Out Of Sorts, Sorta. A blog in many parts.

I am reading Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey as part of the internship. We were assigned 8 mandatory books, and 4 extracurricular books. I chose to read all women for my extras, because they are so often left out of the wider church discussion, unless they fall under the blogger, mommy, childrens church pastor role. Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist (which I have yet to read) is a blogger, and is a mommy to four “tinies” as she calles them, but she is more than that. She describes herself as “a sometimes preacher, an award-winning blogger, and a recovering know-it-all.” She’s guttsy and raw, but so kind and welcoming. She also is Canadian, has a nose-ring, and loves tea. Grab a coffee or tea, find a cozy nook, and join me as I devour this book. 

My copy, already tattern and worn after being thrown into my bag and accompanying me into the bathtub one evening.  


Out of Sorts has a discussion guide and questions in the back of the book, as a way to blog my way though this book I will be writing my answers here on this blog post, it’s my hope that if you read this book someday (please please do, I will lend you my copy if you don’t mind a book that has been through the ringer) you can check back here and resonate with some of my own sorting.

Chapter one 

Can you think of a time, in any area of your life, when you could relate to Sarah’s definition of “out of sorts”– what was getting you “out of sorts,” what did it feel like?

YES. Goodness, yes. After living in 5 places in about 5 years my life constantly feels out of sorts. I experienced my re-emergence from the wilderness, or my “second naiveté” (which is what Sarah explains as the pressing on though your wilderness to deliverance, toward that place on the other side of rationality, when we reengage with our faith with new eyes”) when I was about 20. After questioning, fighting, and wrestling with God for a few years I convicted and called in a way that I had never experienced before. God was real to me, the Holy Spirit was an active and powerful force in my life. Spoiler alert, I am still sorting things out. I love Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Steven Berlin Johnson, I studied history and am a firm believer in evolution. My faith is constantly in battle with my intellect, but I have decided to lean into that confusion and paradox, instead of shying away from it.

What fears ride to the surface when you think about that time — or the feeling of being out of sorts?
I think what I feared the most in my wilderness phase, my Jonah phase as I like to call it, was fear of being wrong. Had I made the right choice? Was there really no God? Was I free to do whatever I wanted on earth that brought me pleasure? Is that was life was really all about? This belief didn’t sit right with me, and even when I had stepped away from my life of faith I chose a boring life of books and coffee, a life in juxtaposition to the path many of my classmates took. I lived a life of bondage to rules and morals that I thought would save me. I feared that if I wasn’t a good enough person then my life was useless. 

In what ways, if any, can you relate to the period of doubting — the wilderness that Sarah describes? What triggered your doubts?

I think I pretty well answered this question above, but I will add what triggered my doubts. Hypocrisy in my hometown was a major trigger, I saw the lives of adults in my church and my community who claimed to be great and faithful people live secret shameful lives. I saw families fall apart because of things like affairs, or a couple continually tearing each other down, instead of building each other up in the love of Christ. Obviously no one is perfect, and I now understand a little better how Satan can creep into the cracks of our lives like tree roots or grass in the concrete and slowly slowly turn our foundations into rubble. Another was my interest in authors and speakers such as Richard Dawkins and Jack Kerouac, pushing me to further explore my upbringing and the capacity of my mind. A hnadful of my friends experienced the same thing, most if not all of us experiencing hypocrisy in our homes, communities, and families as well. 

In what ways have you sorted though grief in the physical world in your own life? Have you confronted the mess of loss and found healing? How did that healing — weather full or partial — come?

This question was much more difficult to answer. I think at this point I am going to leave this relatively unanswered, I have experienced some loss, but not to the extend Sarah writes about. I know that I am still haunted by some deaths that have happened in my life, and am still healing from them. I think one reason I was so quick to dismiss Christ so easily after high school was because of an emotional loss my community and family had recently experienced only a few weeks before I moved away to college in New Mexico. I was so annoyed, for a lack of a better word, that God would hurt a family by taking away a loved one. I am still trying to understand how God is working in that family.

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