NAKED GRACE

The faith’s most important question, “What do I have to do to be saved?” Should have a simple answer, though no one in the piney woods seemed to agree what that simple answer should be. Despite growing up in the buckle of the Bible belt, confusion about the Christian faith plagued every step of Lucas’ journey. In NAKED GRACE, Lucas Kitchen uses wit, humor, and visual storytelling to invite you to join his life-long quest for answers. This multi-decade pursuit took Lucas to some laugh-out-loud places. When the stakes were as high as they could be, the simple answer came. 

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CHAPTERS

Part 1 of 27Naked GraceIf your parents didn't take you to an amusement park as a kid, they either didn't love you or…. No, that's pretty much it, they didn't love you. The park of choice for those near Dallas is the famed Six Flags over Texas. It's a theme park with towering roller coasters, […]

Emotions

Part 2 of 27Naked Grace A father's nightly rituals are a thing of boundless fascination to his son. His endless hours at work might as well have been spent in a mysterious patch of the Brazilian Amazon as in an office building two miles from the house. My brothers and I would anticipate the nightly ambush […]

Bunk Bed Tears

Part 3 of 27Naked GraceNot many days after the bunk bed incident, I was standing by my Dad's drawing table. The walls of his studio were always crowded with drying paintings. That's where he would work when he had freelance illustration jobs.  At that time, he was building upon a budding career as a painter […]

The Drawing Table

Part 4 of 27Naked GraceGrandma and Grandpa lived in Dallas. Our trips there often came in winter since the most active concentration of holidays accompany the cold weather. We would draw shapes in the fog our breath made on the van windows as we drove.  Being a kid who lived hours from my grandparents meant […]

Cold Cat Case

Part 5 of 27Naked GraceBefore city council decided to build the bypass, a multi-mile loop around my hometown, much of the outskirts were still blanketed by the pine forest of East Texas. The little Bible church we attended was a metal building at the end of a dead-end road, surrounded by tall pines. The church […]

Church Of The PhDs

Part 6 of 27Naked GraceAs we grew into devious little miscreants, we could feel the blisters brought by the struggle against our behavioral constraints. With each wriggle, they grew tighter. There were rules at home, rules at school, and rules on the playground. There were even rules for proper bathroom etiquette. Didn't they know I […]

The Wild Woods

Part 7 of 27Naked GraceAs we grew into devious little miscreants, we could feel the blisters brought by the struggle against our behavioral constraints. With each wriggle, they grew tighter. There were rules at home, rules at school, and rules on the playground. There were even rules for That hatchet was the second installment of […]

Dark Magic

Part 8 of 27Naked GraceMy fourth-grade class was buzzing with Christmas-time enthusiasm. The whir of exuberant voices filled the room as a holiday coloring sheet went around. The Christmas break was coming, with its presents and candy. The page slid into place as I reached under my desk for my crayons. Some kids had the […]

Bible By Night Light

Part 9 of 27Naked GraceAs my love for the Bible was beginning to blossom, my friendship with Michael was soon tested by fire. By eighth grade, Michael was reading the Wheel of Time. It's a huge series of fantasy novels, and each is as fat as a Webster's dictionary. Michael's face was buried in a […]

The Stool Method

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Naked Grace

Part 10 of 27Naked GraceJunior High sleepovers were the best of times and the worst of times. Our neighborhood was not lacking in options. John's house was always a safe choice, though he had a curly furred dog who demanded a crotch sniff followed by a face lick. Spending the night at Jimmy's was not […]

Drugs For Boys

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Naked Grace

Part 11 of 27Naked GraceJeff was the crudest guy I knew. He could keep the whole lunch table laughing with his crass humor. It was sophomore year, and I had become fast friends with him. We both played in the marching band. Thus we spent most of our Friday nights and rehearsal times together. The […]

Jeff's New Life

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Naked Grace

Part 12 of 27Naked Grace"I'm in a band, come see our show this Friday," I said as I handed a flyer to a girl I didn't know. 'LED in concert at the Java Jira,' it read in big, bold text. She glanced at it with curiosity and then at me. She was pretty. I hoped […]

Charisma

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Naked Grace

Part 13 of 27Naked GraceIt was just going to be a small get together and at first, that's all it was. I had invited Stephanie, James, Jeff, and a few others. We met in my parent's garage where our band practiced. Amidst the ragged drum kit and second-hand electric guitars, we read a little bit […]

Garage Study

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Naked Grace

Part 14 of 27Naked GraceThat same year I had an interesting experience while standing outside one of the local Christian rock venues. Billy was a kid who  I knew from the marching band. I don't remember him ever attending one of my garage Bible studies, so I'm not sure he knew I was such a […]

Billy's Invitation

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Naked Grace

Part 15 of 27Naked GraceI got my first church job at the age of 19. I was hired on as the pastoral intern at a small Bible church. I was the first one the church had ever had. It wasn't clear what the job description was. I met with the pastor a few times a […]

Stan's Hand Off

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Naked Grace

Part 16 of 27Naked GraceBy my junior year in high school, it was becoming clear that there were a lot more gigs for a worship band than a loud rock act. As the worship war was waging in churches, the door was swinging wide for drums and electric guitars where only pipe organs, choirs, and […]

Pseudo Celebrities

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Naked Grace

Part 17 of 27Naked GraceBeing in the Baptist sphere came with its own idiosyncrasies. One such awkwardness was what was known as the invitation. Growing up in the Bible church meant that I had not been introduced to the end of service time, where individuals are encouraged to walk down the aisle as a means […]

Twelve Salvations

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Naked Grace

Part 18 of 27Naked GraceFrom the time I was sixteen, I have been driving very used cars. My first was a Nissan Pulsar. I often told people, "The great thing about this car is that when something breaks, the broken part usually falls off on the road, so I don't have to worry about it." […]

Road trip

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Naked Grace

Part 19 of 27Naked GraceThe year I served as the interim youth minister was the busiest of my life. The summer was especially hectic. I made my first two international mission trips. I led the student ministry through a packed summer schedule and I played at a handful of summer camps with my band.  My […]

My role

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Naked Grace

Part 20 of 27Naked GraceThere is always a war of technology going on in media. For reasons I will explain in a moment, the industry chose 8mm cameras and projectors over other technology. When I was young, the battle was between VHS and Betamax. Beta was superior in image quality. However, VHS won the battle […]

Beat it

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Naked Grace

Part 21 of 27Naked GraceI got a call from Clay, the missions pastor of a large church in Athens, Texas, one afternoon as another summer was approaching. I had never met him before, but he had gotten my name from a local youth minister that had me speak at his youth events.  “Hey, I’m organizing […]

Latvia

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Naked Grace

Part 22 of 27Naked GraceWhen we got back into Cesis with the bus full of teens, there was an electric buzz in the air. On the way back, we talked to the kids about being baptized. It was the next logical step. They loved the idea and so we excitedly made plans to baptize the […]

Non The Baptist

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Naked Grace

Part 23 of 27Naked Grace"If you can't feel the presence of God in this place, you should check your spiritual pulse!" I heard a sweating revival preacher say once. It frightened me. I was not all that moved by his preaching antics, which seemed surprisingly similar to a red-faced temper tantrum. I had known since […]

The Passion

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Naked Grace

Part 24 of 27Naked GraceIn the corner of the Bible Belt, where I grew up, there was this pervasive idea that faith equals fervor. Disregarding the fact that the two words have entirely separate etymologies and semantic domains, the cohabitation of these two terms never seemed all that questionable to my developing mind. In practice, […]

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