Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach

“Jesus’s command to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ doesn’t have an exception clause”

Why is grace so messy? Grace is messy because it is unconditional. Grace does not set up a list of requirements.

I believe humans, generally speaking, have a difficult time understanding grace. We like rules, standards, and procedures. It is a quick way to define and categorize things. It is also a good way to know how to protest and rebel.

The Church ought to be a place overflowing with grace. It should be a place where the unacceptable feel accepted. I think it is obvious that the modern church in the United States resemble the religious attitudes of the Pharisees and not the teachings of Jesus.

Messy Grace is about the tension between grace and truth which Kaltenbach calls love. This book probably will not change your convictions, nor does it attempt to. If you are conservative, liberal, republican, democrat, capitalist, or a communist, this book will not change that. Reading this book, you will at times think Kaltenbach goes too far and then all of the sudden not far enough.

No matter where you stand on LGBT issues, there simply is no excuse for treating people poorly. The gospel is filled with stories of Jesus hanging out with outcasts. He celebrated with them. These celebrations with outcasts should define our lives, our families, and our church.

My favorite story from Messy Grace is when Kaltenbach brought his lesbian mother to church. The next Sunday, two elders demanded Kaltenbach never bring “those type of people to their church again.” Kaltenbach preached that Sunday and he never returned again. That church was not messy enough.

“The gospel isn’t about who God is against. It’s about who God is for.”

“Ultimately it doesn’t matter what you and I think. It matters what God thinks.”

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