• Messy Grace

  • How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others Without Sacrificing Conviction
  • By: Caleb Kaltenbach
  • Narrated by: Caleb Kaltenbach
  • Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (514 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $20.99

Buy for $20.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Caleb Kalenbach is the Lead Pastor at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, CA. Raised in the LGBT community, he was exposed to how some Christians treated the LGBT community, and grew to hate Christians. In high school, he joined a Bible study to disprove the Bible, but ended up following Jesus instead. Later, his parents followed Jesus, too. This is the subject of his first book, Messy Grace - holding on to the truth of God's Word while being filled with grace.

Caleb is a graduate of Ozark Christian College, Talbot School of Theology (Biola University), and is finishing his doctorate at Dallas Theological Seminary. He speaks widely on the subjects of reconciliation, faith, diversity, and grace/truth. Caleb and his wife, Amy, reside in Southern California with their two kids.

©2015 eChristian (P)2015 eChristian

What listeners say about Messy Grace

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    431
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    5
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    337
  • 4 Stars
    79
  • 3 Stars
    33
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    393
  • 4 Stars
    45
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

For such a time as this

I am so grateful to Caleb for writing this book. I have been wrestling with how to make sense of these issues and this book has been a tremendous help to me. It has dispelled my fearfulness of what I didn't understand, and has encouraged within me a God-given love for the precious souls who identify as LGBTQ. Thank you Pastor Kaltenbach!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A desperately needed message

For anyone struggling with the Christian /LGBT issue, this is a must-read. The author has lived in both worlds and so brings a unique, loving, and honest perspective teaching us how to live in the tension of grace and truth.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A book on how Christians can be more like Christ

Being a Christian and believing homosexuality is a sin doesn't mean we must shun the LGBT. This book offers real insight into how to respect those who do identify as LGBT, speak to them with both love and truth, and to accept the person, not the sin.
I think every Christian needs to read/listen to this book, even if they don't 100% agree with the author 100% of the time.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Identity in Christ

"Some will switch their primary identity from their same sex attractions to a disciple of Christ."

That line spoke to me. This book does a good job of articulating what can be extremely disheartening in the Church today with how it by and large cannot communicate with people who are not like them. I will never know the struggle of being judged by my appearance or how I talk because those do not give me away as gay, but I do know how it feels to be judged by my sexual orientation and nothing else.

As Caleb says, you won't agree with everything he says, but he's not telling you what to think. He's sharing his story as well as his convictions of what he reads in the Bible that praises healthy sexual expression, and condemns sexual expression that does not seem to honor God.

I'm still wrestling with what it means to be a "Gay Christian", and all the questions that come with that identity. I am thankful that my primary identity is as a disciple/child of God, and I pray He uses my life to bring all sorts of people together, all for the glory of the LORD.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JG
  • 06-30-20

Messy Grace but Not a Messy Book

I listened to this book in a day. I couldn't stop. It challenged me in so many ways as someone who is seeking answers, relatability, and how to minister. As someone with SSA and desire to pursue the Lord and minister to others especially the LGBTQ+ community, I appreciated this book so much. I was diving into scripture while listening and studying it on my own, but really started to solidify my views and thoughts. I cannot express how much this book helped and how important i believe it is for people like me and even leaders in churches, ministries, etc. to read and study this. This is such an important conversation that so many want to look the other way and not have, but we can't anymore. There has to be change and that has to be shown through love through the process of giving grace and truth. Messy Grace is 100% a must read or listen, even if you don't agree with Kaltenbach, it's so important to start having these conversations sooner than later.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Helpful-ish

My church recently made a public stand about homosexuality. The Lead Pastor was asked to resign as he held beliefs that were more accepting in the way that he interpreted the Bible. This book was recommended to me to help me reconcile biblical truth with my desire to love other people radically. There are many insightful perspectives discussed in this book. It is worth the time spent to read it. It did not help me to clarify all of my questions on this issue as related to Christianity, but it has perhaps given me a bit more insight.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • LP
  • 09-17-16

Nice try, but Inconsistent

Let me first say that I am a born again Christian, who is a sinner. The reason I love Christ SO much, is not only His finished work on the Cross, but also because He saved a wretched, wicked woman like me. So, when you read on, please know that I understand my heart is wicked, and if my Lord had not called me to Himself, I'd be on the road to hell. I am no better than anyone else on this planet.

With that said, Mr. Kaltenbach gave it a good try, but really missed so many Biblical points! He comes across as immature in the faith, but there are points that I do agree with him on, like: Option 1. Celibacy. Kaltenbach does a great job talking about options for celibacy for homosexuals.

Option 2. Marrying someone of the opposite sex: Now, THAT is a wonderful option for gays who are saved by the Blood of Christ. Mr. Kaltenbach said he met a couple (as a Pastor) who did just that, and he said he never thought of that as an option. Well, that's where the immaturity comes in.

If Kaltenbach dug into 1 Corinthians chapter 6:9, he would know that Paul said "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you"

Paul, in the above "vice list" says: "such WERE some of you"
So, if you simply read that text at face value, it's easy to see that God delivers people from sexual sin and many other sins. So if God delivers people from being drunkards, why can't He deliver a person with same sex desires? The answer: God does deliver people from that sin. I've seen it happen in my family and there are books written by people who were delivered from that sin and are now happily married -- with children.

Where I strongly disagree: At close to the 5 hour point in the audio book, Kaltenbach asks about a dozen hypothetical questions about our churches. Some of those questions are: Would your church allow an openly gay couple to attend services? Would your church allow an openly gay man to serve as an officer? (I'm guessing he means Elder or Deacon) Kaltenbach suggests we need to have churches that cater to that particular sin.

Let me ask Mr. Kaltenbach a hypothetical question: "Would you allow a person who showed up drunk every Sunday at church to continue coming to your church, without discipline? Would you allow a man who is married, to bring his girlfriend to church with him, while his wife is sitting in the next row? How about letting an adulterer serve as an Elder? Or a homophobe? How do we deal with those situations?

The Bible gives the answer:: They come under church discipline. It's that simple. So, why does the "practicing" homosexual get special rights over the practicing "adulterer"? Or why can't a man come to church every Sunday drunk?
Because, the church would be affirming SIN. So, apparently the author thinks the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ, should give approval to this particular sin. Please read Romans chapter 1

Mr. Kaltenbach made a statement that grabbed me and made me think "Let's see how long he can go without doing the very thing he hates" -- Kaltenbach made a statement: "I HATE when people say "those people" or "they" or "them" (talking about homosexuals)... but listen... it didn't take him more than 3 minutes to use the word "THEY" when he was talking about Christians! He did the very thing he said he HATED! That is beyond hypocrisy sir!!! You can't start taking pronouns from the English language and expect to have a meaningful conversation that makes any sense whatsoever. He has bought into the postmodern lie and he is completely blind to it.

Another error: He says: "Church needs to be a place where you belong BEFORE you believe" -- a direct quote from the author at 4 hours and 59 seconds into the book.
WRONG AGAIN.
This is very discouraging. And it's very un-Biblical
The CHURCH is a place where the "Saints" gather to worship God"

Can we bring unbelievers to church? Of course. But "worship" on the Lord's Day is designed for the Saints, first and foremost, to come together and worship the God we actually BELIEVE in!

Another error about Christians. We are not homophobic! My husband and I have had homosexuals live in our home. We also have a homosexual friend come into our home and groom our dogs, and we love her. I don't know why you have accused "Christians" of being homophobic. The Bride of Christ does not do the hateful things you accuse us of doing. My church family and I have never, ever seen a group of so-called Christians standing in groups at gay pride parades, yelling obscenities at gays. The author grew up with a world view that told him that "Christians" are the haters.

Please, answer this question. What do you call a group of homosexual men who grab a teenage boy and rape him? Is THAT loving? The author NEVER, EVER, one time mentions the heinous sins that some homosexuals commit (and I am saying some, not all) But, that is a reality and he does not address it.

The Biblical errors pile up so high, I don't have the space here to mention them all.
Kaltenbach has a view of a squishy Jesus who only loves and never judges. He never mentions the Wrath of God and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who will come and judge the world. No, his Jesus sounds like the Jesus in the movies, who looks like a shampoo model and has nice soft hands. See Psalm 7:11 "God is angry with the wicked every day."

Has this man ever read Matthew chapter 23? Yes, I know it is directed at the Scribes and Pharisees, but, Christ is a righteous Judge, as well as the Lover of our Soul. Our Triune God has a range of attributes. I pray that Mr. Kaltenbach digs into the Bible and studies the attributes of our God and King.

In the last half hour of the book, Kaltenbach does NOT mention that God commands all people to repent and believe in Jesus Christ... but he goes on and on about the "good works" that his church did for his parents. People are not saved by "good works".... his church should have been begging these precious souls to REPENT.

In his last 15 minutes, Kaltenbach asks, "Can someone be gay and go to Heaven?" He answers his own question with, "Can someone be alcoholic and go to Heaven? Can someone gossip and go to Heaven? Can someone be arrogant and go to Heaven? etc. etc. etc.
Those are questions of the heart and we cannot not see the hearts of men. Only God can see the heart, so his questions are flawed.

As I wrap up, let me say my heart goes out to Caleb Kaltenbach. Perhaps, as a child, he experienced seeing fringe groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, who are no Christians at all. He doesn't mention a name of this "Christian" group, but that behavior is not Christian behavior. If you are purchased by the precious blood of Christ, you don't have the desire to go out and curse people out. That's not what we do. We believe in a Sovereign God who does the judging, not us.

Lastly, I would suggest that if he writes another book that he gets a professional narrator... but there I go being picky. There are really more important errors in this book to be aware of, so the narration is the least of my worries about this young man.
I am not trying to be harsh, but these days, people really should be truthful and most importantly, BIBLICAL!!! May God bless him -- and you!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Extremely helpful

if you listen to anything in this book let it be the last two chapters

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Tension Between Grace and Truth

it is helpful to our understanding to see things from different perspectives. too many times we are unwilling to see things from a perspective other than the one that we have. this book is helpful in getting to see things from the side of the LGBT community. and he makes you ask questions that you wouldn't normally ask, and gives you a list of questions that your church should be asking so that you can be prepared for them. it's a must read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Refreshingly honest.

He kept saying "Christians" were mean to his mom and her paramore. That is the only thing I did not agree with. He talks about people building "false identities". I think many of those mean people had done so, and none of them had an idea of God's grace in their own lives. Forgiven people forgive people. Though I disagree with calling them Christian, I have experienced the same behavior and believe his stories are completely true. Thank you for this book!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for sammieseagull
  • sammieseagull
  • 12-31-19

Great book

Loved this book. Well written and well read. Definitely recommending to others too. 5 stsrs

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-24-20

To love like Jesus

A very challenging concept written with compassion and grace while upholding biblical truth. Worth every cent I spent on it.