Cover Image: Messy Truth

Messy Truth

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Member Reviews

In his book Messy Truth, Caleb Kaltenbach walks through ways in which Christians and church leaders can build inclusive communities without sacrificing theological convictions. Speaking from experience of years of pastoral work, Kaltenbach acknowledges the difficulties of balancing grace and truth and concludes that it is necessary to build the community and influence we need to reach those that need Christ’s love. We are reminded that more than our stances on the biblical definition of marriage or any other theological convictions, we need to see everything we meet those the lens of value they have as an image-bearer of God that Christ died to redeem, and that knowing their value should dictate how we treat them. We learn that we need to be willing to surrender all of our convictions and personal views to align with Christ, even if we disagree with Him. With these principles as the foundation, we can start using our influence to make our churches into places where the people we disagree with belong by acknowledging their experiences and learning to empathize with them. This will put you in the best position to walk alongside those who may be walking away from sinful choices or to confront them in a God-honoring way. The principles on how to prepare for and facilitate discussions are insightful and practical, regardless of the type of difficult conversation you are facing. This book needs to become a significant part of the conversation on how to unify churches when people disagree, not just about LGBTQ issues, but about any issue that has the potential to divide us. I was encouraged, impacted, and challenged by this book, and I believe you will be too. It's the perfect companion to his first book, Messy Grace. Get your copy today!
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I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting into when I started Messy Truth. What I found was an invaluable resource for anyone in a position that has them interacting with another human on a daily basis. Kaltenbach shares what he has learned about engaging in messy conversations surrounding LGBTQ matters and scripture and he does so with incredible truth and grace. I found myself dwelling on things Kaltenbach said while I was in between picking up chapters, and I can foresee myself returning to this book as I engage in difficult conversations with those around me!
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Caleb Kaltenbach has written a helpful and insightful resource for anyone who knows anyone from the LGBTQ+ community. Scripture tells us that Christians are required to love and Kaltenbach helps show what that might look like without compromising. He writes simply, shares stories and challenges the reader to consider our goals and our behaviours. And he writes so compassionately to us, the reader too! I have already recommended this book, and certainly many parts of it will remain with me (something that isn't true for every book, even the good ones). One particular thing I go back to is a question he asks us, "What am I willing to do to keep and build influence with [insert person]?" I feel this is important to ask ourselves with anyone we meet! We don't have influence (Godly or otherwise) with those with whom we have no relationship.
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Kaltenback was raised by two lesbians and a gay man. When he sets out to honor his family by proving the Bible wrong, he ends up giving his life to Jesus and surrenders to the call of pastoral ministry. What a wonderful read! While Messy Grace (his previous book) is all about the WHY, this book is all about the HOW. There are some practical applications as well as poignant questions to marinate on and wrestle with. Whether you, individually, or your church, collectively, are looking how to better engage with the LGBTQ+ community, this is a valuable resource on that journey.
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Caleb Kaltenbach returns with another challenging yet prevalent book that everyone needs to read!

We are all searching for a place of belonging. Each one of us wants to feel secure and safe in our homes and communities; yet, more often than not, we can be so quick to judge and categorize people that we forget our role as believers is to welcome everyone and spread the Good News — not isolating ourselves to closed circles where only a select few, or like-minded, people are invited! However, in a world that is trying to tempt us away from the Truth, how can Christians/believers represent the love of Christ/Yeshua without compromising their beliefs and convictions? Caleb Kaltenbach, a pastor raised by gay parents, tackles this topic and more in his explosive, thought-provoking new release, Messy Truth!

It’s time we put our faith on the witness stand and ask the hard questions. Are we not called to follow in Yeshua/Jesus’ footsteps? (1 Peter 2:21) Are we not called to minister to the lost? (Luke 19:10) Are we not called to go into the world and share the truth with love and grace? (Colossians 3:12-14; 1 Peter 3:15) Are we not called to treat everyone as God’s creation, seeing them through God’s eyes rather than judging them or categorizing them for their lifestyles? (Genesis 1:27; 1 Samuel 16:7) If you answered yes to these questions, then answer me this, why are we so quick to close our doors on those identifying as LGBTQ?

“Refusing to offer belonging not only robs God of His due glory, it hurts more people than we know.” ~ Caleb Kaltenbach

As the world grows darker by the day, we need to shine the light of our Savior more than ever; however, how will the lost get found or the testimony of our God be heard if we refuse to mix with those living lifestyles we disagree with?

(Side note: By writing this, I am not encouraging people to stop mingling with believers and start hanging out with the wrong crowds. We need one another; however, so many believers forget that while we may not live OF this world, we still live IN this world, and we cannot be blind to what’s going on. The age of silence is over! Educate yourselves, read topics from different viewpoints, step out of your comfort zone and mingle with new people — learning about their lives before implementing your opinions and beliefs — and teach the younger generation from a Godly standpoint — if you don’t do, the world will!)

“We cannot acknowledge another person’s view of reality if we’re clueless about who they are and how they interpret reality.” ~ Caleb Kaltenbach

Diving headfirst into the controversy of LGBTQ vs. the Bible, Caleb Kaltenbach’s approach in Messy Truth is compassionate but firm, using Scriptures throughout to explain the importance of being inclusive and loving without straying from the Word of God — which Caleb explains perfectly in his definition of acceptance vs. approval (hint: they are NOT the same thing)!

All of us are sinners. All of us struggle with temptations. All of us are searching for identity. So, what gives us the right to prevent people from coming and feeling like they belong within our community/circles? (Matthew West’s song Truth be Told comes to mind). Yes, we must address sin and not allow it to fester in our lives or communities; but, first, we must build the foundation on love rather than condemnation; otherwise, the seed will never grow, and only pain and hurt will ensue.

“If the first Christians invited people in who didn’t believe, shouldn’t we? If the early Jesus follower walked alongside individuals struggling with sin — which is all of us — how much more should we?” ~ Caleb Kaltenbach

While I disagreed with a few doctrinal teachings within Messy Truth, I still gleaned a lot of great information and wisdom. Convicting and full of tools to help us communicate with others (not just those within the LGBTQ community but everyone we encounter), this will be a book I will resort to again and again! The LGBTQ community is becoming more inclusive by the day; meanwhile, the church/congregations are becoming more closed in an attempt to prevent their fellowships from being “exposed” to the “agenda” of this world. This reality is heartbreaking and ungodly!

You might disagree with elements of what I have written, but I want to implore you to please read this book and watch UNCANCELED Faith’s interview with Samuel Perez (click here) before coming to a concrete conclusion. Christians/believers need to stop being the haters who hold up damning signs of rebuke and anger and start designing new banners, shining God’s love and glory onto those searching for belonging and identity in a world that's teaching people that they can identify as whatever they want!

“The endgame has never been to make gay people straight, but rather to help everyone primarily identify with Jesus.” ~ Caleb Kaltenbach

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a pre-release copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own!*

Ages: 13+
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I just got to know the work of Caleb Kaltenbach through this book and it's really inspiring  me and challenged me to reflect in our part of building Gods kingdom and what it really means  loving everybody with the love of Christ. Messy Truth is an excelent book to help churches and their leadership to navigate in our "modern" society where the identity is based in what we do and not in who died for us. This book helps you  to see how to love everyone without compromising your conviction. It would be amazing if its translated into Spanish for the Latin American churches.
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I was looking for a Christian book to gain more wisdom and perspective of people with different views. I wanted to learn how to navigate the uncomfortable conversations and be better equipped when answering questions my kids will bring up in the future. This book was perfect! This will be a great reread to refresh my memory as time goes on. I feel that you can never stop learning how to love others as God wants us to no matter their backgrounds.
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Messy Truth
How to Foster Community Without Sacrificing Conviction
by Caleb Kaltenbach
Back of the Book: “From the author of Messy Grace, a former pastor raised by gay parents, comes a compassionate playbook to help Christians, church staff, and ministry leaders create a culture of belonging without sacrificing theological convictions.
What should we do? This is a question many Christians are asking as they face shifting societal norms, conflicting opinions, and often inaccurate scriptural interpretations regarding those who identify as LGBTQ+.
Caleb Kaltenbach believes there’s a more helpful question: What am I willing to do to keep and build influence with ______________?
Caleb knows our love for others is best measured by the lengths we’ll go to help them. He also recognizes that people find and follow Jesus better in community than in isolation. As a child raised by three activist gay parents, Caleb experienced firsthand the outrage of some Christians. That’s why he is committed to creating a sense of belonging for all people.
True community can happen only when Christians are intentional in infusing their attitudes, systems, and values with grace and truth. This hopeful, practical book offers tools for encouraging church involvement, strengthening personal relationships, increasing empathy, and engaging in pivotal conversations about grace and truth with our whole community.
Fostering a culture of belonging is a messy process, but it holds a massive possibility for everyone involved: a growing relationship with Jesus.”
Impressions: Read this book… everyone… seriously… there is no one who can’t work on loving others better. I had previously read and enjoyed Caleb Kaltenbachs Messy Grace. I was looking forward to learning more about how to better converse, share relationships and ultimately express love to those I hold different views with. I feel like this was a plethora of wisdom to use in any and all relationships. 
Liked: I feel like there was so much wisdom that I gleaned from this book. Life is messy, relationships are messy and we CAN be prepared for messy situations. Through reading this book I feel like I am better equipped to have uncomfortable conversations, engage in relationships that were scary before, and live out God's love with those I encounter.  
Quotes: There is a lot of highlighting going on in this book. This song worked well with the wisdom of this book if you want a snit bit of what you are going to be learning about Revolutionary by Josh Wilson.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review shared here.
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“What do you do when there’s a gap between your beliefs and feelings?  Where do you find strength to build solid relationships with people despite disagreements?  How do you share Jesus with those who have been hurt by Christians?  How do you discuss God’s words in a society that might label you an extremist for doing so?”  This book helps guide you through how you can handle these situations with love and truth.  

This is a very thought-provoking book written about sexual intimacy, sexuality, marriage, relationships and gender and how Christian’s view and handle these situations.  BUT the premise of this book can be used to deal with many different issues that cause divisions among people.  

Caleb Kaltenbach walks us through how we need to love each other even though life is messy.  And he does this with gentleness and understanding to all beliefs.  In his own words…“Instead of worrying about whether you agree with my ideas.  I’m obsessed with helping you develop the tenacity to be intentional about loving people as Jesus does.”  

If you need some guidance on how to talk to someone who you disagree with, this book will help you be prepared for hard conversations.  Caleb gives tips and even poses numerous questions for us to answer ourselves to help us think things through before the hard conversation even happens.  

This is a book you will want to refer back to again and again.
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