“This book is my way of leaving the light on for the ones who are wandering.”
– Sarah Bessey, Out of Sorts
For: people who struggle with Church—the differences, politics and baggage (check out the goodreads summary).
This book truly lives up its subtitle “Making Peace with an Evolving Faith”. Sarah Bessey discusses her problems with institutional Christianity which led to her 6 year distance from the church, and how she found her way back in the pews. She provides insight on a lot of topics: her upbringing in small-town Canada, her child-like love for Jesus, her grief in dealing with the loss of four of her “tinies”, her relationships with people in the church (plus the ones she found outside church), and even the controversial topics of speaking in tongues, celebrity pastors, and feminism in the Bible.
Sarah brought life to some questions that I didn’t even know I had, and I found myself agreeing with her on a lot of things. While the book doesn’t provide concrete steps to find peace in Christianity, just reading Sarah’s struggles gives readers the reassurance that they aren’t alone in their questioning faith. She squashed the belief that true believers shouldn’t question the Word, and opined that questioning is part of the journey towards a better faith. Aside from personal musings, Sarah inserts quotes and theories from other theologists to provide a more nuanced exploration of the different stages of faith.
Even though I’ve never come across her work before, I felt connected to Sarah Bessey upon reading this book, and I immediately placed an order for her other book Jesus Feminist. Sarah’s words flow like poetry. It seemed like she was having a conversation with me throughout the whole book. The prayer in the “Benediction” ‘spoke’ to me, and left me hopeful that I too would find peace in my faith.
I ‘read’ the audiobook version of this novel, mainly because it was the only version available in my library, but I’m glad I did it. Joell A. Jacob did a really good job narrating the book. I usually don’t like listening to audiobooks that aren’t read by the author because I always sense some detachment from the words. I was already halfway through the audiobook when I discovered that I wasn’t listening to the author’s voice, and by then I was already hooked! The book deals with some really personal topics, and I’m glad that the narrator was able to convey the emotions accordingly.
I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked this book. The only reason it’s not a 5 is because of the afore-mentioned absence of concrete steps to making peace in an evolving faith, which I totally understand because you can’t really regiment people’s walk with Christ. All in all, I really enjoyed the glimpse into Sarah Bessey’s walk with Christ, and I can’t wait to read Jesus Feminist.