Risking Grace is full of hard-won wisdom. When Dave and Neta Jackson learned their daughter was a partnered lesbian, they decided to take a humble, teachable posture. Unlike those who build walls within and around the church, they went back to Scripture for fresh insights. Risking Grace is a risk-taking book, and given the Jacksons’ histories as writers at the heart of evangelical publishing, it is a brave book, as well.
— David Neff, former editor-in-chief,
Christianity Today magazine.
In a word, Risking Grace is fabulous. It strikes an appropriate balance between theology, commonsense, spirituality, and humility. As the father of a gay son, I’ve read everything I could regarding this subject and didn’t think there was anything new to learn. But Dave offers so many new and fresh insights and does such a wonderful job of anticipating concerns and objections. God is going to use this book, I have no doubt . . . it certainly was helpful and encouraging to me.
— Minister in a large Southern Baptist Church
As a psychotherapist and a missionary now serving women in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, I am surrounded by “collateral damage” in the lives of LGBT people. A missionary kid rejected by her family. A compassionate, brilliant fellow-therapist describing the canyon of loss when his father discovered a gay son . . . and shut the door of relationship, seemingly forever. A gentle, transgender friend confiding that she is rarely allowed to see her grandchildren. And, watching a much-loved sister in Christ wade through the pain and loss of believing that she must choose between obedience to Christ and loving her lesbian sister and partner.
In Risking Grace, Dave Jackson has the courage to say to his own evangelical community, “Enough.” He doesn’t demand anyone change their theology, but he asks us to make the effort to understand. He explains how Bible-believing, faithful, Jesus-loving Christians come to differing conclusions about the biblical teaching on same gender relationships. And, he invites us all to walk to the other side of this bridge of separation and choose love.
— Julia Pferdehirt, Psychotherapist and Missionary
The Tenderloin, San Francisco
I have known Dave and Neta Jackson for many years, first by reputation from their many books, and more recently as dear friends. They have led Bible studies for our homeless guests at Breakthrough and have walked the streets with our staff to reach out to trafficked women. They walk the talk of commitment to Jesus and reverence for the Word of God. I have enjoyed dinner in their home and many conversations about faith, family, and our shared challenges of living in the city of Chicago. They are the real deal.
I knew they had struggled through the experience of learning that their daughter was gay, so when Dave wrote a book about it, I was eager to learn what he had to say. I have learned from experience that it is one thing to think, talk and write about homosexuality from a distance, but quite another when the person who decides to “come out” is a dear family member or friend. And when we know that loved one has professed Jesus as their Lord and Savior, it gets even more troubling. Frankly, the evangelical church doesn’t know what to do with them other than to cast them out in shame and disgrace. Parents of gays struggle with how to respond. They, too, are often shunned and admonished if they don’t take a stand in condemning their child.
Risking Grace is written from the heart of a father and unveils the heart of the Father God for those who are cast aside. My heart broke as I read Dave’s many examples of those who have suffered, many driven to depression and suicide by the choices they have had to make in order to live honestly. The church has failed to wrap arms of love around those who are hurting in their most vulnerable moments. Risking Grace challenges us to look at the whole of Scripture and the example of Jesus to see if of our judgment and condemnation is warranted. It challenged my own bias and led me to reexamine how I have interpreted Scripture.
Whether or not you arrive at the same conclusions that Dave has, you will find this book to be thought provoking and courageous. I will be recommending it to the many people who are looking for a better way.
— Arloa Sutter, Founder and Director
Breakthrough Urban Ministries, Chicago
In Risking Grace, evangelical author and editor Dave Jackson joins the growing chorus of Christians who have repudiated our previous complicity with anti-LGBT versions of Christianity and moved to a posture of solidarity with and refuge for gay people. Like so many others, his complacent acceptance of the default evangelical account only began to be challenged when confronted with the dignity and suffering of his own child. Only after experiencing her story, and especially her suffering at the hands of fellow Christians, did the scales fall from his own eyes. Then began the long intellectual and spiritual wrestle with Scripture, artfully recounted here. As with many others, Dave Jackson has found in this wrestle a more Jesus-centered faith. He has been driven back to the core Good News of God’s grace to sinners in Jesus, the real flesh and blood Jesus. Once again it becomes clear that the struggle over LGBT acceptance in the church is indeed a struggle over the meaning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I think Dave Jackson gets it right. An important addition to a growing library of important works on this subject.
— Rev. Dr. David P. Gushee
Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics
Director, Center for Theology & Public Life, Mercer University
I am deeply grateful for this view of “all-sufficient grace.” The love of a father for his daughter is a fresh model of remaining connected when coming face to face with a new, unexpected way of knowing God through loving someone LGBT. Dave Jackson shares his heart, his intellect, his commitment, and his integrity here. May we be touched as he has been and may we find a way to remain engaged across our lines of difference, for the betterment of our families and the Gospel in the world.
— Rev. Debra Peevy, Lead Ecumenical Trainer
National LGBTQ Task Force
Risking Grace is a much-needed step forward in the conversation on one of the most difficult and controversial topics of our time. It will grip your heart and expand your thinking, biblically, emotionally, and psychologically. Hurting individuals need this book. Hurting families need this book. Hurting churches need this book.
— Bill Denney, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
in private practice for forty years in Reno, Nevada
Dave Jackson has created a vital resource for parents and for the church with Risking Grace. His heart for his own child, as well as those who are LGBT and their families, is clearly evident in this grace-filled, biblically-based, complete and thorough book. It will help us all live and love like Jesus
— Robert & Susan Cottrell, Founders, FreedHearts
Author of “Mom, I’m Gay”
Dave and Neta Jackson are Bible thumpers. Only, when they thump the Bible, it pours out grace for gays and lesbians and trans folks. With an evangelical zeal for the authority of Scripture, the Jacksons show the Bible is not just “the good book,” but a great one—a surprising manifesto of mercy and grace for those who may seem “far away.” If you are a Christian looking for an understanding of LGBT sexuality that is consistent with the heart of Jesus, this is the book for you.
— Tim Otto, Pastor
Church of the Sojourners, San Francisco
Author, Oriented to Faith
Years ago Dave and Neta came to me to ask about my life with a gay son. I told them I had gone through deep questioning and sadness, but always pleading, “Lord what do I do here? I lost my daughter years ago to cancer, I do not want to lose my son.” The answer always came back, “Love him.” I did not do the deep theological studies like Dave and Neta have done, but I have never wavered from that command. What I have learned through many years is, my job is to love those God sends into my life. It is his job to change them, grow them. just like he is changing and growing me. Dave’s honesty in writing this book can help any parent, friend, or sibling deal with this issue. So Risking Grace should be on every church bookshelf, read by every pastor, counselor, and church member. Love them! Such a simple command, and yet how far many of us will go to circumvent Jesus’ command.
— Lauraine Snelling
Celebrated Christian novelist
Paperback: 318 pages
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© 2015, Dave & Neta Jackson