Interview with Anne Jackson, Part 2

Yesterday, I posted the first part of the interview with 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?”

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

As I mentioned yesterday, 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. If you didn’t see Part 1, you might want to watch that first.

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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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Thomas

    As a small group leader of married couples this book would help me to understand and encourage my small group family to find the freedom to talk about some of the most difficult topics that we as Christ followers have faced or will face. My small group is really like a family and because of that sometimes family members are very frieghtened to say what’s on their mind or are afraid to talk about topics such as pornography, homosexuality, addictions, becase as Christ followers were’re not to go there. Yet day in and day out we constantly miss the mark in our lives when it comes to our own sin and we’re freightened to talk about the sin struggles we have because we’re afraid people will judge us or not love us if they only knew the real people we are or the struggles that we face in our daily walk.

    For an example yesterday at lunch I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with 2 co-workers who have not yet crossed the line of faith. They asked some incredible questions about why I believe what I believe about the bible and about some of the mainline moral questions that are being discussed in our culture today. Our conversation was just that a conversation about who Jesus is and why Jesus came down from heaven and what he offers each of us through his cross. Some taboo subjects came up and we discussed them without arguing or leaving in a huff. However in our own Christian circles we may not have so those same types of conversations because our Christian brothers/sisters are like family and that’s where opinions get vented.

    Anne’s book can help my wife and I be better small group leaders as well as better grace dispensers not only to the other 10 people we lead but the people God places in our paths each and every day.

  • D. Lewis

    As pastor of a new church trying to reach folks who don’t know or have wandered away from Christ, the honesty and pain of their brokenness sometimes astonishes me. How do we create a safe place for restoration, forgiveness and new life.

  • Eric

    I am working with my wife about our shared and separate histories and how that is impacting our relationship with each other and the church. I believe that this book could help me understand what I need to do differently to improve all of our relationships

  • D. Lewis

    As the pastor of a new church that is working to reach people who don’t know Christ or who have wandered away from them I’m sometimes overwhelmed by the immensity of the pain and brokenness they deal with and continually struggle to find a way which leads them to forgiveness, restoration, and a new and hopeful life.

  • Ren

    I was raised in a staunchly christian home as well – - one of the first realizations that really shook me from my sense of being alone in my concerns/misgivings/doubts/disagreements was when I discovered that I was not the only one who felt as I did. It seems now like an obvious realization – but at the time, it was tantamount to the invention of fire.

    Thank you for writing this book – - it’s a sublime truth, and the more people who discover it, the better.

  • Eli Pagel

    Since the first time I saw this book, I felt like it was the representation of two hands freely reaching to pull the tape from my mouth. Those hands are inching ever closer, but haven’t reached the edge of the tape yet. I continue to struggle to simply utter the muted cry, “Help”, or even more selfishly “I want that.”, but the tape is too tight. My lips are sealed, not of my own desires, but by the tape that life and expectations has placed across my face. I want Permission to Speak Freely, and to share with others the grace and mercy to do the same, and a copy of the book would be great too.

  • Kevin Jack

    Love Anne Jackson but have never had th opportunity to pick up her book. My bargain budget and lack of presence of her book at half price books have led to that. Would love to be able to dig into it

  • jt

    I’d like to read the book to continue to grow in confession and transpparency. I’ve endured depression and continue to seek counsel reguarly. Facing my own brokenness has revelaed to me dimensions of the gospel I don’t know I would have otherwise encountered. Never would have this much need to experience the redemptive, healing power of the Cross.

    I’ll probably lend this book out to others I know who could benefit. Maybe I’ll buy more copies and share them as well. The biggest gratitude I have for all that I’ve endured and been delivered from is the genuine empathy I can share with others and the penetrating truth I can share in building their trust/confidence in the Lord.

  • Paul R. Stanley

    I would like to have a copy of Anne’s book because I am writing my own memoir and would like to see how she addresses these “taboo” topics. There are things I need to tell and say, but do not want to hurt those I love or have loved in the past.

    Thank you for your consideration and I hope I have a chance to read this book.

  • Greg

    As a spiritual director, I meet some of the same needs in person with individual people that Anne does through her blog and her books. People are desperate for someone to listen, with whom they can be honest, and who will help them explore their own deepest selves and beliefs. I look forward to reading this new book. Thank you.

  • Marie Wells Coutu

    I am writing novels that deal with brokenness and show how God can use broken people after He mends them. Sounds very much like what Anne Jackson is talking about. After we become “Mended Vessels” we don’t want to reveal our pastdue to shame. I want to build an online community to share and encourage one another. Would loveto read her book and connect with her on this effort!

  • Agatha Nolen

    I’m excited to read Anne’s book as I have come to a similar place. I have just started a blog and am writing a book about how Relationships have gone awry, even among christians. It is almost taboo to talk about sex outside of marriage and self-centered commitment any longer because the world has tried so hard to convince us that they are ok. But our disobedience is causing brokkenness and despair, yet churches shy away from these tough issues and just want everyone to feel good and that God is only a God of love. Can’t wait to read what God has given Anne, Permission to Speak.

  • Radu

    Although I have the book and read it, I have a friend in mind who would benefit greatly from reading this book. I would give her mine, but I feel a new book, with the new book smell and feel and perception would be a nicer gesture. Anne is so refreshing in her transparency and her continual upward journey with God is what inspired me most. Thank you for this opportunity. Be blessed.

  • @jasoninman


    Where x equals the random person* you pick and y equals a happy ending.



  • Agatha Nolen

    I can’t wait to read it. I’ve come to the same place recently and have launched a blog and writing a book proposal. Our relationships with God and each other are in disrepair, even among Christians! Yet there is reluctance to talk about sex outside of marriage, self-centered commitments and individualism even in our churches. Our disobedience is causing incredible brokenness and despair. As Christians we have to tackle these tough subjects or who else will? Can’t wait to read what God has given, Anne, Permission to Speak.

  • Laura Bowman

    I came to God in my Twenties and spent the first ten years in a legalistic setting where we were criticized for just about everything. We strive today to show God’s grace and have seen more results with family and friends then before. I would love to read her book, I’m sure it will hit home.

  • Angie Weldy

    I’ve happily won a book from you lately so I won’t try to win a copy but I definitely need to check out Anne Jackson. She sounds like a fresh and honest voice that is really needed these days.

  • Tricia

    I spend a lot of time in the community with people who are seeking God but are afraid to come to church because their perception is that church-goers are perfect and so different from them. I love what Anne started on her blog – it’s great to see the truth of who we are and yet the power of Jesus to save us from our truth.

  • Trina

    Hearing Anne speak during her book tour was inspiring, but I didn’t feel that I had the means to buy her book. I oversee a young singles ministry and as a community, we could grow a lot in our honesty and grace with one another.

  • jamie

    I’ve been wanting this book since I first came across Anne on twitter! I would love to read it!!!! She’s an inspiration. I have my own thoughts on “taboo” subjects and would love to learn more about addressing them and putting them into words.

  • Holly Leach

    I would love to have the opportunity to read this book. I tend to keep everything inside and have struggled with depression for 21 years. Perhaps if I find a way to let some stuff out in an appropriate manner, it could help my depression. I enjoyed watching the video. I really felt connected. God Bless.

  • Roman

    I want this book because I counsel and mentor a lot of young adults and teenagers who deal with this very issue. i would devour this book in a week because I think it’s a vital and significant issue in the Church and in the world today. I will DEFINITELY read this book.

  • Kristy

    In March my daughter will be two years old, just after my son is born in February. Just yesterday I talked with another young, Christ-following mom about discussing the “taboo topics” with our kids when the time comes. We both admitted our parents had not approached some important issues until we were much older, if at all. It hasn’t been any easier getting church families to welcome or encourage these types of discussions either. As a Momma to a daughter and son, I am motivated to dig deeper into this issue and hopefully gain insight that will help my husband and I to navigate these waters in righteousness and grace. I hope to win a copy of this book and to soak in Anne’s wisdom and experience!

  • Christopher Lash

    There are three main reasons I would like this book.
    1) I am a Moody Bible Institute student and I am…well… broke. The ability for me to buy books is limited.
    2) It would be a great gift to read this book (an even greater one to be able to read it for free!) because this is an issue in the church (the issue of silence through pain) that I believe needs to be addressed. I would love to be able to flip through pages to learn more about the problem AND how we as Christian leaders can tell people “it is okay to not be okay, it is just not okay to stay there.”
    3) I would most assuredly read this book. There is more of a guarantee of me reading this book than the probability of the average college student consuming over 4 cups of coffee in writing a research paper.

    Happy picking!

  • Dave Gullett

    We’re called to bear one another’s burdens and to confess our faults to each other, yet fear and lack of love keep us hiding behind masks and keep our lips sealed about what we really have going on in our hearts. I would love to read Anne’s book and share it with my wife and those in our small group….we keep edging closer and closer to truly being honest with each other, and I believe this would help.

  • Mel

    I love the words that Anne has given us to read! Very precious indeed…and very thought provoking! Her first book “Mad Church Disease” came to us at a time when we so needed it. It helped to read those words and then start to heal from our experiences. I know that God has great things in store for this next book!

  • Brenda Hook

    I would LOVE to have a copy of the book… (I would normally buy one for myself, but I recently left my job in nonprofit to start a new wellness ministry so I’m on a very limited budget.) I have some dear friends who are “musicianaries” and deliver a very unique message about hidden addictions, particularly pornography. Their ministry, White Collar Sideshow, is extremely unusual and more than a little bizarre… but they are authentic and God is changing lives through them. Still, many churches are afraid to discuss the topics of porn, drug addiction, eating disorders, and self-mutilation. Hopefully the efforts of people like Anne Jackson and TD & Veronica Benton (of WCS) will bring these issues into the light — even within the church.

  • karen haring

    My top two prayer requests for our church for the year: GRACE and UNITY. This book will help our leadership team understand how authenticity and brokenness can lead to a culture of grace.

  • Tammy T

    I would love to read this book. I have spent most of my life searching. What I have been taught has been the leagalistic approach of deeds and works and never about the peace of ‘grace’ until just in the last three years. It is refreshing to hear other’s stories and realize you aren’t alone and realize that there is healing if we can all open up and talk about it.

  • Audie

    Over the past several years, the Lord has been breaking me out of some of the chains of my upbringing, a mentality that says that the most important thing about being a Christian is making sure everything looks nice and tidy on the outside, even if it’s a disaster inside our hearts. Over the past several years of my life, God has been teaching me that He’s not a God who requires us to be neatly wrapped packages. He wants our mess, and He wants our question. I’m so looking forward to reading this book as another step in the direction of uncovering His heart in regards to us being open and transparent with everyone, first and foremost Him.

  • Lisa White

    I would like a copy of this book.

  • Ottersathome

    Thank you for this interview. I intend to purchase the book. This issue is something I personally have walked in the church and ministered grace to people who have been hurt by the church. I’ve been frustrated by the lack of grace and honesty in the church and I’m glad to see a potential move of the Holy Spirit to heal the body of Christ. I love your idea of “communities of grace”. That’s what we’re suppose to be but unfortunately we aren’t always. We should always err on the side of grace and love. Not so sin will increase but so that God’s love will increase and do His transforming work. (sound familiar?) Thanks again for writing and sharing the book.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Mike! Thoroughly enjoyed reading the book sent by you. You can read my review on .

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  • Roy Wallen

    Convicted by the story Anne jackson shared and a grateful recipient of her book, I have now finished reading it and posted the following review on,, and Thank you for sharing her story and publishing her book.

    _Permission to Speak Freely_ by Anne Jackson
    Published by Thomas Nelson, 2010; 194 pp.
    This book is beautiful and ugly. On the one side, it can be considered in the same context as those hand-crafted note, poems, and pictures that are included in its pages. The paper, the feel of the embossed cover, and the words as they fitted together are all part of Jackson’s craft in writing. In fact, “beautiful” is a word she uses as she describes the result of confessing broken and discouraged lives.
    On the other side, this book is ugly. Who would think that upstanding, Christian, young women could be addicted to pornography, willing to live behind a façade of “being good”? Who would think that a depressed and cocaine-riddled young woman could start a movement that would inspire Jackson to tell the story? In Christianity, there is an ugliness of self-righteousness that needs to be confessed and buried. There is also an ugliness of sin that needs to be confessed and for which we need to be accountable. If we are to love as we have been loved, we need to accept the ugly side of people’s lives – and, if we are honest, of our own lives.
    Jackson pulls no punches. While the book is largely autobiographical, it is more an example of what lies beneath the surface of too many Christians. The book is, as she writes, the “gift of going first” in confessing something that is normally withheld by fear but, once said, opens the way for others to realize that they are not along and need not fear exposing themselves by their own confessions. The book does a service to women – as well as men – who need to know there are resources for help. We need to be comfortable in these uncomfortable situations to love the unlovely.
    Reading this book will show that we are not alone in sin and we need not be alone in confession. Adopting the love of others, as instructed as a central part of Christian faith, will make us each stronger.

  • Jocelyne

    I would love a copy of this book because I need to read for myself that no one in church is perfect, and no one in church has it all together.  I need to hear there’s hope for me, hope to go on and keep growing, no matter what the past holds… thank you.