That’s how I would sum up Anne Jackson’s new book “Permission to Speak Freely”. In May 2008 Anne posted a question on her blog “What is one thing you feel you can’t say in church?”
This book is an exploration of the hundreds of responses she received, interwoven with her own personal story, poems and art.
Having spent 8 years in some sort of ministry position (either as a pastor’s wife or in working at the church) I’m sure my list would NOT be short. Because if the average person doesn’t feel like they can say it in church, then certainly a pastor’s wife shouldn’t say it.
But that’s why I especially loved Chapter 24 – “The Gift of Going Second”.
“Whenever somebody confesses something, and they’re the first to do it, it’s usually a pretty hard step to take. … What happens on the other side of that confession is something beautiful. … When you go first, you’re opening up this amazing opportunity for trust. You’re saying, ‘I’m broken.’ That trust carries so much power with it. It can give people the courage to go second. … It’s the Gift of Going Second that starts waves of confession and healing.”
In a small way I got to experience that gift, or the giving of it, three years ago when I openly talked about my first struggle with depression in front of our entire church (via video). The experience was healing not only for me, but I was amazed at the number of people who came up to me and shared their own stories – and continued to for years later.
What an incredible change would come over the church if more of us would step forward and give the gift of going second.
Anne’s book is a quick yet moving and challenging read that will cause you to re-examine your lack of willingness to be open and speak truth about your own life.
*I received a free copy of this book from booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.