Interview with Anne Jackson, Part 1

My friend, Anne Jackson, is a writer, speaker, and activist. In her newest book, Permission to Speak Freely, Anne chronicles her own story of growing up in church and being afraid to talk about certain “taboo” topics. She also shares some of the many “confessions” she received in response to the question she originally posed on her blog: “What is something you feel you can’t say in church or around other Christians?”

The premise of Permission to Speak Freely is that you are not alone in your battle with secrets and brokenness.

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I first met Anne on Twitter. My wife, Gail, and I then had a chance to meet Anne and her husband, Chris when they were visiting Nashville. They subsequently moved to our neighborhood—literally!—and we have since become real-life friends.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Anne and talk about her book: how she came to write it, why Christians find it so difficult to admit to having problems, and how leaders can create “communities of grace.” I hope you enjoy it. Tomorrow, I will post Part 2.

To celebrate the publication of Anne’s new book, I gave away 100 copies of the book FREE. To qualify, my readers had to comment below. You can find the list of winners here.
Question: Why do you want a copy of this book? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • carolynmejia

    my roll as a “church leader” is to show God’s perfect love to imperfect humans. i find people do hold secrets… especially from church leadership. i need constant reminders in my life that people of all walks of life go through hard stuff and God has entrusted me with this position to be a conduit for his unconditional grace, love and acceptance. i would love a copy of the book…. a long time fan of “post secret”, i have anticipated it for some time now.

  • Angie Weldy

    What’s interesting is that even while Anne was talking about things in her past I was thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe she’s willing and comfortable talking abut those things in public!” I applaud her openness. Can’t wait to watch part 2.

  • Craig Stephans

    As a priest, I was thankful to Anne for writing her book, especially since I have my own daughter that I don’t want to be burdened or “turned-off” by the church. I also want other ministers I know to read this book.

  • Suraj Reddy

    I’ve loved Anne’s unique perspective on issues – she’s just… different from the rest of the world – she helps me think outside the box in terms of what truly matters.

    I’d love a copy of the book because I do think the church can be lacking in this area – being a place for believers to “speak freely”, and I’d love to be part of the change.

  • Amy

    I currently work in a church and have followed Anne on Twitter. I would love to read her book. I just love her heart. The fact that after all she has been through she doesn’t bash the church, that shows the Lord’s mercy, grace and love is at work in her life. It is always the hardest to forgive those that should have known better than to hurt you….the body of Christ.

  • Linda B.

    I love the book! I have a lending library for some of my younger friends who are broke so they can read stuff that will genuinely helpful to them I would love to have another copy for that since no one can pry my copy out of my hands. :)

    I’m more than happy to share the link here for people to see the interview too. Thanks for posting it.

  • Susan Wilkinson

    I would like a copy of Anne’s book primarily to remind me of all the reasons I need to be genuine in my writing. My first book, about overcoming regret (Getting Past Your Past, 2000, Multnomah), had a chapter dedicated to secrets and authenticity and when I was promoting the book that chapter alone was 95% of what the interviewers and callers to radio shows wanted to talk about. I knew it was an important topic when I wrote the book, but it was promoting the book that showed me just how many people are hurting and isolated because they don’t feel safe to be honest and how desperate many are to escape the suffocation of constantly wearing a mask.

    Now, after 10 very difficult, painful, embarrassing, yet instructive and valuable years of life, I am beginning to work on a book again. I am determined to find the authentic, free, grace-filled and unpretentious voice that lives just beneath the surface of my fear and longs to break through. I am literally given courage to see writer’s like Anne and Donald Miller so prominently in the market. I love to read authors who are real, humble and reachable, who walk into my living room and plop on my couch as my friend. I want very much to be that kind of author and think that Anne’s book, along with a few others, will really encourage me in that direction. Thank you for letting me know about it!

  • paladin56

    I am a pastor and was surprised at Annes openess. For several years I have been trying to lead my congregations to accept honesty, to learn to be vulnerable and transparent. As christian’s we must be the most vulnerable, honest, and transparent of all humanity for the very power of the Gospel is revealed through this kind of love. WE are not better than the rest of those around us, we have the same issues because we are the same. The difference is we know we can go to God for help, now we need to know we can go to each other for help as well. That is one message of the Gospel, we have each other!

  • Nancy W.

    I loved hearing Anne speak with such ease about “uncomfortable” issues. If only we as a church could become more at ease with each others’ struggles in being human. Shame is an issue I deal with, and I know others who are similar. I would love to have this book to use with other women in our church who struggle.

  • Rachel Werner

    I would love a copy of Anne’s book! My sister wants to be a writer and found Anne recently and told me I needed to follow her blog. For years I felt unsafe and weird in the church. I had many years of self-doubt, self-hate, and depression, which led to more self-hate. It is a heavy burden to try and appear perfect and sinless without a place or a people that will listen and love without fear of judgment or disgust.

  • jskoepke

    I appreciate Anne’s candid honesty in this interview. Everyday I’m involved with helping build the value of the local church in my students as a Bible college instructor. We often talk about the need to “be real” as Christians about what they’re dealing with in their lives, but also how to build this as a culture in our churches – in a way that is genuine and welcoming to all who come. I would love a copy of this book, the subject being what we’re trying to build into the next generation of leaders, pastors, and those in the arts!

  • Melodee

    I’ve been following Anne’s blog because she is a friend of a friend. I’d love to read her book – also, because I’m a pastor’s wife, raising pastor’s kids.

  • Virginia

    I grew up in a church in which almost every subject was taboo, unless it was “hellfire and damnation”. There are still so many of those subjects that I struggle talking about, I would LOVE to get past this. And that is why I want a copy of this book.
    I posted a link to this post on twitter last night.

  • Ann

    I thought I wanted this book from just reading the blog post. But after I watched the video, I knew I should read it. Besides the fact that one of the “broken places” in particular that Anne mentioned resonated with me, I serve as a RA in a Christian college and have the opportunity to counsel many young ladies. Many of the things Anne mentioned are topics that come to the surface as I talk with the girls. I’m eager to learn, apply, and encourage in others the principle of allowing light in the broken and hidden places of the soul.

  • Tayo Ajobo

    i want a copy of this book because i’m in a stage in life where i’m questioning some issues in church like is the church really a place where christians can be open and be themselves? i found out that the church mostly dont practise what they preach or rather dont preach what they should practise. they claim thr church should be open to all yet they intimidate those they see as “sinners” or “outcast”. the bible talked about wolfs in sheep’s clothing and i belief that really discribes mordern day chuch. Jesus our Lord was refered to as the friend of the sinner, do you think Jesus rode on a high and mighty horse looking down on the sinners snd telling them they would burn in hell? no. the bible says somewhere in Psalm 18 that he stooped so low to lift me up. i belief this was how Jesus did it he accepted them the way they were and concentrated on being their friend first, then teacher and master came in willingly.i wqnt this book because i want to know really is that how things should be done in the church or is it only some sort of spiritual abuse?

  • Jennifer S McColley

    Dear Anne & Michael,
    “In my Middle.”
    That is THE answer.
    (But not just to the question you’re asking.)

  • Jo Ann Fore

    There is an undeniable healing power in telling the truth. What authentic, healing transparency Anne! Daily, I work with soul-wounded, brave-hearted women who are facing tough issues and won’t turn to their pastor for help. Anne speaks directly to these countless women. And I would LOVE to have her book as an additional resource.

  • Helen Lee

    I have always had a problem with speaking freely when it comes to my own life. My friendships are characterized by my being a great listener and asking probing questions about other people’s lives, but cleverly dissuading the reverse. It’s sadly become my lifelong pride struggle, this idea that “no one really knows me except Jesus.” I am eager to read Anne’s book and learn about how she embraced this idea of speaking freely about her innermost issues. It’s the kind of freedom that Christians should feel with one another, but so often we feel the opposite: “what would my friends think if they REALLY knew me?” If Anne’s book can start to break down those carefully-erected walls we place around us, then I hope it sells like gangbusters, and I hope I will be one of those who can gladly report of its impact in the years to come.

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  • Catherine

    So sorry that I missed this! I would have loved to have received a copy of this book. I am a survivor of abuse that took place within the walls of a faith community. Through facebook and twitter I discovered that there were many other survivors with similar stories. I now lead a support group for women who have struggled with the issues that surround abuse and faith. I am soundsblue on twitter and Facebook.

  • Weesie

    As soon as I can afford or find the book, I will try to get it – why because I need to express myself.  Actually I need to remember the things I need to express as I hardly remember my childhood.

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  • Viji Roberts

    I am working on a talk I need to give in November at a Teen’s Camp on pornography. I believe it is this irrational expectation among us though saved by grace but now expected to a picture perfect Christian that keeps such topics taboo.

    Darning is a word we hardly use now, however, I remember my mom ‘darning’ up the holes in my socks in a way that no one knew. Well we may not use the word but have continued the practice — we are well darned Christians refusing to admit our holes. Holy Christians with holes that only grace can erase. This book will be an eye opener to these youngsters and a 2 Tim 2:2 opportunity for me.