Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach
How a pastor with gay parents learned to love others without sacrificing convictions
By Caleb Kaltenbach
Reviewed by Ian Bunce
In the theological ping pong that surrounds the issue of same sex attraction and marriage, this book is a refreshing approach that is part autobiographical and part theological. It strongly highlights the intolerance of the church that is seen as hating the gay community with a passion, and the author reflects how, as God’s community, we need to learn how to act graciously, live biblically and show the love of Christ to all people, whether or not we agree with their lifestyle.
As I read this book, I was struck how Caleb had lived within the gay community and how, as a result, he had felt the pain of the rejection of the church as well as feeling rejected by God. In his testimony he talks of the failure of the church to communicate the gospel in ways that can be understood.
The book also has an amazing subtext of the hand of God working in his life and that of both of his parents who were gay and split up when he was about two. From that point on, he went from one parent to the other, experiencing their friends, parties and lifestyles. It is amazing to see how God took this young man, showed his love to him and how Caleb then became a Christian and later a pastor. If nothing else the book is worth reading to see how God works.
This book is a well written and at times an uncomfortable read. The conclusions of Caleb will be a disappointment to many, but he has come to his firm conviction through the wrestle with scripture. More importantly this wrestling has affected the way he loves people from all communities.
The church has much to learn from his reflections. With his mega themes of the world of mess, the balance between grace and truth and the need for no compromise on matters of convictions, it is a book that that invites the church to become very messy and allow grace to transform us, and the seeker.
To see an introduction to this book see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XJ-WKMjLps and you can read the first chapter of the book online at http://messygracebook.com/
The Revd Ian Bunce Minister (Team Leader) at Romford Baptist Church