Permission Granted by Margot Starbuck

Permission Granted by Margot Starbuck is an interesting read. I believe the premise of the book is to give Christians permission to love others as Jesus loves. I’m not sure we need permission. In fact, I’m  not sure we’re not already doing that. To be sure we could always do more but to say we’re not doing it at all is not true.

I’ve posted before about people in my town reaching out across denominational lines to be Jesus to  people. There is more to be done and there is more being done.

In Permission Granted, Margot led me to believe if I am not going into strip clubs, attending Gay Pride Parades (without being asked) or attending Porn conventions, I am not loving and being Jesus to the world.

I read over and over how sinners loved Jesus, they flocked to Him. And it’s true, they did. However, a look further into it reveals why they did. Did they flock to Him because they loved Him and wanted to be with Him? Some yes. But the majority flocked to Him because He healed them, He fed them. They flocked to Him because of what He could do for them. And when He refused to be a puppet on a string for them, when He required something from them, they simply stopped following Him. They stayed only long enough to get their needs met and when confronted with their own selfish desires and the need to choose, they choose to walk away.

I read in Permission Granted that Jesus attended “raucous parties” given by sinners. I do not read that in Scripture. He did eat with sinners, that I can find. I can find no real mention of raucous parties at all. I also rediscovered He ate with Pharisees as well.

It was re-cemented in my mind that if I am living  and loving and obeying Jesus, my life will stand out in a good way. People will naturally be curious. I will have to as 1 Peter 3:15 says:

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

I don’t need permission for that.

The examples Margot uses (attending a Gay Pride Parade, visiting a strip club, attending a porn convention…and really why do they have those?) and many she doesn’t, is not a good idea. We are called to be separate, to make a difference by being different. We are told in Scripture in dealing with fellow believers who are caught in any sin to be careful and mature about restoring. Why? So we don’t fall into the same temptation. Is it, or should it be any different when we deal with the world? No. Now I’m not saying we should beat them over the head with “you’re a sinner. Change your ways or fry!” Not at all. I’m saying we are not to partake, we are in fact to avoid ALL appearance of evil.

We are also to be careful not to offend our fellow Christians, we are not to cause one of them to stumble. And I can see very much how this behaviour touted in the book as the “way to love like Jesus” would do that very thing.  We can’t violate one command in the Bible to fulfill another. Yes, there are those who will be offended no matter what we do however, I have found that to be more true of the world than fellow Christians.

All in all, the book a fairly easy read. Parts of it are biblically sound, other parts are not.  I can’t say I recommend the book which to me is sad, because I really really wanted to love this book. Please, let’s remember if we are living our lives in obedience to Jesus, living and loving so He is glorified, we will make a difference, we will reach the “sinners” (special or not) of this world with the love of Jesus, lives will  be changed, He will be glorified and the world will wonder what hit them.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.


2 thoughts on “Permission Granted by Margot Starbuck

  1. buffisan0227 says:

    Thank you for that honest review. I am sure that is not what the company was expecting when they sent the book to you, but I am sure glad that is what you gave. I have been searching out Jesus in many ways to examine how He carried himself as he walked this earth. First, I’ve read the gospels and the new testament; then the lost gospels and the expanded texts on his walk, and of course all things with prayer and supplication. In many ways this journey has been in part stimulated by my desire to understand how to live in love like Jesus did with the way our world is ever changing and embracing more Babylonian culture. The review you provided suggests the author tipping more toward our behaving like the unsaved instead of behaving like ourselves in the company of the unsaved. It is a fine line and if you are not sured up in prayer and studied up, it sure is not one you should be walking – and that book is not one for the masses!

    Elizabeth Rising Early, 31 Days

  2. Jacob H. Rivera says:

    Margot chose a great title for her book. I went into it tense, sensing that I was approaching the battleground of difficult topics on which so many people, Christians and non-Christians, spend so much time fighting. I know brilliant people on both sides of so many difficult church issues and I thought reading Margot’s book would help me think through some things and ultimately place her and perhaps even myself on one side or the other. What shocked me was the way she was able to step back, despite the opinions she has, and point so convincingly to Jesus. In a beautiful way, her arguments were not new or profound. I did not find nuanced theology or stories meant to urge me to believe one thing or another about certain issues. I found Jesus in a way that I have before and hope to over and over – in a way I need to again and again, day after day. I found a man who loved daringly, and permission to love that same way.”Permission Granted” exposed the many walls I have between myself and all those “other” to me. It made me want to knock down those walls, stop being so concerned about MY image, and open my arms and heart to those from whom I keep a safe distance. This is the way Jesus lived and it’s the way I want to live. Thank you, Margot, for reminding me of this by pointing me to the image of a God who reveals himself to and through all of us. Let us point each other to Him, whole-heartedly assuring one another that He is FOR us and WITH us.

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