Book Review: Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey

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I've finished my first book of the year! I'm also about halfway through my second one. I'm hoping to continue building momentum after I let excessive screen time hijack my reading last year. Here is book 1 of 25, Sarah Bessey's Out of Sorts.

Out of Sorts instantly made it to my top picks for this year even though I didn't pore over every word. I didn't need to because Sarah Bessey's autobiography of faith reads almost like my own--so much so that I finished the book in just a few days.

Sarah explores different facets of the Christian faith in 12 chapters. These were parts that for her, needed untangling and unlearning, moving from chaos to order. She talks about how we've made Jesus in our own image, how we've tamed the Bible, and how we're all theologians whether we are Christians or not. She shares how we can take the good from the different traditions and that no single denomination has the monopoly on all things sacred and God-honoring. There's a chapter on the brokenness of people and how out of our mess you can grow and find roots of love that run deep. And in these imperfect relationships, grief should be perfectly normal and encouraged. No masks here. Lean in.

Sarah also talks about what it means to be fully human with Jesus as our example, how the Christian walk doesn't stop at conversion but the daily pursuit of the kingdom of God--in discipleship and co-laboring with Him. On signs and wonders, Sarah writes: "The Spirit always sweeps into my opinions and preferences with holy disruptions." Finally, the last two chapters deal with the Christian's call to pursue justice and how our understanding of calling isn't limited to the work inside the church. Dividing the "sacred" and the "secular" work is a false dichotomy.

She covered a lot of ground and I didn't need the extra time to process it. Why? This whole book is almost a distillation of everything I learned so far in my walk with the Lord.

Like Sarah, at one point I was disillusioned with church.
Like Sarah, I used to think that the only sacred work is the work of the "full time minister." Oh, how inaccurate that is.
Like Sarah, I was drawn to Reformed liturgy, thrived in dynamic Pentecostal worship, desired solid theology without pouring cold water on the Spirit's fire. Can't we all just get along?
Like Sarah, I had my doubts but I didn't stop there. I did my due diligence and asked the hard questions, not being afraid of where the truth will lead me. Always, in the end, truth leads to life.
This is Jesus.
Like Sarah, I'm a social justice wannabe who is slowly learning how to help without hurting.
Like Sarah, I haven't fully arrived but I'm daily being changed into the image of Christ.

I can only say good things about this book. For years now, the Lord has used the words and journeys of others to guide me through my own. Interestingly, Out of Sorts doesn't really teach me something new but it did bring me back to my life before marriage, before America, before the adult responsibilities. No wonder why I felt spiritually starved last year in the midst of material abundance. My supplementary reading diet, which has always played a key part in my growth, suffered at the cost of living vicariously through others.

I'll carry the reminders of grace from Out of Sorts with renewed love for Jesus, his kingdom, and his children this 2018.

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