Confession …

anne_jackson.jpg … is good for the soul.

If you’ve ever wanted to be quoted in a book, here’s your opportunity.

Anne Jackson, author of the fabulous Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic which I reviewed here, has a new project underway. She’s writing a new book based on her extremely popular blog post, Keeping Your Mouth Shut. The post asked readers to leave a comment about things they didn’t feel they could say in church. It rapidly gathered hundreds of comments as people confessed the secret thoughts they felt wouldn’t be welcome in church. Some were funny, some very serious.

Anne’s new book, Permission to Speak Freely, is starting to come together but she needs your help. Check out her post Be in My New Book & Get the First 1200 Words Free to see how you can have your confessions added to the book.

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Mad Church Disease

mad_church_disease.jpgHow is it that a place that is supposed to be safe, a place that brings healing, can cause so much pain for so many?

Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic by Anne Jackson seeks to not only answer that question but to deliver the healing that can be lacking from many churches.

My short review is simply ‘buy this book’ but I suppose I should say a little more than that.

I was thrilled when I got my copy of Mad Church Disease in the mail a few weeks back. I’d read so much about the book at Anne’s blog and finally I could find out for myself whether it would live up to all the ‘hype’. After spending some time over my recent holiday reading the book my answer is an emphatic YES!

Mad Church Disease is aimed at those who work in churches, not just pastors, but all those involved in church work as a paid employee or volunteer worker, however, I would suggest that the target audience is too small. This isn’t just a book for those working in a church but for anyone who works or has worked in any kind of ministry position. It may help you understand what you’ve been through or what you’re currently experiencing. Even better, it’ll help you to move on and become healthier spiritually, physically and relationally.

I’d also suggest that it’s a book that shouldn’t only be read by those who feel that circumstances are getting on top of them but by all those who work in a church or ministry. If you’re battling burnout or you want to be aware of the early warning signs of burnout before they get the chance do some serious damage, read this book and make sure you sit down with a pen and paper for the evaluation sections at the end of each chapter.

Mad Church Disease isn’t a ‘heavy read’ and you should be able to read through it fairly quickly. However, if you want the full benefit of reading the book, you’ll need to take your time over each chapter to absorb what Anne has written and more importantly to answer the sometimes tough questions she asks. It’s also helpful to read the short interviews that Anne carried out with various pastors and church workers. The interviews help to provide clear examples of what the book is all about and to add extra, often well known, voices to the actions that Anne suggests will help in conquering Mad Church Disease.

One of the themes that Anne returns to a number of times is the act of owning up to the part we’ve played in bringing us to where we are today. We can’t allow ourselves to only lay blame at the feet of others who have hurt us. If we’re totally honest we know that we need to confess our part in the madness before we can move on.

I’ll admit that some of the behind the scenes savagery Anne reveals from some churches boggled my mind. How can people treat one another like that? Though from what she has to say in the book, the kind of issues she highlights won’t come as any surprise to many readers.

Why does it seem as though when another believer hurts us, the pain we experience is exponentially greater than if we are hurt by someone who doesn’t share the same faith?

I wish I had the answer to that question, but I don’t. All I know is that it’s true, and the pain can be paralyzing. – Anne Jackson – Mad Church Disease

You’ll find the clear message that comes through the book is it doesn’t have to be like this. You can work in Christian ministry and not only survive but thrive. You can fulfil the calling that God has put on your life and stay healthy.

I’m glad to say that I’m not exhibiting any of the symptoms of Mad Church Disease but I still found the book valuable in calling me back to a greater focus on the place of faith, spirituality and God in my life. Jesus is wanting to draw closer to me. I need reminders like the ones in Mad Church Disease that I need to draw closer to him and to rely on his strength if I’m to avoid the traps that have tripped up so many.

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Holiday Reading

book.jpgOne of the things I got to do while I was on holiday for the last couple of weeks was to read. I love the opportunity to take large chunks of time to sit down with a coffee and a good book.

Amazing how refreshing it can be.

I really need to make time to do that on a more regular basis. I can’t just go off on holiday every week or so but I can set aside time for a mini holiday inside a book.

As well as my Bible, newspapers and a new cycling magazine, I read Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson and got a long way through Shantaram, a novel that’s about the size of a three story building.

I’ll be saying more about both books in the coming days.

I’m hoping that our children will develop a healthy reading habit. I think it’s one of those things that makes life a little bit more worth living.

Unfortunately, while I was a quite advanced reader from a young age, the habit of curling up in a corner with a good book was never really encouraged in our home when I was growing up. It wasn’t discouraged but it wasn’t really something that my parents did and so I never ‘caught’ the habit. All these years later I’m still trying to overcome that and place more importance on reading.

What was the ‘reading culture’ like in your home when you were young? Has that carried on with you? Are you a voracious reader or do you have to make an effort? What advice would you give for someone wanting to develop a healthy reading habit?

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Life is slow …

… but internet speeds at Rottnest are slower.

To be fair, it’s really the Optus wireless broadband that’s slow here. Everything takes forever to load so I won’t be updating this blog until I can get faster internet access.

We’ve been at Rotto for a few days so far.

I’ve read Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson and large chunks of the impressively large book Shantaram. I’ll tell you more about them later.

Next month is officially winter but the weather has been amazing. I’ve been in shorts and t-shirt the whole time, apart from when I’ve been swimming in the crystal clear water of the sandy white beaches.

I love relaxing at Rottnest so I’d better just publish this post so that I can get back to reading, swimming, laying about, spending time with family and all those other things that make Rotto the best place to be.

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