Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach

What an incredibly amazing story!

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.

Caleb Kaltenbach begins his story by writing about the morning he wished he could go to the church down the street – and not preach the sermon he had prepared – but he’s the pastor of his church! I found he was very candid about his life, his difficulties and his story. He also sheds great light to the trials those living in the LGBT community have – but he does not back down on his convictions and instead challenges Christians to be truly loving and not Pharisees.

The chapter on the messy church really challenged me as he asks questions for the reader and their church to think about. Questions such as “Would you allow a same-sex couple to attend your church? What would the reaction be if two men were holding hands in the lobby? Could a lesbian couple who attend your church also attend a parenting class that you’re putting on (because their child is in your children’s ministry)? And more! These questions really made me think!

Each chapter in this book had Caleb telling different parts of his story and stories of those he has met. All challenge the Christian on how they react to LGBT people. It also can be read by LGBT individuals who wonder how God sees them. At the end of each chapter the book has reflection and discussion questions.

This book is written in a very easy way to read – it’s the challenges and thoughts it provokes that make it difficult. I highly recommend it! I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

CALEB KALTENBACH is lead pastor at Discovery Church, Simi Valley, CA. He speaks widely on faith, reconciliation, and sexual diversity to people on all sides of the LGBT issue. Caleb attended Talbot School of Theology (Biola University) and is currently finishing his DMin at Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Amy, have two young children. – See more at:


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