Permission To Speak Freely

It all started with a simple question posted on her blog. "What is one thing you feel you can't say in the church?" And with this one question, Anne Jackson not only opened up a floodgate of responses from around the world, but also had the beginning of what would become Permission To Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace.

It's no secret that I read a lot of books, but the truth is that there are very few that I don't want to end, and even fewer of those fall in the non-fiction category, but this is definitely one of those precious few.

With snapshots of her own story woven throughout the book, Ms. Jackson takes her readers, like friends, into her life, giving us the benefit of lessons she's learned. From the far too prevalent role that fear plays when we walk through the doors of a church, to the power of confession, to facing down the shame that so many of us carry alone, Anne's voice rings out loudly the truth that none of us is as alone as we may feel we are. My favorite chapter, would have to be 'The Gift of Going Second', something so simple and yet so powerful, it amazed me, and filled me with new resolve.

The book itself is a thing of beauty. Filled with artistic answers to Anne's original question, some of the confessions are heartbreaking, while others left me with no other words than a whispered, 'me too'.

Permission To Speak Freely is, in my estimation, a must-read. Whether you've spent the majority of the Sundays in your life in a pew, or if you've never actually sat in one, the clear message of grace is one that we all need.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller.