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Sometimes, grace gets messy. Caleb Kaltenbach was raised by LGBT parents, marched in gay pride parades as a youngster, and experienced firsthand the hatred and bitterness of some Christians toward his family. But then Caleb surprised everyone, including himself, by becoming a Christian…and a pastor. Very few issues in Christianity are as divisive as the acceptance of the LGBT community in the church. As a pastor and as a person with beloved family members living a gay lifestyle, Caleb had to face this issue with courage and grace. Messy Grace shows us that Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” doesn’t have an exception clause for a gay “neighbor”—or for that matter, any other “neighbor” we might find it hard to relate to. Jesus was able to love these people and yet still hold on to his beliefs. So can you. Even when it’s messy. “Messy Grace is an important contribution to the conversation about sexual identity for churches and leaders. Caleb's story is surprising and unique, and he weaves it together compellingly. He states his views clearly, leaves room for disagreement, and champions love no matter where you are in this conversation.” —Jud Wilhite, Sr. Pastor, Central Christian Church
In Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting Laura Kelly Fanucci sees the Catholic sacraments through the smudged and sticky lens of life with little ones. From dinnertime chaos to bath-time giggles to never-ending loads of laundry, Laura stumbles into the surprising truth of what the seven sacraments really mean: that God is present always, even in the messes of motherhood. A spiritual memoir of parenting’s early years and a sacramental theology rooted in family life, Everyday Sacrament offers an honest, humorous, and hopeful look at ordinary moments as full of grace.
While most of us trudge toward the cross with the best intentions, at times our lives just don't pan out the way we've planned. Messy Faith addresses the muddled adventure that we call "working out our salvation." It is being sure and unsure, whole and broken, warring, losing, and winning. It is being right and being wrong and having no clue, but believing anyway. And it is trusting in God to perfect the final product of our flawed, human lives. Author A. J. Gregory explores her own personal experiences, and those of a handful of flawed biblical heroes and others who have endured painful or simply ordinary realities in the journey to belief. This honest book will comfort anyone who has had a less-than-straight path to belief and those who continue to struggle.
With a voice of reason and grace, pastor Caleb Kaltenbach challenges the church to choose the path of hope in response to polarizing cultural issues that are straight from the front pages of today’s newspapers. Divergent politics, immigration issues, bullying, re-defining family, racism, terrorism, new ways of categorizing people, and multiple other issues are negatively impacting our communities today. Some feel the country we live in now isn't the same one they lived in twenty years ago. Culture is consistently changing, and many Christians are nervous about what tomorrow will bring. However, we don't need to worry, because we serve the God of tomorrow. Culture will always change, but God never changes. God owns tomorrow. He has been in tomorrow, prepared tomorrow, and will walk with us into tomorrow. He will help us handle our ever-shifting culture as we journey forward. Every cultural issue we deal with today is something that Jesus dealt with in his day. The issues are the same, they just look different. Yet Jesus trusted the God of Tomorrow and knew that he was in complete control. Because of his trust in God, Jesus engaged culture in a very intentional way, and we can do likewise. God of Tomorrow includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter, providing a great platform for small groups to dialogue about these culturally-relevant topics.
Messy Journey is for parents walking the difficult road with a wayward child. Be inspired to drink the deep waters of peace as you draw closer to the Father of all prodigals. Author and licensed parent and family educator Lori Wildenberg offers practical grace- and truth-filled ways of navigating your relationship with a detoured child—whether they are rejecting faith, dabbling in sin, or wholeheartedly embracing sinful behavior. There is hope. After all, their struggle isn’t really with you—it’s with God.
I Guess I’m Not a Very Good Christian . . .Do you feel like:I don’t pray enoughI don’t read my Bible enoughI don’t share my faith enoughI don’t love God enoughI’m not committed enoughI’m not spiritual enoughThen this book is for you. Messy Spirituality was written for the silent majority of us who have been convinced that we just don’t do Christianity right. We spend most of our lives worried about what we don’t do instead of what we have done, focused on our imperfections instead of God’s fondness for the imperfect. Why? Because we’ve been bombarded with books, tapes, talks, seminars, and movies convincing us that real Christianity is all about perfection.Michael Yaconelli dares to suggest that imperfection, infiniteness, and messiness are, in fact, the earmarks of true Christianity; that real Christianity is messy, erratic, lopsided . . . and gloriously liberating. What if genuine faith begins with admitting we will never have our act completely together? Maybe messy disciples are exactly the kind of imperfect people Jesus came to earth for and whose company he actually enjoyed--and still enjoys. If you want to find Jesus today, look for him in the midst of burned-out believers, moral misfits, religious incompetents . . . men and women whose lives are, well, messy. Messy Spirituality is a strong antidote for the spiritual perfectionism in us all. Here are truths that can cut you loose from the tyranny of ought-to’s and open your eyes to the deep spirituality of being loved, shortcomings and all, by the God who meets you and transforms you in the midst of a messy and unpredictable life.
Change is hard. Whether it’s a good transition like a job promotion or a bad disruption like a devastating health diagnosis, it’s stressful. Gina Brenna Butz shares her personal stories of struggling with change and encourages you to trust God. She writes with compassion as she urges you to rely on God’s goodness, lean on Him for strength, rejoice that He is constant, and ultimately to find satisfaction in Him rather than in circumstances. Scripture helps you see change from the viewpoint of your heavenly Father. You can rest knowing He works all things together for the good of His children, even in seasons of stress-inducing change.
From "an extraordinary new voice," a "passionate and clear-eyed and unputdownable" meditation on queerness, family, and desire. (Mary Karr) For as long as they can remember, Cyrus Grace Dunham felt like a visitor in their own body. Their life was a series of imitations--lovable little girl, daughter, sister, young gay woman--until their profound sense of alienation became intolerable. Moving between Grace and Cyrus, Dunham brings us inside the chrysalis of gender transition, asking us to bear witness to an uncertain and exhilarating process that troubles our most basic assumptions about who we are and how we are constituted. Written with disarming emotional intensity in a voice uniquely theirs, A Year Without a Name is a potent, thrillingly unresolved queer coming of age story. Named one of Fall 2019's Most Anticipated Books by:TimeNYLONVogueELLEBuzzfeed BustleO MagazineHarper's Bazaar
From the author of Messy Grace, a former pastor raised by gay parents, comes a compassionate playbook to help Christians, church staff, and ministry leaders create a culture of belonging without sacrificing theological convictions. What should we do? This is a question many Christians are asking as they face shifting societal norms, conflicting opinions, and often inaccurate scriptural interpretations regarding those who identify as LGBTQ+. Caleb Kaltenbach believes there’s a more helpful question:What am I willing to do to keep and build influence with ______________? Caleb knows our love for others is best measured by the lengths we’ll go to help them. He also recognizes that people find and follow Jesus better in community than in isolation. As a child raised by three activist gay parents, Caleb experienced firsthand the outrage of some Christians. That’s why he is committed to creating a sense of belonging for all people. True community can happen only when Christians are intentional in infusing their attitudes, systems, and values with grace and truth. This hopeful, practical book offers tools for encouraging church involvement, strengthening personal relationships, increasing empathy, and engaging in pivotal conversations about grace and truth with our whole community. Fostering a culture of belonging is a messy process, but it holds a massive possibility for everyone involved: a growing relationship with Jesus.