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards, and disciple teen girls as a youth leader. What started as a hobby of writing book reviews and doing deep biblical studies eventually led her down the path of self-publishing and helping other Christian authors launch their books. She hopes to someday be a vocational youth minister and well-known author.
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