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Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace Paperback – August 30, 2010
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
Top customer reviews
I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks they are alone in their struggles, and to anyone who thinks they have wandered too far from grace. But this book is not just to encourage the downtrodden. I would also recommend this book to anyone who loves redemption stories, who is looking for honesty in a culture of masks.
Whether you believe your life is a mess beyond repair, are currently in a healing process, wonder how God will use your story, feel trapped by your secrets, love or hate the church, Jackson's story is heartfelt and relateable.
I admire her honesty, especially as anyone now has access to her published pain. This book has inspired me to speak freely.
Two years ago, Anne posted a question on her blog [...] She simply asked, "What is one thing you feel you can't say in the church?" Hundreds responded and the conversation went global. Later, she launched [...] In this book, the author shares some of the confessions that she received from the website. She makes it clear that these confessions aren't directed at the church saying, "Instead, I believe the confessions in this book fly as misdirected arrows, coming from hearts so wounded they desperately need grace, freedom, clarity, beauty... and hope." (quote from the introduction of the book)
As a pastor/mentor, I have been given the great privilege to walk the journey of spiritual freedom with many women. We all have our own `messy facts' of life to deal with. Our stories may all be different but the steps we take to freedom are the same. This book paints a wonderful and very practical picture of all the steps necessary to walk in freedom. A loving God filled with grace and mercy who never gives up on us even when we want to give up on Him and ourselves. The power of admission and confession - the importance of knowing the difference.
"...there is a difference between admission and confession... Admission is just sharing something that's wrong so you can get it off you chest. Confession, on the other hand, is the beginning of transformation." (quote from page 123)
So often I have said there are the facts in our life and then there is the truth. First, get the facts out into the light, then allow the truth of God to bring the freedom. I applaud Anne Jackson, not only for her willingness to publicly display her own personal facts but also for her bravery to allow the amazing truth of the Word of God lead her and all the rest of us on our road to freedom.
My closing comments for this book review - Read. This. Book.
I also loved that she included pictures of contributors' actual notes and artwork. It helped give the book a feel of inclusiveness and conversation, AND by including them, really illustrated her message of allowing others to speak freely and not being judgemental of them when they have the courage to. Everyone needs a place they feel safe to share who they really are. Thanks to Anne for expressing this message so well and giving her readers "Permission".
Being a sensory person, the way a book feels in my hands, the print size, the art work, the cover art work are all important to my perception of the book. Permission to Speak Freely is a winner in all areas. It is a book that is a joy to read and hold.
Here are some of my favorite passages from Permission to Speak Freely:
"It's my opinion that many times we have been given easy answers that may temporarily act as good advice, but we aren't cookie-cutter humans, and those easy answers won't satisfy a story that's eternal." p. xvii
...Fear soaks into their bloodstream like a paralyzing virus and prevents them from taking a step in the beautiful, wonderful, difficult life in front of them. p. 4
"Fear wants to stop our stories." p. 4
"It's time for us to politely but passionately disagree with those who make church a `safe' place by removing all the messiness." p. 85
The Bible is full of people who were willing to be real for God. Are you willing? To be real? To make a difference for the Kingdom? For God's glory not your glory?
Reading Permission to Speak Freely will give you a clearer understanding of your struggles and a renewed courage to speak up and make a difference for others.