Review of Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey
We sort through our mess on the threshold of change.
To know me well is to know my deep adoration of Sarah Bessey, not for her books alone, though Jesus Feminist was extremely influential in my life and story. I enjoyed her work and commentary so much that I followed her on social media like any good millennial. When I stumbled upon Sarah and her husband dressed as Sookie and Jackson from Gilmore Girls, the deal was sealed for me. Sarah Bessey is one of my favorite Christian speakers and writers. Beyond her love of one of America's greatest TV shows Sarah is full of wisdom, interjecting Truth both to the global and local church. She is a precious mama and her Canadian grammar idiosyncrasies grab my attention and wrap her closer around my heart in each read.
To know me well is also to know how timely Out of Sorts publishing was in my life and story. I had not yet purchased the book when news spread Sarah Bessey was coming to speak at the college where I work. Upon the loss of my Dad and the grief that followed I had not picked up a piece of Christian literature in a while, including my Bible. I was angry and lost but I knew I loved Sarah Bessey, I mean she dressed like Sookie, so I went and could not put to words how thankful I was. She shared about braving the wilderness of doubts and questions, pressing into our wrestling and never feeling like we need to protect God. It felt like a scene in a movie when the lights go off in a room and one single light was on me. At a time when I felt completely missed, I felt completely seen and understood by her words. I waited in line to speak with her afterword and shared about her voice in my life and story and how sweetly the Truth God laid on her heart had met me that night.
But you didn't come here to hear me fan girl about Sarah, you came to hear about Out of Sorts.
Real life is the undignified life and it is the classroom for holiness.
Sarah Bessey begins this book by describing the process of cleaning out her grandmother's attic upon her passing. She then opens up to describe the "sorting" of our faith and theology that grief brings. Grief of losing a loved one, grief of hurt from a friend, grief of a divorce, or grief of losing a job.
She shares of her own journey of walking away from the Church for years as she questioned her faith while her husband was still working in ministry.
She unpacks the preconceived notions about faith and ministry she and her husband carried for years, without ever bringing them into the light of analyzing their true weight or faithfulness to Scripture's call.
Out of Sorts is honest about the difficult tension of holding allegiance to the evangelical church amidst watching many actions and decisions taken and made in the name of Jesus and disagreeing with them deep in our bones. How do we reconcile the Church we claim and the Church we are ashamed of?
She speaks of taking off the cape and crown of being a modern, evangelical hero and learning to be the faithful friend that brings over dinner when a friend just had a baby. In a world that applauds those who take big steps of faith in obedience to move and sacrifice, she affirms those who stay, who brave it out in movements that are slow to change.
I believe we don't give enough credit to those who stay put in slow to change movements.
I recently listened to a podcast by Annie Downs, in which, she encouraged us to pay attention to the trends of Christian books as they represent the heart of believers. Recently, especially within women's circles there were trends of bravery and courage and more recently friendship and finding your "tribe". I have found this idea of real sorting, of reaching back to the broken places to be a recent trend in Looking for Lovely, Searching for Sunday, Out of Sorts, and more classically The Inner Voice of Love.
We are in a unique age in the Church. A changing age. A time of sorting, reorganizing, and reorienting. Sarah Bessey sets an incredible stage through her own story of how we on and individual level and collective level can truly sort our faith, returning to the often hidden Truths of Scripture's true call.
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Emily Katherine. On this page you’ll find lessons I’ve learned through my own story, primarily in the sudden loss of my precious Dad on my 22nd birthday. You’ll find book reviews and recommendations. And in between you’ll find a few resources I use in teaching middle school through college students.
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