…will soothe your aching soul and restore a bit of hope to it.
Author: Sarah Bessey
Title: Out Of Sorts: Making Peace With An Evolving Faith
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Howard Books
Publishing Date: 3 Nov. 2015
Genre: Religion & Spirituality/Christian Living
Reviewer: ‘Yomi ‘Segun Stephen
Review Rating: 4 (Good)
From the popular blogger and provocative author of Jesus Feminist comes a riveting new study of Christianity that helps you wrestle with—and sort out—your faith.
In Out of Sorts, Sarah Bessey—award-winning blogger and author of Jesus Feminist, which was hailed as “lucid, compelling, and beautifully written” (Frank Viola, author of God’s Favorite Place on Earth)—helps us grapple with core Christian issues using a mixture of beautiful storytelling and biblical teaching, a style well described as “narrative theology.”
As she candidly shares her wrestlings with core issues—such as who Jesus is, what place the Church has in our lives, how to disagree yet remain within a community, and how to love the Bible for what it is rather than what we want it to be—she teaches us how to walk courageously through our own tough questions.
In the process of gently helping us sort things out, Bessey teaches us how to be as comfortable with uncertainty as we are with solid answers. And as we learn to hold questions in one hand and answers in the other, we discover new depths of faith that will remain secure even through the storms of life.
It is challenging to know what to make of this book. There are times it feels like peeking into a personal journal or a letter to a young lover. Sometimes it even reads like a theological essay (I hope that is a thing) or a series of personal blog posts. Out of Sorts by Sarah Beesey tries to be all things, though not deliberately, I assure you.
Out Of Sorts by Sarah Bessey is a personal account of a Christian journey that is typical of a large subset of modern believers. The author has gone through life’s trials and has been stabbed at by the faith she professes to love, yet she says she is still in love with it. “It’s about embracing a faith, which evolves,” she says, “and the stuff I used to think about God, but I don’t think anymore, and it’s about the new things I think and believe that turned out to be old. It’s about the evolution of a soul and the ways I’ve failed;”
The book chronicles the author’s path - how she became a Christian, how life events made her disillusioned with her beliefs, how her faith metamorphosised and how she found comfort with different teachings Christianity has to offer across the ages.
She offers the lessons she has learnt to fellow Christians who are dissatisfied with the Church and are unsure of what to believe anymore. To those who have been betrayed by the church institutions and thinks it no longer holds any influence in our society, she points out that:
“…every five hundred years or so, the Church has a big rummage sale… about every five years the empowered structures of institutionalized Christianity, whatever they may be at that time, become an intolerable carapace that must be shattered in order that renewal and new growth may occur.”
Sarah Bessey believes we are on the precipice of such time, and that we - the believers - are sifting through our beliefs… and also dying. However, she says that dying is part of the story and it comes right before resurrection of life and power that will change our lives and communities.
Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey is easy to read and conversational. However, the book feels like a disjointed collection of blog posts trying hard to be a book. The message is singular – hope for believers who are in some kind of transition, who feel as though they have lost their faith.
Unfortunately, under this singular message are countless analogies that do not lend strength to the author’s argument but dances around her personal experiences.
Make no mistake however, Out Of Sorts is a book that will soothe your aching soul and restore a bit of hope to it. The book paints an accurate picture of what the Christian walk can be and hope that in everything you will remember that God is the orchestrator of life and He is always by our side.
Many thanks to Howard Books for review copy.
Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith: Sarah Bessey, Jen Hatmaker: 9781476717586: Books