Book Review: Messy Grace

Author: Caleb Kaltenbach  Reviewed by Tim Challies

How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction

Messy GraceWhen he was a teenager, Caleb Kaltenbach came out to his parents. With fear and trembling, he told first his father and then his mother about a growing realization within, about his acceptance of a whole new identity. His parents responded coldly, they responded with disappointment, they responded with anger, they responded by telling Caleb that he had betrayed them and all they stood for. His is like many other coming out stories you have heard except for this: Caleb was coming out as a Christian to his gay parents.

Caleb Kaltenbach’s parents, both accomplished academics, divorced when he was just 3. Shortly thereafter his mother fell in love with a woman and settled into life with her. His father began to live as a gay man, though it would take some time before Caleb understood that. His childhood, then, was split between his father’s home, where he experienced a watered-down, liberal version of the Christian faith, and his mother’s home where he heard only that the Bible was homophobic and irrelevant, that Jesus was for the weak and pathetic, and that Christians were hateful. His mother was active in the gay rights movement, serving on GLAAD’s board, marching in parades, and fighting hard for the rights of gay people to be fully accepted and fully integrated into every part of society.

While Caleb grew up in this environment he had friends who were Christians and eventually those Christians began to share the gospel with him. He began to investigate the claims of the Bible and began to investigate the man who said he was the world’s only Savior. Over time he became persuaded that it was all true and put his faith in Jesus Christ. But then he had to tell his parents. He had to convince his parents that he still loved them, that he still wanted to be their son, that he still wanted them to be part of his life, that his new religious convictions did nothing to change his love and respect for them. They would always be his parents and he would always love them.  Read More…

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