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Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  3,506 ratings  ·  413 reviews
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 gra
Paperback, 259 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by Howard Books
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  3,506 ratings  ·  413 reviews

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Leigh Kramer
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
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.

Disclosure: I'm friends with the author.
Erin Beall
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
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:

There just wasn't enough new content.

For a LOT of the thirty-something
Annie Rim
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Beth Pellnat
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
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.
Stefanie Kellum
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity
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 ...more
Nov 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
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 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 ...more
Marty Solomon
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully typical piece of writing from Sarah Bessey.

Sarah writes this book about many times in her life when we has felt a little not herself and "out of sorts." It's a book about doubts and fear, about deconstruction and learning to be ok with learning. It's about letting go of things that need to be rejected and also about returning and reclaiming things that you thought you would reject.

I say "wonderfully typical" because everything that Bessey says is heartfelt, well-written, authentic,
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 ...more
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
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 ...more
Meredith McCaskey
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
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,
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
I didn't like it as much as I had hoped. The first few chapters seemed like it was going to head in a raw and open direction when it comes to deep questions/doubts/challenges of faith and then it became the quintessential evangelical book that I think the author would have cringed at if she'd been reading it during her "time in the wilderness " as she calls it. I'm sure its very helpful for those struggling with Pentecostal/ Charismatic doctrine- as this seems to be the core of her time in the w ...more
Caity Gill
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Andi M.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I think my biggest struggle with this book was my continual search for an overarching thesis. I love Bessey’s worldview, it is very similar to my own, and there were some great takeaways, but while there were strong chapter messages, there wasn’t a strong book message.
That being said, I think Bessey allows readers in to see different aspects of her faith & how her relationship to God/church/spirituality has changed, and that could be very inspirational for readers who haven’t allowed themselves
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I appreciate the candid nature of this book and it’s open heartedness toward so many variations of Christianity. I need to read more from the charismatic stream of the Christian family. It’s not my language, but I can too easily forget what a significant element of the Body of Christ it is. Bessey is the bomb, and I so much appreciate her though our lives are quite different as are many of our spiritual expressions. Yet we came of age around the same time and value so many of the same things so ...more
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, faith, favorites
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
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
It’s hard to stop at 3 stars for this book because I really like the author. This book wasn’t what I thought it would be according to the title. Yes, Bessey comes to terms with her relationship with the church, specifically, but as I read through, I kept coming up with alternative titles for the book, like, “Why I love Jesus and the church” (I know, I should write book titles). I was expecting to hear about profound doubts she’s wrestled through (and specific examples of those doubts and questio ...more
Carmen Liffengren
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Suzanne Seidel
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kelly Phipps
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bessey does a great job of making herself a partner and journeying comrade with you as you read this book. Martin Marty always said that for the "faith of our fathers [and mothers] to become our faith, it has to be taken off and then put back on like an old sweater." Sarah Bessey does an admirable job of inviting one to make that effort.

At some point in our life, if we are growing and evolving as Christians in the real world, we must do just that.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Meh. My ability to resonate with the author stems from our differing worldviews and biblical opinions. But for a Christian who is more her "stripe", it would be an enjoyable read. She's not too offensive, sassy, sarcastic or offensive to organized religion. She's funny and well cited. ...more
Rebecca Jackson
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Sarah Bessey writes with such compassion, humility and love (and eloquence!). It’s a balm for the soul. It reads like a good conversation with a fellow Jesus follower full of “me too” moments and “yes, this!”. I felt welcomed into this book and found myself rereading passages because it was either exactly how I felt or exactly what I needed to read. Will return to this book often and have already pressed it into the hands of a few others.
Christy Krumm
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Tristan Sherwin
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Vicki Judd
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
John Powell
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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'
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Sarah Bessey is the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed books Jesus Feminist (2013); Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith (2015); and Miracles and Other Reasonable Things (2019).

Her new collaborative book, A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal is a New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and Globe and Mail Bestseller.

Along with her friends, the late

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