Thinking Out Loud

March 22, 2013

Name Changes: The Artist Formerly Known as Anne Jackson

The first time I can recall anyone within the Christian world changing their name mid career was when Leslie Phillips became Sam Phillips. A newer generation might cite Katy Hudson becoming Kate Perry. Both of those examples however were exiting the Christian marketplace.

I’m sure there are some Christian author stories out there as well, but I can’t think of any.

However, on Monday, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson author Anne Jackson announced to the world that hereafter she will be writing under the name Anne Marie Miller, in a blog post entitled Anne Jackson Is Gone.

I still have another book to write. Half of it is due a month from tomorrow. As Tim, myself, and my publishing team at Thomas Nelson sat down in December, we discussed the pros and cons of changing my name from what it has always been known as online and on books – Anne Jackson – to my new name…

…But what about those people who only know “Anne Jackson”? How will they find out? Is it a bad career move?

My heart and gut say to go with it. Though “Anne Jackson” is the name some people know, it is just a name. It is time for me to shed the skin that held much love and heartache and enjoy wearing this new one which is full of new life and adventure. I am a different person now…hopefully one who is a little more mature in her faith and loving in her heart…

Read her entire article — complete with a picture of her new hubby — at this link.

February 1, 2009

You’ve Got Mad Church Disease

“Blessed are the burned-out, for things can only improve from here…”

Okay, that’s a quote from nowhere, because when you’re burned out in ministry, “blessed” isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind.   But help is on the way, in the form of Anne Jackson’s new book Mad Church Disease.

mad-church-diseaseWhen I reviewed the book the first time, I mentioned that I don’t live in a country where advance ordering is as widespread as elsewhere, and I’d come back to a more formal review when the book hit the stores, which is right now!

So here’s the deal:  Eleven chapters that are partially subjective biography but largely objective self-help for clergy, church staff and laity who feel that ministry is killing them in one form or another.   It’s usually called burnout, but there aren’t many books on the topic, especially among Christian publishers.   The overall genre here is ‘self-help,’ since the book is big on action steps you can take if you feel this book is playing your song.

The title is an obvious play on ‘mad cow disease,’ which, it turns out, provides a rather appropriate motif.    The format — including generous use of color, charts, and fill-in-the-blanks — continues the metaphor with a pseudo-medical treatment of the disease, including checking symptoms and getting the proverbial second opinion, in this case from Bill Hybels, Perry Noble, Wayne Cordeiro, Mike Foster, Matt Carter, Shawn Wood, Gary Kinnaman and Brandi Wilson.

The book also provides one of the best clarifications you will ever read on the distinction between everyday stress and true burnout.   If your work life isn’t a church, but in general commerce and industry, you might want to buy the book anyway, just for those three chapters.    Finally, if life is going pretty good right now, you might want to examine the risk factors just the same.

But ‘self-help’ aside, even if you don’t have the disease, although it’s not its purpose, the book is a powerful call to prayer for Christian leaders and pastors.   If you want a better understanding of the reality of life for pastors and many paid church staffers — especially those who are essentially ‘on call’ 24 hours a day — this book will give you that window into their world.

Anne Jackson is not trained in psychology.   Instead she has the real-world experience of the disease on her side and brings an analytic and compassionate approach to helping readers diagnose and be cured of Mad Church Disease in all its forms.    I’ve enjoyed reading Anne’s blog, FlowerDust, over the past year and am impressed enough with her first book for Zondervan that I’m giving it this rare second review and my heartiest endorsement.

Buy it for yourself, or a pastor, church leader or church volunteer you love; or for someone at the point of entering into ministry to know the risks and to have the book on hand when they need it.

Download a  FREE sample chapter HERE.

Read another writer’s in depth review of the book.


( Thanks to Mark H. at Zondervan Canada for the collector’s-item proof copy! )

December 12, 2008

Anne Jackson’s Mad Church Disease Releases in February

Filed under: Christianity, Church, family — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:19 pm

After many years of moving in Christian circles, I’ve gotten to know a lot of  people, but the people I’ve come into contact with this year through blogging are a truly special subset of the larger Christian community.

anne-jacksonAnne Jackson, who blogs at, is one of those people.   I dropped by her website earlier in the year, but it wasn’t until late spring that I became a regular visitor.   I then noticed she has a book coming out with my favorite publisher, Zondervan.

After pulling a few strings with them (note the “favorite publisher” line above) I was able to score an advance galley proof copy of Mad Church Disease Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic. This is a book for anybody who is in leadership or service in a local church or parachurch organization, either at the paid or volunteer level.   It’s not a book just for pastors, though pastors are a kind of flashpoint for the kind of burnout Anne describes.

Not living in a culture where advance ordering is as rampant as it is in the U.S., I want to save a more formal review for closer to its release date, when I think it can do Anne the most good.   Well, not just Anne; I just thing there’s a lot here that many of us can learn from.   My review will definitely have all the stars you can give a book, which is either four or five depending on who you talk to.

mad-church-diseaseWe can get so pumped about our church and witness activities that we fail to set boundaries which will help us set proper limits to ensure we don’t (a) overdose or choke on a diet of too much Christian service, and (b) end up disconnecting ourselves from normal family life.  Because it’s easy to O.D. on spiritual activity, this book can be a preventative; or if it’s too late, this book can help us find our way back to normalcy.   As Anne points out, there is not a lot in print on this topic.

This book rather ‘ambushed’ me a couple of times.

First, although my life is stressful, I don’t consider myself to have ever fully burned out.   Give it a week.  So I appreciate the distinction between stress and more severe forms of meltdown.   But there were some sections, particularly the section on relational burnout, where Anne was “Killing me Softly.”    I expected to read this book in a somewhat detached fashion, not really expecting to identify.

The second ambush came near the end.   I spread the reading out over the better part of a week, and as the book was wrapping up, I wished it had been at least 30% longer.   In particular, I was wishing that Anne had share more anecdotal material, especially more of her own story.    In the end, she did not disappoint.   This is a woman who is willing to bring her own past to print, exposing her vulnerability in the process, and yet still manage to pull of a treatment of a tough subject that is fully professional.

I’ll deal with the chapter arrangement and the whole analogy to Mad Cow Disease when I review the book again in late January.   But for now I do need to mention that Anne shares the spotlight with guest contributors such as Perry Noble, Wayne Cordeiro, Bill Hybels, Gary Kinnaman, Craig Groeschel (who wrote the foreword) and Brandi Wilson (wife of Pete Wilson, whose blog, Without Wax, is linked at right.)

Yes, this is a book that so-and-so needs to read.  (Aren’t all Christian books most ideal for somebody we know…?)  It’s also a book that you need to read.  And so do I.  Mad Church Disease releases in February from Zondervan.   Or you can ask your local Christian bookstore to reserve a copy for you right now.

Photo: Our file pic of Anne is a bit out of date. On her blog she is now decidedly brunette. Be sure to check out FlowerDust, but don’t steal her blogroll. It’s already been done.

Blog at