Out of Sorts
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.

Out of Sorts Details

TitleOut of Sorts
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 3rd, 2015
PublisherHoward Books
ISBN-139781476717586
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Religion, Faith, Christian, Christianity, Autobiography, Memoir

Out of Sorts Review

  • Leigh Kramer
    January 1, 1970
    I don't have the words for how much I loved this one. I wish I'd read it in my early 20s or even college when my faith crumbled and I began the process of rebuilding it. Sarah's wisdom and insights resonate even now as I continue to explore my relationship with God and church.
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  • Annie Rim
    January 1, 1970
    In her usual gentle style, Sarah Bessey guides us through her own process of getting her faith back to sorts. She talks about unexpected ways she was led back to her faith, even to her childhood denomination. And, when I say "gentle," I don't mean in a weak sort of way. I mean gentle in the way someone offers their hand because they are on firmer ground. Bessey has gone through this process of doubt and discontent and she is offering her hand from the other side of that process.Bessey combines t In her usual gentle style, Sarah Bessey guides us through her own process of getting her faith back to sorts. She talks about unexpected ways she was led back to her faith, even to her childhood denomination. And, when I say "gentle," I don't mean in a weak sort of way. I mean gentle in the way someone offers their hand because they are on firmer ground. Bessey has gone through this process of doubt and discontent and she is offering her hand from the other side of that process.Bessey combines theology, storytelling, and open-ended questions to weave her own journey. And, while this book is her journey, the truths she tells are universal. She takes it beyond a simple faith memoir and into the realm of a guide for other wanderers.While I found this book profound in the place I'm at now, I could see it being especially helpful to someone who is just coming out of their own out of sorts journey and needs the reminder that everything is ok.**As part of the Out of Sorts launch team, I received an early copy of the book for review.**
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  • Stefanie Kellum
    January 1, 1970
    Every now and then a book comes into your life at exactly the right time, and I think I've needed this book in my life for years. Sarah Bessey has a way of speaking the truth in love and friendship without shying away from heavy topics. Her tone invokes a coffee shop meeting, like she's chatting with you over a couple of cups of coffee (more likely, tea...she's Canadian). :) It provides a safe place to reexamine your faith while making you both laugh and cry. It's a book for those wandering in t Every now and then a book comes into your life at exactly the right time, and I think I've needed this book in my life for years. Sarah Bessey has a way of speaking the truth in love and friendship without shying away from heavy topics. Her tone invokes a coffee shop meeting, like she's chatting with you over a couple of cups of coffee (more likely, tea...she's Canadian). :) It provides a safe place to reexamine your faith while making you both laugh and cry. It's a book for those wandering in the wilderness with questions about faith and life and for those who think they have it all sorted out, the "recovering know-it-alls," as she lovingly calls them. It stirs up an intricate and intimate wrestling match of the soul and leaves you pondering what you truly believe and in whom you truly trust, and at the heart of the book is simply Jesus and a call to unity in the Church and its many denominations. As someone similar in age, I'm thrilled that her voice rings out for the Kingdom for our generation. Touche, Sarah. I loved Jesus Feminist, but this one takes the cake, and I gobbled it up. *I read a digital ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss, and I'm thrilled to be part of the launch team. :)
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  • Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
    January 1, 1970
    I love Sarah Bessey. I loved her first book, I love her blog, and I especially love her instagram account with tons of snaps of her gorgeous kids and knitting projects. But overall, though it absolutely pains me to say it, this book disappointed me. It disappointed me in the same way her friend Rachel Held Evans' new book Searching for Sunday disappointed me (my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1252016577). There just wasn't enough new content. For a LOT of the thirty-something I love Sarah Bessey. I loved her first book, I love her blog, and I especially love her instagram account with tons of snaps of her gorgeous kids and knitting projects. But overall, though it absolutely pains me to say it, this book disappointed me. It disappointed me in the same way her friend Rachel Held Evans' new book Searching for Sunday disappointed me (my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1252016577). There just wasn't enough new content. For a LOT of the thirty-something, quasi-evangelical women writers in the last few years, it's basically the same concepts, repackaged memoir-style around each author's life. (In her favor, Sarah has done a bit more theological digging, and as a result this book paints a much more complex and robust theological portrait than some of her competition's.) Overall, it's good, includes lots of important and interesting facts, quotes, and life details. And I can say without hesitation: If you haven't read everything else by this group of ladies, you'll be floored, in love, totally smitten. To sum up: I love her style, and I will still hang on her every tweet, but if you're reading all the books on the NBW-RHE-Jen Hatmaker-GDM circuit, there might not be enough new content to warrant five stars.
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  • sarah ash
    January 1, 1970
    "If you have needed to walk away, I know you're grieving. Let yourself grieve. When something ends, it's worthwhile to notice its passing, to sit in the space and look at the pieces before you head out."Growing up, I was a church person. Blessed with that title before birth as the firstborn of two Jesus-loving church people, I spent my childhood years learning about the God of the Christian Bible, and my teenage years learning to defend him. I went to the fellowships, outreach events, lock-ins, "If you have needed to walk away, I know you're grieving. Let yourself grieve. When something ends, it's worthwhile to notice its passing, to sit in the space and look at the pieces before you head out."Growing up, I was a church person. Blessed with that title before birth as the firstborn of two Jesus-loving church people, I spent my childhood years learning about the God of the Christian Bible, and my teenage years learning to defend him. I went to the fellowships, outreach events, lock-ins, and Bible studies for almost twenty years and I was immersed and committed and everything a church person should be."Once upon a time, you had it all beautifully sorted out. Then you didn't."At some point, being a church person was no longer enough. My tradition didn't allow enough room for all the people, and in response I stepped away. I have spent the last few years wandering in the wilderness: asking, wrestling, seeking: never staying in one place too long. It is long and hard and weary, and I'm not sure who I will be when I make it to the other side. Sarah's book is an oasis in my wilderness. A quick hug and a "yeah, me too" before I continue on my seemingly endless journey. A reminder that I am okay and I don't have to be afraid; I'm just a little out of sorts.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book. I just finished reading it and I already want to read it again and soak it in deep. Sarah's words are so encouraging and her love for Jesus is contagious. I see myself in so much of her story, though we are from different denominational backgrounds. Sarah reminds us that it is okay to have questions and doubts and experience a bit of wilderness time. And she is so gracious in her writing about how we all need each other, all the various streams of Christianity. I lo I absolutely loved this book. I just finished reading it and I already want to read it again and soak it in deep. Sarah's words are so encouraging and her love for Jesus is contagious. I see myself in so much of her story, though we are from different denominational backgrounds. Sarah reminds us that it is okay to have questions and doubts and experience a bit of wilderness time. And she is so gracious in her writing about how we all need each other, all the various streams of Christianity. I love her vulnerability and honesty and the prayer at the end of the book nearly had me in tears. Do yourself a favor and read this book. You will be blessed.
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  • Beth Pellnat
    January 1, 1970
    Really struggled to get through this book. Was looking for more of an intellectual discussion of faith and struggles with theology. Found it to be very evangelical. Heavy on emotion and light on critical evaluation and discussion.
  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Those whose first memories of their lives include sitting in church may find this book quite helpful as they too, find that reality isn't quite so neatly organized into distinct categories as they might have heard. Religious education, whether it was through Sunday School, VBS, children's sermons, or whatever it may have been, was well-meaning and quite a bit of it was good. But there is often an overemphasis on certainty, on either-or thinking, of an us-vs-them categorization of the world, and Those whose first memories of their lives include sitting in church may find this book quite helpful as they too, find that reality isn't quite so neatly organized into distinct categories as they might have heard. Religious education, whether it was through Sunday School, VBS, children's sermons, or whatever it may have been, was well-meaning and quite a bit of it was good. But there is often an overemphasis on certainty, on either-or thinking, of an us-vs-them categorization of the world, and an emphasis on "ministry work" over "regular jobs." Many people are fine with this type of worldview. But many others are not, and as they mature and emerge into a world that doesn't revolve around church life, questions arise. What are they to do with such questions, creeping doubts, and ambiguity?This book is Sarah Bessey's autobiographical look at how she sorted through her life that turned into "Out of Sorts" when she too, faced a world that was not quite what growing up in church had led her to believe it would be. Her desire is for her readers to be able to use her experiences as inspiration to work through sorting through their own religious artifacts and baggage -- figure out what is still worth keeping, and learn to let go of the things that are no longer helpful, things that are useless, and things that may even be harmful. Are there new practices and traditions that might help a person continue in discipleship and spiritual growth? Even though she writes accessibly and in a conversational tone, the subjects she tackles are not light. She deals with questions of theodicy, biblical inerrancy and hermeneutics, ecclesiology (the church), the nature and work of the Spirit, vocation and calling, social justice - to name a few. Sorting through the past and present of faith is an ongoing process. It will probably continue for the rest of each person's life. The key is to "making peace with an evolving faith" (subtitle). (Based on ARC.)
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  • L.M.
    January 1, 1970
    I struggle with my faith. A lot. I grew up in the American South--in the Bible Belt--primarily in two Baptist Churches. The sort of worship I was used to was either being screamed at from the pulpit every week or the mild, meek voice of a calmer pastor. This calmer pastor belonged to the church I "really" grew up in. I was baptized in it. I made most of my childhood friends in it (though I don't keep in touch with any of them now). I learned most of my young theology there. But in high school an I struggle with my faith. A lot. I grew up in the American South--in the Bible Belt--primarily in two Baptist Churches. The sort of worship I was used to was either being screamed at from the pulpit every week or the mild, meek voice of a calmer pastor. This calmer pastor belonged to the church I "really" grew up in. I was baptized in it. I made most of my childhood friends in it (though I don't keep in touch with any of them now). I learned most of my young theology there. But in high school and college, the questions came. And I RAGED against them. I knew if one chink pitted in the armor, it would all fall apart. And it did--spectacularly. I have spent the entirety of my twenties trying to reconcile my spiritual life with a mental illness and the hardship of loss and pain. Thus, reading Sarah's beautifully written memoir was like balm for my soul. She writes with such poetic fervor about the challenges of living out a radical faith in this modern age. She is unashamed of her charismatic roots and the "home" she has found as an adult there. I love this. She has inspired me to unpack my own Baptist roots and deeply look at the gold that is there (and to "sort out" the rest that may not be needed in my own life). I love, though, that Sarah finds and "keeps" practices and disciplines from other Christian paths in her life. I think we are all magpies with our Christian walk and it isn't necessary to "find the right denomination" or to be "right". We are all God's children and all of us are more lost in the dark than we care to admit when it comes to correct theology. I was deeply encouraged by this book and think that you will be, too, if like us you have struggled to make sense of an evolving faith.
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  • Ainsley
    January 1, 1970
    I think I would enjoy being friends with Sarah Bessey; this book just wasn't what I was expecting right now. I was expecting more messy vulnerable story like Nadia Bolz-Weber's Accidental Saints or Rachel Held Evans' Searching for Sunday. Frankly, more doubt and confusion and less inspiration and clarity. For instance, losing four babies and not going to church for six years after being "in ministry": can we get more into *that* story? Cause you have lived some life. So, 2.5 stars for me but I c I think I would enjoy being friends with Sarah Bessey; this book just wasn't what I was expecting right now. I was expecting more messy vulnerable story like Nadia Bolz-Weber's Accidental Saints or Rachel Held Evans' Searching for Sunday. Frankly, more doubt and confusion and less inspiration and clarity. For instance, losing four babies and not going to church for six years after being "in ministry": can we get more into *that* story? Cause you have lived some life. So, 2.5 stars for me but I can see how it's a 4 star book for someone else. My key takeaways:- Sometimes you have to take everything apart in order for it to reassemble. And however it reassembled isn't really the point: the journey is sacred. - God is in the wilderness and we don't have to deny or fear that journey away from what we have known and believed. - It's important to have a small circle of "Somewheres," folks to whom you can tell and feel anything, and being a Somewhere to someone else.- this wonderful E.M. Forster quote: "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."(I guess one could substitutes "faith" in there for "life" as well.)
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  • Meredith McCaskey
    January 1, 1970
    I read Jesus Feminist and found it beautiful and thought-provoking. I didn't even know Sarah Bessey had written other books. My kind and thoughtful husband, in Christmas shopping for me, looked her up and found Out of Sorts and when I opened it on Christmas morning he said, "I read the summary and I thought this sounded like something you'd like right now."My lovely husband. How right you were!From the other Goodreads reviews, it's clear I'm not the first person to feel my soul give a long, I read Jesus Feminist and found it beautiful and thought-provoking. I didn't even know Sarah Bessey had written other books. My kind and thoughtful husband, in Christmas shopping for me, looked her up and found Out of Sorts and when I opened it on Christmas morning he said, "I read the summary and I thought this sounded like something you'd like right now."My lovely husband. How right you were!From the other Goodreads reviews, it's clear I'm not the first person to feel my soul give a long, slow exhale of relief in the chapters of this book. I am struck, just as I was struck with Jesus Feminist , by Sarah Bessey's kindness, her gentleness towards weary, bewildered, beaten-down hearts like mine. She offers a safe place, some room to breathe, to cry, to untangle hard questions without fear of condemnation. I know she's been labelled "liberal" as if that's an insult. May all Christians learn to be liberal in their love and compassion, in their heart for Jesus, as Sarah Bessey shows herself to be.
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  • Caity Gill
    January 1, 1970
    3 or 4 stars I can't totally decide. Parts of this book made me cringe, and other parts of it made me want to stomp and say "amen". I appreciate the heart of this author.
  • Andi M.
    January 1, 1970
    Sarah Bessey fills a Rachel Held Evans-shaped space in my heart. These two women are my favorite people writing about Christianity and the roominess of God’s table.
  • Leia
    January 1, 1970
    Before the armchair theologians come out of the woodwork to scream HERESY! and the too cool critics find a way to pick this apart (because this will happen--it always does in this anonymous internet universe), let me be one of the first to say: BRAVA, Sarah, on a deeply moving, meticulously thought out sacrificial offering of self. This is the kind of book that isn't just a book--it's an invitation to listen to someone else's life story. And when we listen to other people's stories--well, isn't Before the armchair theologians come out of the woodwork to scream HERESY! and the too cool critics find a way to pick this apart (because this will happen--it always does in this anonymous internet universe), let me be one of the first to say: BRAVA, Sarah, on a deeply moving, meticulously thought out sacrificial offering of self. This is the kind of book that isn't just a book--it's an invitation to listen to someone else's life story. And when we listen to other people's stories--well, isn't that what makes life worth living? Connecting, learning, absorbing.There will be others who read the book and think it's okay--well-written and thought-provoking at times, but not life changing. For those of us who have walked this (nearly) exact road, we thank you. Thanks for saying it out loud. Thanks for forcing this conversation to the forefront of modern Western Christendom. Thanks for recognizing the sacred in your every day.For me, reading this book was an exercise in shaking my head up and down "Yes, yes, yes!" over and over and over again. This is about comfort and community--Sarah Bessey is my people, and this book was so thorough, so intentional, so beautiful.I received this book from NetGalley.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    2.75-3 stars, because there were points of clarity and light sprinkled throughout. That said, I felt annoyed that the author of this book wrote as though she had already sorted through all of her faith questions and found answers for them and seemed to expect you to agree with her conclusions. As someone who is in the middle of struggling with big questions, I couldn't quite relate to her tone. I think this book should have been formatted as a collection of essays rather than a cohesive work; th 2.75-3 stars, because there were points of clarity and light sprinkled throughout. That said, I felt annoyed that the author of this book wrote as though she had already sorted through all of her faith questions and found answers for them and seemed to expect you to agree with her conclusions. As someone who is in the middle of struggling with big questions, I couldn't quite relate to her tone. I think this book should have been formatted as a collection of essays rather than a cohesive work; the writing was repetitive down to the exact phrases used over and over throughout. That said, I loved her view of community, friends, and Somewheres, as well as her assertion that saying "it's God's will" in the face of pain and loss is not only callous but patently false. She also made some thoughtful points in favor of Charismatic Christianity - a faith posture that tends to make me uncomfortable - and addressed common ways that evangelicals miss the big picture. So, 3 stars for bringing insight and offering hope, but overall I felt that Rachel Held Evans' Searching For Sunday was better-written, less likely to offer "I've got it all figured out now" answers and better fitted my current heart-space.
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  • Carmen Liffengren
    January 1, 1970
    Out of Sorts is the sort of book that acknowledges that we all struggle with our faith in myriads of ways. Bessey is bold in asserting that if we aren't wrestling with our a faith, even a little, we aren't really growing and maturing. She offers a balm for rebuilding faith in more mature terms. I loved how she finds solace in many Christian faith practices:liturgical, Quaker, non-denominational, etc. She even stepped away from church for a while to find her place in faith again. She writes eloqu Out of Sorts is the sort of book that acknowledges that we all struggle with our faith in myriads of ways. Bessey is bold in asserting that if we aren't wrestling with our a faith, even a little, we aren't really growing and maturing. She offers a balm for rebuilding faith in more mature terms. I loved how she finds solace in many Christian faith practices:liturgical, Quaker, non-denominational, etc. She even stepped away from church for a while to find her place in faith again. She writes eloquently about re-calibrating and constantly growing and evolving. I found that this book resonated with me on a deep level giving me some freedom within my own faith journey.
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  • Suzanne M Seidel
    January 1, 1970
    I cried my way through this book. I felt the victorious truth in my bones and in my gut. I felt set free by this book. I felt encouraged and validated and challenged and seen through this book. "Jesus remains. He is worth it all."
  • Erin Henry
    January 1, 1970
    It felt like she was writing my faith story. Of having it all and knowing all the answers to knowing nothing and then rebuilding. She had a beautiful faith and vision and I hope to be where she is someday.
  • Christy Krumm
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot recommend this book enough! Out of Sorts meets readers at their most crucial point where their doubts, fears, uncertainties, and discomfort with their faith is growing difficult to bear. Rather than denying their fears, Bessey asks readers to dive straight in, admit every single feeling and frustration you’ve ever had, and trust the Holy Spirit might lead them on a journey -- maybe not towards every answer, but at least towards Him. And in the end, He may just be enough. As a fellow wan I cannot recommend this book enough! Out of Sorts meets readers at their most crucial point where their doubts, fears, uncertainties, and discomfort with their faith is growing difficult to bear. Rather than denying their fears, Bessey asks readers to dive straight in, admit every single feeling and frustration you’ve ever had, and trust the Holy Spirit might lead them on a journey -- maybe not towards every answer, but at least towards Him. And in the end, He may just be enough. As a fellow wanderer, Sarah leads the way by telling her story first. She speaks openly about being a pastor’s wife who refused to go to church for many years. Who felt disillusioned and duped by the hypocrisy she’d experienced in certain religious gatherings, and who ultimately came to a place where she was aching “to be called again, to hear the voice of God again” because “the God [she] once knew was disappearing like steam on a mirror.” Instead of being cast into the fiery pits of hell, as some of us might fear, and instead of walking farther away from the Christian church, her earnest seeking actually leads her back to it. Not only that, it leads her to know and recognize Jesus in a deeper and truer way. With every chapter she extends an invitation for readers to join her in the wandering. Between the lines, she calls out, See, if I can do it then so can you! You have permission. Permission to trust your instincts if some dogmatic use of scripture feels a bit off. Permission to ask questions and redefine the concept of having “faith like a child” because the real “childlike quality” we are to embody “isn’t unthinking acquiescence: it’s curiosity.” Bessey continues, “the true wonder of childlike faith [is that children] truly want to know. They’re not asking to be cool or to push back on the establishment or to prove anyone wrong or to grind an ax or make a point without making a change.” Much of the book is structured on the idea that our first task is to do a little spring cleaning. She invites readers to sort through their religious “basements” filled with experiences and beliefs and decide which ones to keep, and which to let go of. Indeed, a lot of her advice is about letting go. Letting go of our need for control, for answers, for black and white theology, and for needing to understanding and explain everything. Bessey writes, “I had to learn that taking the Bible seriously doesn’t mean taking everything literally. I had to learn to read the whole Bible through the lens of Jesus, and I had to learn to stop making it something it wasn’t -- a glorified answer book or rule book or magic spell. I had to stop trying to reduce the Bible to something I could tame or wield as a tool.” When I read her words, the Spirit inside of me smiles in agreement and feels challenged, empowered and free. Maybe that’s what this book is really about: the permission to be free. God gives us that permission any time we want, but sometimes we just need someone like Sarah Bessey to point it out and to guide us to a place where we can both edwell in and live out of that freedom each and every day.
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  • Tristan Sherwin
    January 1, 1970
    Within Charismatic circles we can often have the tendency to describe and “advertise” Jesus as the answer. But does this sanitise Him too much? From my own experience, He continues to be a question that calls my faith to become a pilgrimage; a journey, a cyclic course of development and change, upturning and settlement.Or, as Brian Zahnd recently expressed it on his blog, “We have Jesus. We lose Jesus. We seek Jesus. We find Jesus. We rethink Jesus". And round and round we go.Within Out of Sorts Within Charismatic circles we can often have the tendency to describe and “advertise” Jesus as the answer. But does this sanitise Him too much? From my own experience, He continues to be a question that calls my faith to become a pilgrimage; a journey, a cyclic course of development and change, upturning and settlement.Or, as Brian Zahnd recently expressed it on his blog, “We have Jesus. We lose Jesus. We seek Jesus. We find Jesus. We rethink Jesus". And round and round we go.Within Out of Sorts, Sarah Bessey shares her own experience of this journey: unfolding the ups and downs of rummaging through our faith in the intent of sorting out what needs to rediscovered, reclaimed and recycled from what is just refuse. As someone who has also found themselves consistently on this road-trip for the past five and a half years, I've taken great encouragement from Sarah's words.As a consequence of openly and honestly expressing her struggles with faith, scripture and church, I firmly believe that Bessey has produced one of the best books about what it means to be part of the church and a follower of Jesus. Mainly because her account is so earthy and human, while remaining Spirit infused and animated. She tenderly emphasises the fallibility of our humanity, whilst consistently leaning into the faithfulness of the Divine.Sarah's tone reminds me of Philip Yancey; there's an understanding and empathy that is carried across which can only be birthed from genuinely wrestling with oneself. Her words are free from condescension and cynicism, whilst still calling us to listen and reconsider and acknowledge. Because of that, I'm more than happy to sit and listen to her, knowing that I'm receiving truth and wisdom and perspective that aren’t going to be served with a side order of condemnation and an injection of guilt. Truth, when dispensed this way, still comes with conviction, but of a more powerful sort that uncorks something that is already inside of me. To use a film metaphor to describe this, Out Of Sorts pulls off the kind of Inception that DiCaprio & Co could only dream of (no pun intended); I'm convicted reading Sarah's words, not because they force conviction into me externally and unnaturally, but because her honesty draws my own deep insecurities out into the open.She might not consider herself a theologian, but don't discredit yourself too soon, Sarah—you've done a fantastic job here in articulating the meandering trail of following Jesus.This is a highly recommended read!My hope is that you will read it. For those of us who feel “Out Of Sorts”, you’ll draw great wisdom from this. For those of you who don’t, maybe it will help you come to terms with the truth that we all are, in a way, and that’s ok. Being “Out of Sorts” is part and parcel of what it means to believe.(Ps. In case you wondering—my favourite chapters were, 7. The People Of God: On Church, and 10. Obey the Sadness: On Grief and Lament)
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  • Vicki Judd
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished my second reading of Sarah Bessey's new book, Out of Sorts: Making Peace With An Evolving Faith. My copy is highlighted and underlined and dog-eared. Out of Sorts, is beauty, challenge, truth, grace, hope and faith, all beautifully chronicled by a young woman whose faith has not only survived the sorting - but thrived in it. Here's the thing. My generation (I'm approaching my 60th birthday) did not leave much room for sorting out the quirks, inconsistencies and failures of our sh I just finished my second reading of Sarah Bessey's new book, Out of Sorts: Making Peace With An Evolving Faith. My copy is highlighted and underlined and dog-eared. Out of Sorts, is beauty, challenge, truth, grace, hope and faith, all beautifully chronicled by a young woman whose faith has not only survived the sorting - but thrived in it. Here's the thing. My generation (I'm approaching my 60th birthday) did not leave much room for sorting out the quirks, inconsistencies and failures of our shared faith traditions. To doubt or question would be betrayal. Best to just follow the party line and not ask too many questions. But there were questions. There still are. Bessey's little book is a breath of air, a sigh of relief to those who dare to open that sealed box of questions without fear. Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Certainty is. Out of Sorts allows us the space to look honestly at our doubts and come away with a truer, more genuine faith. With great tenderness, Bessey sorts through theology, the way we read the Bible, the Church, friendship and community, the Holy Spirit, grief, justice and calling and more. The most compelling thing about this book is not that we need to sort out our evolving faith, (and whose faith isn't evolving, really?) but that at the end of the sorting, there is so much beauty, truth and grace to be found. In a day when it seems popular to write scathing critiques about the state of the Church, Christian faith and practice, Sarah Bessey's gentle expose highlights the beauty of our faith without ignoring our flaws. Bessey says,"After the fury, after the rebellion, after the wrestling, after the weighing and the sifting and the casting off and putting on, after the contemplation and the wilderness--after the sorting--comes the end of the striving and then comes rest." And, after all that, there is Jesus.
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  • John Powell
    January 1, 1970
    As a self-proclaimed "recovering evangelical", I identified with much of Sarah's journey.We have similar backgrounds in evangelical, charismatic, Bible churches. We both grew disenfranchised with much what we were seeing. We both now find ourselves in the same churches that once frustrated us, because we know there is lots of good stuff there - life and community and freedom. I found the book encouraging, because Sarah seems to be a few steps ahead of me in this process of sorting things out. I' As a self-proclaimed "recovering evangelical", I identified with much of Sarah's journey.We have similar backgrounds in evangelical, charismatic, Bible churches. We both grew disenfranchised with much what we were seeing. We both now find ourselves in the same churches that once frustrated us, because we know there is lots of good stuff there - life and community and freedom. I found the book encouraging, because Sarah seems to be a few steps ahead of me in this process of sorting things out. I'm still a bit "Out of Sorts". She is still learning (as we all should be), but she's doing it from a place of peace. If she was angry, she's processed it and is beyond it. I'm not there yet. I try to process my feelings and the anger boils up. We've both been un-learning things we were taught. And trying to re-learn things in a healthy way.So Sarah gives me hope and encouragement. And she also affirms my intention of staying put even when it is hard. I especially found her chapter on lament very moving (Chapter 10: Obey the Sadness). As well as her closing chapter where she prayed for her readers (me). She clearly know what I'm going through and what I need. She quotes many of the authors I love, but one of her favorites is one I haven't read: Dallas Willard. I might have to add him to my list.
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  • Esther
    January 1, 1970
    Having moved myself and my belongings to a lot of different physical locations, I recognized and resonated with Bessey's suggestion that we should spend as much time unpacking, sorting through, and repacking our faith as we do our boxes. When life makes way for a new job, a child, a loss, we feel out of sorts, adrift in a sea of emotion and unknowing. We grasp for things to comfort us and go with us into this new place. We store those memories that are such a part of us, we cannot bear to leave Having moved myself and my belongings to a lot of different physical locations, I recognized and resonated with Bessey's suggestion that we should spend as much time unpacking, sorting through, and repacking our faith as we do our boxes. When life makes way for a new job, a child, a loss, we feel out of sorts, adrift in a sea of emotion and unknowing. We grasp for things to comfort us and go with us into this new place. We store those memories that are such a part of us, we cannot bear to leave them behind; we donate, pass on, or throw away those things that no longer speak into who we are in a productive way.Why don't we allow ourselves the space to sort through our faith, Bessey asks. Are we carrying all our boxes along on our journey into the Kingdom, too worried or ashamed about what we might find, tucked away in the corners? Or do we fear that once we open the box, all the questions we've packed neatly inside will spill out and frighten us with their pent-up intensity?Here's to opening those boxes and poking around. And if you have time for nothing else, reading the Benediction alone may send you out into your life renewed.
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  • Aunt Edie
    January 1, 1970
    I started reading Sarah Bessey's latest then put it down, went to find a highlighter, and started it all over from the beginning. I've been texting and instagramming highlighted passages from start to finish. This book gets my highest stamp of approval.Out of Sorts is about the grief we feel as we move through life, sorting through what to keep and what to leave behind. Because even when we know that we are moving on to something better, there is often grief in leaving the known behind. It is ab I started reading Sarah Bessey's latest then put it down, went to find a highlighter, and started it all over from the beginning. I've been texting and instagramming highlighted passages from start to finish. This book gets my highest stamp of approval.Out of Sorts is about the grief we feel as we move through life, sorting through what to keep and what to leave behind. Because even when we know that we are moving on to something better, there is often grief in leaving the known behind. It is about the becoming and unbecoming. The unwinding of the ties that held us together, acknowledging that even though we are choosing better ties, change is hard.Once again Bessey doesn't urge you to accept her beliefs or walk her paths. She encourages you to do the hard work of finding your own. This isn't a book that lays out the truth for you to pick up and wear and make your own. It is a book that says this is hard work and I'll walk beside you while you find your own way. Sorting through your own baggage, I'll encourage you and prophesy over you. This is a book about walking each other home.
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  • Missy Scudder
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this book was wonderful. Sarah Bessey has just the right words to describe what a journey of faith looks like.Many today have been hurt by "the Church". Millennials don't go to church and there are many reasons.The story and journey of our faith takes curves, often derailing us for a time. What Sarah Bessey does is describe her journey and asks the questions that we all have thought at some point in our walk with God.She is honest and real, vulnerable and funny. She doesn't have all th I thought this book was wonderful. Sarah Bessey has just the right words to describe what a journey of faith looks like.Many today have been hurt by "the Church". Millennials don't go to church and there are many reasons.The story and journey of our faith takes curves, often derailing us for a time. What Sarah Bessey does is describe her journey and asks the questions that we all have thought at some point in our walk with God.She is honest and real, vulnerable and funny. She doesn't have all the answers, but gives us freedom to question, to doubt, to sit in the doubts and to know that GOD has never left. He is just wanting to reveal Himself to us in different ways, at different times.If you want REAL, this book is it.If you want answers, you might have more questions.What Bessey does is point us to JESUS and encourages us to just keep going.Sometimes that's all we really need. Someone who understands. Someone who has walked this road too.I was privileged to be on the Launch Team for this book so I read it before it was released.
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  • Fiona
    January 1, 1970
    "If our theology doesn't shift and change over our lifetimes, then I have to wonder if we're paying attention. The Spirit is often breathing in the very changes or shifts that used to terrify us. Grace waits for us in the liminal space." - Sarah Bessey.Reading 'Out of Sorts' is like a deep exhalation. I wrestle with my faith, I question and doubt, I'm sometimes deeply disillusioned with church and faith and the Bible. Sarah is a gentle but passionate companion on that journey, offering hope and "If our theology doesn't shift and change over our lifetimes, then I have to wonder if we're paying attention. The Spirit is often breathing in the very changes or shifts that used to terrify us. Grace waits for us in the liminal space." - Sarah Bessey.Reading 'Out of Sorts' is like a deep exhalation. I wrestle with my faith, I question and doubt, I'm sometimes deeply disillusioned with church and faith and the Bible. Sarah is a gentle but passionate companion on that journey, offering hope and guidance along the way, with stories from her own life and reflections on where she has discovered God "hiding in plain sight" in her right-now life.Sarah writes with such openness and a complete lack of arrogance. She invites the reader in, never assumes her experience is universal, but declares the beautiful subversiverness of hope!I can't recommend this book highly enough to anyone who wonders what to do with their questions and doubts, and to anyone (pastors, youth workers, counselors) who ministers to them.
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  • Stephanie Ebert
    January 1, 1970
    WOW, reading this book was like having Sarah read my mind. If you’re in a place where you’re feeling like the faith you grew up with doesn’t match with the darkness, questions, and struggles of the world around you and you don’t know the way forward, this book is for you. Whether it’s why God allows suffering, how to work for social justice, why we need to make room for lament in church, how to leave the institutional church (and then return), or giving women a space to do ministry, Sarah takes WOW, reading this book was like having Sarah read my mind. If you’re in a place where you’re feeling like the faith you grew up with doesn’t match with the darkness, questions, and struggles of the world around you and you don’t know the way forward, this book is for you. Whether it’s why God allows suffering, how to work for social justice, why we need to make room for lament in church, how to leave the institutional church (and then return), or giving women a space to do ministry, Sarah takes us on her journey of bringing hard questions straight to the Bible and to God himself, and letting the cherished pieces of evangelical Christian sub-culture fall where they may. The resounding theme of the book is that Jesus is the most important thing, that we are not alone in our doubts and questioning, and that perhaps some of the things we thought mattered so much don’t really matter at all. This is a safe book, a space-making book. It’s a book for who ever feels out-of-sorts and out-of-the-club. And of course, it's all written with Sarah's poetic, honest, readable style.
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  • Faith Logan
    January 1, 1970
    Admittedly, it took me longer to finish this book than I would have liked because I didn't want it to end! Everything addressed in these pages resonated with me and my faith-journey. I am adjusting my expectations every day..."Instead of becoming someone who 'did' things, I simply took my place in my own life as it is now. Instead of waiting for some mythical 'there' of ministry, I could simply live as if my life were ministry. Instead of trying harder to be more loving, I learned simply to love Admittedly, it took me longer to finish this book than I would have liked because I didn't want it to end! Everything addressed in these pages resonated with me and my faith-journey. I am adjusting my expectations every day..."Instead of becoming someone who 'did' things, I simply took my place in my own life as it is now. Instead of waiting for some mythical 'there' of ministry, I could simply live as if my life were ministry. Instead of trying harder to be more loving, I learned simply to love." (Pg. 222)"If there is one soul in your care, one face in your loving gaze, one hand you are holding, then you are holding the world. The work you do today, the love you give and receive and lavish on the seemingly small people and tasks--all these 'little' things top the scales of justice and mercy in our world. Everything we do, from the mundane to the glamorous to the difficult and all points between, can testify." (Pg. 223)Now to track down her other book!
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  • Katharine
    January 1, 1970
    If you doubt, you are not alone. I wish I had read this book four years ago. It took me so long to be honest with myself and eventually with others that I struggle with doubt in my faith life. This book is an invitation to sort through your faith. Sort through your life experiences, your beliefs, your doubts. Sarah Bessey writes so beautifully, honestly and profoundly. I think this book will be most meaningful to those who grew up within the Christian faith but have come to struggle with it -- f If you doubt, you are not alone. I wish I had read this book four years ago. It took me so long to be honest with myself and eventually with others that I struggle with doubt in my faith life. This book is an invitation to sort through your faith. Sort through your life experiences, your beliefs, your doubts. Sarah Bessey writes so beautifully, honestly and profoundly. I think this book will be most meaningful to those who grew up within the Christian faith but have come to struggle with it -- for those who love their faith deeply, yet realize that it has changed. They have changed. There must be a reckoning. Bessey reminds us that is OK. Don't fight your doubt. Lean into it. Learn from it. It's not a detour in a spiritual journey. For some of us, it is the journey. This is the best book about wrestling with your faith that I've read in a long time. I highly recommend it.
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  • Careese Mukulu
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. The last few chapters were the most helpful for where I am at this moment. They gave me insight that I wouldn't have found elsewhere and I will most likely be coming back to those chapters again and again. This book was a litte bit dense in places. Sarah Bessey showls glimpses of her inner scholar, but it's not done in a way that bores. It's done in a way that adds depth to the book. This is not just a collection of interesting stories and personal opinions. Serious s I really enjoyed this book. The last few chapters were the most helpful for where I am at this moment. They gave me insight that I wouldn't have found elsewhere and I will most likely be coming back to those chapters again and again. This book was a litte bit dense in places. Sarah Bessey showls glimpses of her inner scholar, but it's not done in a way that bores. It's done in a way that adds depth to the book. This is not just a collection of interesting stories and personal opinions. Serious study has gone into this book and I appreciate that as a scholar myself.This was a great book and I recommend it to anyone who is struggling in their faith. Sarah Bessey has been there and she found her way home. And maybe by trying her method the rest of us can too.
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