“What is one thing you feel you can’t say in church?” It’s a question author Anne Jackson posed on her blog, receiving a worldwide response. Readers mailed hundreds of confessions, some artistic, some simply written on index cards to Jackson who cataloged the responses on PermissionToSpeakFreely.com. Jackson uses these artistic avowals along with essays and poetry in her astounding new book, Permission to Speak Freely.
In the introduction, Jackson outlines her purpose for putting together Permission to Speak Freely; she wants to let others know they are not alone in their secrets. She is also clear that her intention is not to malign the church, but rather to allow broken hearts to express their woundedness. In the end, the author desires readers to find the irresistible hope rooted in God.
Since Anne Jackson is one of my favorite bloggers, it was with eager expectation I began to read Permission to Speak Freely, which is also like an essay-guided PostSecret book, but better! Incorporating telling art and poetry into her lush writing, Jackson produces her own mosaic masterpiece with the glass shards of her own story. Admitting her past and present struggles with mental illness, pornography, and drug addiction, Jackson offers the readers freedom to admit their own shameful secrets, first in their minds and then to close friends, small groups, or even PermissionToSpeakFreely.com.
While this book could have easily fallen into an art niche or essay niche, it’s not that kind of book. In fact, the infusion of Scripture, art, essay, and poetry make this a book that is a treasure, both visually and intellectually. At times, this book is challenging because readers are meant to wrestle with this book.
Permission to Speak Freely has changed me as a person. So many books about Christian freedom come from the perspective of male authors, the fact that Anne Jackson is a woman immediately made me more receptive to her message. And because she is a woman, I believe that her struggles resonate with me in a deeper way, which is not to say that she is not massively appealing to both genders. Her book is for everyone and really should be read by everyone. And I do mean everyone, though I fear some may not be ready for the freedom Jackson offers Christians.
Thank you, Anne, for having the chutzpah to write this marvelous book!
Amy’s Grade:: A
**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**