Seeing the church as stuffy, out of date, and out of touch seems to be a common understanding amongst most, but seeing the church as a place where you cannot speak freely is felt by most but never made known.
In a place that stands under the umbrella of grace and freedom the church has taken on the role of condemner rather then confessor.
Having permission to speak freely in church is about as safe as driving with your eyes close, you will cause an accident one way or the other and someone will get hurt, usually it is you.
But what if the church became a place of openness and healing? What if the church was known for the conversations that took place rather then the condemnation? Anne Jackson decides to put that hope out there in her newest book “Permission to Speak Freely”.
Providing a first hand experience of one sinners struggle to find redemption and healing, Jackson takes you on a journey from a small church in the backroads of Texas to a place of healing in Kansas City. Anne Jackson calls the church to be a place of giving the gift of going second.
What is the gift of going second? It is the practice of sharing a struggle, fear, or failure with someone else first so the door of trust is opened up between two individuals and the opportunity for the other to go second, to feel safe, and to know that they are not alone.
Here is what Jackson says about going second:
Whenever somebody confesses something, and they’re the first to do it, it’s usually a pretty hard step to take. They don’t know how people wil respond. They fear all the judgment and isolation. But they do it anyway. They give a gift. What happens on the other side of that confession is something beautiful. When you confess, there’s somebody on the other side of that confession who could very well be keeping a secret too. So when you go first, you’re opening up this amazing opportunity for trust. You’re saying “I’m broken.”
You can see the power of giving the gift of going second. But it seems this gift is not always being given.
Maybe the reason the church has missed out on giving the opportunity to go second is because they have missed the struggle of being the bride of Christ. Instead of sharing their struggles, fears, failures, and pain the church has turned into a surface level community that robs others of the chance to share, a chance to find a place of trust.
Anne Jackson calls for a place of trust to be established and she provides the gift of going second when she writes about her struggles with the church, porn, depression, anxiety, and health. “Permission to Speak Freely” is a beautiful journal of openness and honesty. It is filled with confession, suffering, and hope. I started out reading another person’s story and found myself seeing my story.