Posted by: Nathan | September 8, 2010

Book {re}View :: Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

Trapped.

Confused.

Scared.

Helpless.

These words and many others come to mind for many of us when we think about reasons why someone would make a confession.  In Anne Jackson’s latest book “Permission to Speak Freely“, we meet a woman who has taken confession out of a dark booth in the corner and into the light as a inseparable part of every conversation she has.

This book tells Anne’s journey of faith from a pastors kid, to a burnt-out church skeptic, to full-time church staff, to today where she has become an author and blogger obsessed with sharing the life changing freedom found within openly sharing our doubts, fears, struggles, and pain to one another.

Her take on confession as a practice is different than what many of us have come to know it to be.  Anne believes confession to be most helpful when we as leaders give those in our community the “Gift of Going Second”.  This means leading the charge when it comes to expressing our doubts and fears so that we can create a safe environment for conversation.   Her belief is that by becoming vulnerable first we can create an atmosphere of healing and reconciliation with each other far beyond anything we have ever experienced.

For those of us in campus ministry our days are filled with discipleship conversations.  How often do we sit back and wait for our students to pour their hearts out to us, all the while keeping a “wall of perfectionism” up in front of ourselves?

How much more healing could take place if we were more willing to express our doubt, pain, and mistakes with those we disciple?

I believe we undermine the work God has done through us up to this point when we don’t acknowledge the darkness that we have journeyed through, and many times are still within.

I recommend this book for anyone who meet regularly with students one-on-one.  The conversations within it are irreplaceable when it comes to understanding the journey we’re in, and how God works in our lives.

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