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Messy Grace

Pastor’s Bookshelf - Welcome to my bookshelf! Each month I will discuss a recent book that I’ve finished.

This month I’d like to talk about Messy Grace

By Caleb Kaltenbach


This book is less Christian education or spiritual growth, and more personal testimony and incredible story. Caleb is a young man who was raised by two gay parents. To briefly explain: his father and mother got married and had him, before his mother realized she was a lesbian and they got divorced. His mother began living with her life partner, and then much later his father realized he was a gay man! In a true story with many twists and turns we see how Jesus came to find Caleb – a boy raised almost completely outside the church.


His mother and her partner were atheists, and as a little boy Caleb grew up going to pride parades where his only interaction with Christians were those horrible, angry signs that some Christians hold to protest pride parades. He knew Jesus as “the guy those hateful people worship.” Thankfully, those were not the only Christians Caleb met, and in high school he actually came to have a faith in Jesus.

But coming to know Jesus, and getting baptized in the church meant that he would have to tell his parents he was now a Christian. In this eye opening account, Caleb (who went on to become a PASTOR) sheds light on both the power of Jesus’ grace AND the importance of how we love those who are different than us. Caleb never compromised his sexual ethics, but he also never compromised with the commands of Jesus to love our neighbor, and to never lead with hatred.

While Caleb eventually came to a traditional understanding of sexual ethics, he has powerful words for conservative Christians who have harmed LGBTQ folks and some great advice for how to love better. I recommend the read both as a fascinating story AND as a call to engage with LGBTQ+ folks with Messy Grace.

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