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August 19, 2010 / TheCommonCup

Permission To Speak Freely – A Book Review

I’ve seen in a recent years a rising generation of authors, creatives, leaders, and guides who connect more and more online via Twitter/Blog/Facebook with their “fans” “followers” “subscribers”. It’s through this new medium of social networking that our world is beginning to run. Anne Jackson is one of these authors/creatives/leaders/guides that has connected with her followers on a close and personal level. This comes with a transparency and honesty that only comes through relationship. Anne’s followers are not just her “followers” they are people that she cares for.

My first interact with Anne came from reading her last book Mad Church Disease I read through it in one night as I hung to every word because Anne was sharing some of the same frustrations and burnouts I was having in ministry. She showed me how to focus more on my relationship with Christ than anything else and how to say “No.” As I was reading her book I was tweeting out quotes/questions/content from the book that I was enjoying. She replied back to my comments and thanked me for reading her book. It was small, but it made it an even greater connection.

Anne has used this connection with her followers to reach out and gather from them the answer to one question: “What is one thing you feel you can’t say in church?” The response she got was heartbreaking. She launched the website and asked for her followers to submit poetry/photography/art/anything to help communicate their feelings about the question.

The book Permission To Speak Freely is the compilation of this poetry/photography/art/anything along with Anne’s thoughts regarding some of the main issues addressed. Anne tells her story. She shares her own struggles and invites the reader to share theirs, the good the bad and the ugly. The book is beautifully laid out and Anne’s writing style is so personal you feel like your sitting across the table from her with a cup of coffee.

Anne’s goal is not to “paint a negative picture of the magnificent creation of the church.” It’s rather to draw attention to the broken/hurting/deeply wounded hearts that are in need of restoration and hope. Permission To Speak Freely is a beautiful book that asks some hard questions and does it’s best to restore hope to the hopeless. The second section of the book is dedicated to this hope. Chapter 15 – “Sanctuary” is one of my favorite chapters in the book. I have almost the entire thing highlighted. It reminds us of the beautiful messiness the church used to be known for. The church was a sanctuary for the broken, for the hurting, for the criminal, for the prostitute, for the murder, for the homeless, for the hopeless. At some point the church started denying people based on the severity of their crimes. Mind you the church was not a hiding place for criminals it was a place to find shelter and shield from those calling for blood. It was a place to be loved and given a second chance until proved guilty. “However, as time went by, people with power interfered with the system and began excluding specific groups or crimes. at first those who had committed treason or murder were no longer allowed to find safety. Over the next few centuries, slowly, fewer and fewer crimes were given the right of sanctuary, until the end of the eighteenth century when it was abolished altogether.”

Permission To Speak Freely is an eye-opening, heartbreaking, and hope-filled book. It’s Anne’s at her most honest open and best. This is a must read.

I review for BookSneeze



Leave a Comment
  1. samantha / Aug 20 2010 7:17 pm

    I want to read this book! I couldn’t get into BookSneeze fast enough to get a review copy :/ But it sounds great and would be a great help in working with college students.

  2. Anne Jackson / Sep 2 2010 6:35 pm

    Thank you so much for reading & sharing your thoughts!

    • TheCommonCup / Sep 2 2010 6:41 pm

      No problem! Thank you for writing an amazing book about honesty and hope for the people of God!

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