Review – Messy Grace

MEMOIR

Messy Grace
by Caleb Kaltenbach
Foreword by Kyle Idleman
WaterBrook Press, 2015
Review by Tijuana L. Canders
Feb 19, 2017

Author Caleb Kaltenbach speaks openly about his experience of having gay parents, coming to Christ, subsiding stereotypes, and loving others. Kaltenbach talks about a messy grace, which is ‘tension’ between grace and truth. The Author’s message inspires readers to lessen these tensions, find common ground with the LGBT community, and let others know that the Church needs to be a place where you can ‘belong before you believe.’

If we have a Church filled with people who are honest and vulnerable about their shortcomings, then the gospel will know no boundaries. Showing grace and truth to people in the LGBT community is crucial. If we don’t have churches that also know how to show grace and truth, we’ll never fundamentally overcome the hostility between the Christian community and the LGBT community. Messy Grace brings a message to communities not to be afraid of people who are different. Reaching others is hard when you’re trying to ‘run’ from them.

Caleb Kaltenbach says the Christian community needs to own the fact that people are deep, struggles are real, and people are working through them. Most importantly, Christians need to stop trying to convert people’s sexuality. It isn’t their job to change someone’s sexual orientation. You and I are not called by God to make gay people straight. People in the LGBT community can go from being ‘them’ to being our friends. As a Christian myself, I am not saying it is Biblical to be gay, but I am saying it is a Biblical commandment to agape love the gay community as individuals.

Messy Grace is a twelve chapter book with subtitles, reflection and discussion questions to engage the reader. I would recommend this book for small groups, colleges, churches, youth camps and for personal reading. Caleb Kaltenbach is ever so brave and gracious to bring his life into the lives of others in order to positively impact communities to address their fear of differences and the unknown.

 

© 2017 Tijuana L.Canders

Review – Mindfulness on the Run

PSYCHOTHERAPY

Mindfulness On the Run
by Chantal Hofstee
Exile Publishing, 2016
Review by Tijuana L.Canders
Feb 13, 2017

Mindfulness on the Run, is written by Chantal Hofstee, a clinical psychologist from New Zealand. Mindfulness is a released meditation practice which permeates consciousness as not belonged to me, allows for a long period of unlearning and questioning ownership and nature of thoughts.

The book is exceptionally arranged. Hofstee includes insights into how our brains work; to identify the causes of our stress; and to teach us mindfulness techniques. She offers explanations and ideas that, if we follow them, may result in these objectives being met. Her examples often present two sides to a situation to help readers see how using mindfulness compares to not using it.

A major facet of mindfulness is, of course, our thoughts, and Hofstee has included a couple chapters focused on this. As we process our thoughts, it is important to evaluate them for truthfulness and accuracy. It is helpful to identify their source and then to work to change the inappropriate thoughts. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a cornerstone of this effort.

Hofstee explains, “Your brain is constantly changing and adapting based on your experiences. Changing old habits and creating new ones comes with directed and repeated practice of the new way of thinking, feeling and doing. By doing this over and over again, the new pathways will become strong and take over until the new way of thinking and doing becomes second nature.”

In helping us to understand our brain function, Hofstee uses simple, non-medical terms. For instance, she explains that either our brain feels safe (“green state”) or unsafe (“red state”). An in-between “orange state” exists as a neutral ground where ideas and goals are formulated that will move us into a green state, and Hofstee provides many good examples of movement between these states.

The final chapter titled, “Mindfulness and Self-Compassion” encourages readers to recognize and acknowledge the need for greater personal mindfulness. ‘A busy life, one which needs Mindfulness on the Run, is also likely full of stress and self-criticism.’ For those who have not explored mindfulness much, especially because they haven’t had or made the time, Mindfulness on the Run can be a good read and place to begin.

 

© 2017 Tijuana L. Canders