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Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace Paperback – August 30, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jackson's 2008 blog query-"What is one thing you feel you can't say in church?"-evoked huge response and birthed a Web site that became this book, whose purpose is "to show you that you're not alone in your battle with fear and secrets." Jackson doesn't pull punches when she talks about fear, brokenness, and confession. "When you confess something that's shattered in your life,... you're acknowledging that you need the Cross" is the typical forthright statement you'll find here. One of Jackson's best "permissions" is what she calls the "Gift of Going Second," when you confess or reveal something first, which allows others the freedom to follow in candor, giving a gift that keeps moving forward. Included are pages of full-color, confessional artwork submitted to her by mail or blog, as well as her heartfelt encouragement to "step up and confess-not only the bad, but confess the good and noble as well." This is a pointed, much needed glimpse at the toughness of life and at the grace and goodness that can come when one person speaks freely.
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From the Inside Flap

"There is redemption and freedom that occurs when darkness is forced into the light, sometimes disguised as awkwardly spoken words. Somebody is waiting on you to tell your story. To share how you're being rescued. To share how scary it is but how beautiful it is. So take a step. Confess the beautiful and broken. It happens one word at a time." -- Anne Jackson

In the voice of an engaging but battle-scarred friend, Anne Jackson questions a church culture that "sacrifices the beauty of confession and brokenness for religious trappings and the malady of perfectionism." Read through the poems, essays, stories and confessions in this book and join Anne on this journey. It's time to face our fears. It's time to live in a community of healing confession. It's time to move past shame and into hope. It's time we had permission to speak freely.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849945992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849945991
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,096,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Marie Miller (formerly Anne Jackson) has written several books.

* Mad Church Disease - Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (Zondervan, February 2009 - Anne Jackson)
* Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace (Thomas Nelson, August 2010 - Anne Jackson).
* Beating Burnout: A 30 Day Guide to Hope and Health (May 2014 - Anne Marie Miller)
* Mad Church Disease - Healing from Church Burnout (Expanded and Updated) (July 2014 - Anne Marie Miller)
* Lean on Me: Finding Intentional, Vulnerable and Consistent Community (Thomas Nelson, October 2014 - Anne Marie Miller)
* Surviving Christmas: Advent Devotions for the Hard and Holy Holidays

She is under contract for two more books due to publish in 2016 and 2017 with Baker Publishing Group.

Anne speaks internationally at colleges, conventions and churches on issues like social justice, sexuality, health, addiction, grace and restoration. She has traveled around the United States and to 20 countries telling the stories of hope found in least likely places.

Since 1999, Anne has been communicating for and with corporations, non-profits, faith-based organizations and publishing giants. In addition to her position as a bi-weekly columnist for Relevant Magazine, she has written features for publications such as Cosmopolitan, Leadership Journal, Christianity Today, Neue, Reject Apathy, Youth Worker Journal, Outreach Magazine, PurposeDriven.com, ChurchLeaders.com, The United Methodist Reporter, and BeliefNet.com.

Anne hasn't always been just a writer. For three years in the late 90s, she managed a profitable bookstore. She then took a year to learn the ins-and-outs of non-profit budget analysis. When she realized math was her arch-nemesis, she jumped into the world of communication, first as a marketing and business development associate for a top-50 dot.com and then as a graphic communications designer and ad copywriter. In 2003, she took her first ministry position and spent six years on staff at various churches in communication, technology and project management roles. In 2009, Anne left her steady paycheck and health insurance behind and currently desires to help as many people as possible as a freelance writer, strategy consultant, and all-around Jill of Most Trades. Anne has helped raise over $2 million dollars for various non-profit organizations.


Anne is an advocate for many great organizations. She was a cyclist on the 2010 Ride:Well Tour, a cross-country cycling tour in Summer 2010. The two-month long, 3000 mile trip from San Diego to Myrtle Beach raised awareness and funds for water projects in Africa. She's also a big fan of The Mentoring Project and To Write Love on Her Arms.

Anne Marie and her husband Tim, a youth pastor, live in Lubbock, Texas.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By O. Brown HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
*****
This new book by author Anne Jackson should be read by every Christian who is concerned about being real, and who is concerned about the church--even if, especially if you've been wounded by and/or alienated by the church. The subtitle of this book is "Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace"--the book revolves around the fear that we all have, the blessing that confession (speaking the truth) can be, and the grace that God offers us, especially in relationship with others.

But this is not a typical Christian self-help book, which I think is its strength. It is an amalgamation of art, stories (including many from the author's own life), poetry, and more. Reading it delivers an experience of feeling that can be rare sometimes in the Christian world--the feeling that we can be real, we can be who we are, we can say how we really and truly feel (yes, all of it) and it is okay, even good. It sort of gives you permission to feel. To be. To receive love from God and from others. This is hard to describe in a review. Most of all this book delivers a wonderful experience, like taking a bath in God's love and grace.

The book reminds me in some ways of the PostSecret books by Frank Warren, and the art is similar in that it is confessional and real. But this book is Christian, and it includes lots of text (unlike the PostSecret books) in the form of short chapters, poetry, confessional autobiography, and lessons the author has learned--the latter is my favorite part of the book. I found it slightly disorganized (not a bad thing in this case) and profound. I loved it!

I have recently recommitted my life to Christ and returned to the church and found this to be a healing balm for my soul.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Benji Zimmerman on August 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
In 2009 Anne Jackson a popular blogger released her first book, Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic, with the intent of providing a how-to-guide to help church leaders, pastors and volunteers from becoming burnout with church work. Although I loved the book and wrote a rave review I felt as though Anne's desire was not to provide a how-to-guide but rather to tell her story of burnout. Somewhat successful her book sold well but struck a nerve with older church leaders who felt her thirty years of life was not enough experience to speak to the subject of burnout.

What I feel Anne wanted to share but failed to communicate in Mad Church Disease is beautifully portrayed and profoundly written in her sophomore release, Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace. The book is built on the premise of one question written on her blog in 2008: "What is the one thing you feel you can't say in the church?" Instead of copying the likes of the Post Secret community, Anne dives deep into her own personal story and exposes the hurt, burnout and pain she suffered through years of love/hate relationship between her, the church and church people.

Motivated by honesty and humility this book is ripe with grace, forgiveness and truth. PTSF is fantastic read for anyone who has been hurt by the church or church people, it is an excellent reminder that confession of sin has the power to transform and the gift of forgiveness empowers us to move on. Each of us has our own story, while reading PTSF one can not help but identify with Anne's story in one way or another.

"And so I began to wonder. Can a book actually change the world? My gut feeling? No. Book's can't. But people can." (pg.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John M. Alexander VINE VOICE on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Anne simply asks the question, "what is the one thing you feel you can't say in the church?" From page one the book enters into her story and her pain and experience with the church. In the midst of a very explicit and relatable story comes poems, pictures, and confessions of the people who answered this very question.

Anne forces and enables the conversation of why the church is a place that people feel they need to hide who they are. Why do we hide our secrets from a place that we feel should be "safe?" Why do we feel MOST JUDGED in a place where we believe judgement is in the hands of the Maker?

This book was VERY INTERESTING and provoked a lot more thought into the very topic of WHO the church is. From page one to the end I could NOT put the book down. My copy can no longer be sold on amazon with the word "new" next to it. It is very much "OLD," "UNDERLINED," "USED!" My hand was cramped more from all the underlining I did than holding the book itself! Anne allowed the biblical teachings of the church to shine through in the midst of the journey she took her readers on through the right of sanctuary the Christian church adopted in the 4th century to the abolishment of it in the 18th century. She brought church and church history forward in a way that was appealing and inspirational.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to future readers who especially feel that the role of the church is based on religion and law. If this is you PLEASE read this book, and challenge yourself to be open-minded with the message!
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