Open. There are so many ways we can look at this word. There are positive connotations and negative ones as well. Which is frequently determined by the listener based on personal bias, thoughts, or experiences; in short, what you mean by the word open is very much open for discussion!
I see the word open in both ways, but it’s likely for different reasons than you think. I see open in a positive fashion, because it indicates that nothing is hidden or held back. I see open in a negative fashion for the same reasons. Why? Because that kind of transparency is pretty scary. Everything is out in the open; it’s everything fully revealed for better or for worse.
I think that’s why we’re all so scared of the concept of accountability. Being held responsible for something is a big deal; it’s an even bigger deal if that something happens to be something you wouldn’t commonly allow someone else to know much less take responsibility for. So, with that in mind, I want to tell you about an awesome book I just finished reading called…..you guessed it, OPEN.
OPEN was written by Craig Gross. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Craig is the pastor of XXXChurch. You want to talk about scary and uncomfortable–start a church that runs headlong into confronting the pornography industry and attempting to rescue men and women from its harmful effects. Needless to say, Craig must be somewhat comfortable with uncomfortable. But, this is good for you and me, because out of this place of comfort Craig wants to talk to and teach us about how we can hold each other accountable for the potentially harmful and, at the very least, negative things we have in our lives. I’m not just talking about porn…I mean ANYTHING.
I’m a youth pastor, and I have thrown the word accountability around like a sack of potatoes for years now. “You need to get other people involved in your life…people who can hold you accountable for your actions and help keep you on the right path,” I say. But, while reading this book, I came to realize that I haven’t really ever told them how to do that. The truth is that I didn’t know exactly how to do it much less how to explain the process to them. I’m very happy to say that with OPEN I have found a resource that has educated me and will help me do the same for my kids in the coming weeks, months, and years.
OPEN is full of not only guidance and advice on how you can invite people into the very personal and difficult parts of your life like various forms of addiction or even places where you just need to get more disciplined with something, it’s also backed up with real-life experiences to show you how it has worked in the author’s own life. Questions like what is accountability, how do I do it, who do I do it alongside, and many others are answered in a simple and frank way that’s easily processed and sensible to anyone who takes the time to read the book. Gross leaves no stone unturned, and he is unflinchingly honest about successes and failures in his own life as well as the lives of others he has known over the years.
I’m thankful for someone like Craig Gross who is willing to tread into territory so many of us would not even dare venture into and is willing to be open about his own struggles and successes. OPEN is real in every sense, and it’s a great read. I found it to be engaging and interesting, but, above all, I found it helpful in an area where we can all use more education and direction. Go out and get a copy of OPEN, and check it out for yourself. You WILL NOT be disappointed!
If you want to check out a sample of the book, you can do so at GetOpen.com. You can purchase a copy there, or it can also be found in the usual places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers where books are sold.