Well, my friends, here she is!
Meet Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith. If all goes as planned, it will release on August 11 of this year.
This book has been a wrestle to write in many ways. I remember when I was writing Jesus Feminist three years ago, people would ask me “How are you doing that with a four year old, a two year old, and a baby!?” and now I know the answer: naps and early bedtimes and quiet days. I have found it much more of a wrestle to find the time and energy to write this book with an 8 year old, a 6 year old, a nearly four year old and being pregnant with our fourth, I’ll tell you.
The other reason why it’s been a bit of a battle is perhaps because of the subject matter itself. As I’ve traveled and met so many of you over the past two years, after we’ve talked about Jesus Feminist or whatever, I kept hearing one question, over and over from people in every context, every denomination, every city.
People want to talk about how I’ve managed to hold onto my faith or what gives me hope as part of the global church. People want to talk about how my faith changed and yet strengthened somehow. Particularly, people have wanted to know why I still go to church.
Phyllis Tickle often talks about how the Church is in the midst of the “Great Emergence” or a major change right now – or as she calls it “a big rummage sale.” We’re figuring out what to keep, what to toss, and what to reclaim as a global Church. But as I thought more and more about that metaphor over the years since first encountering it, I began to realize that that was exactly what I had done and, to be honest, I am still doing right now.
I’m still sorting through my faith. I’m always doing that. I imagine I will always be doing that.
Jesus doesn’t change. There isn’t some new-and-exciting Jesus to discover here. He’s the same: yesterday, today, and forever. Rather, it’s we who change or grow or learn. If you feel a bit out of sorts, you’re not alone.
I believe we are all sorting things out on some level: we’re weighing our heritage, our inheritance, our stories and figuring out what needs to stay, what needs to go, and what needs to be either repurposed or reimagined. If the Church as a whole is going through that, then aren’t we all?
I believe if our faith doesn’t change and evolve as we go through our lives, then we simply aren’t paying attention.
So I began to write this book out of that deeply personal journey.
In our family, we use the phrase “out of sorts” to describe our heart or mind or self when we are in the midst of shifting or changing or even just growing or feeling disoriented. For this book, I am using the phrase to describe our sense of self at a time when you feel like everything that you once knew “for sure” is being figured out all over again. Caught in between what-was and what-will-be. Walking away from something perhaps but not quite at the final destination yet either.
This book isn’t an argument to make or a point to take, this isn’t a single story with a plot and a climax and a denouement, and there isn’t a single three-step program to follow with nicely spaced headers and boxes to check off.
I sincerely doubt that anyone could turn this book into a calendar for the gift shop.
Out of Sorts is about loss and how we cope with change. It’s about Jesus and why I love him and follow him.
It’s about church and church people – why they both make me crazy and yet I can’t seem to quit either.
It’s about the stuff I used to think about God but I don’t think anymore and the new things I think and believe that I’ve discovered are actually rather old things.
It’s about the evolution of a soul and the ways I’ve failed.
It’s about letting go of the fear and walking out into the unknown.
It’s about the beautiful things I’ve reclaimed and the stuff I kicked to the curb.
It’s about making peace with my unanswered questions and being content to live into the answers as they come.
It’s about knowing that this is where I’ve landed for now but holding my hands open for where the Spirit may lead me next, it’s about not apologizing for transformation and change and critical thinking.
(Some parts of the book are making me nervous, I’ll admit.)
But really, it’s a book about not being afraid. This book is my way of leaving the light on for the ones who are wandering.
This book is about my own sort, my own rummage sale, the grief that came with the sorting and the healing that was ushered in.
What I had to weigh and discard and evaluate will be different than what you will have in your own house, we all have our own legacies and baggage, family heirlooms and hoarders. It is not about convincing you to end up in the same place as me – how could that even happen when we start from different places?
The book will be released on August 11 - which feels very soon to me since I have our new baby due in just a couple of weeks. I’m sure there will be more to share as the weeks go by and we draw closer to the release. I sent in the manuscript last month to my editor so I could just focus on having another baby in the next few weeks or so. (Don’t you love the “just” in that sentence? Just have a baby. NBD.)
In the meantime, thank you so much for your prayers and support as I’ve written. It means more to me than you could know.
Since this book arose from so many of our conversations over the past couple of years, I can’t wait to offer it to you.
And Out of Sorts is already available for preorder!
You can also ask your local bookstore to place their order now, too. (Readers outside of North America, I don’t know about distribution or publishers for you yet but as soon as I find out, I’ll pass it along.)
Here’s the official blurb from the back of the book:
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 grapple with core Christian issues using a mixture of beautiful storytelling and biblical teaching, a style well described as “narrative theology.”
As she candidly shares her wrestlings with core issues—such as who Jesus is, what place the Church has in our lives, how to disagree yet remain within a community, and how to love the Bible for what it is rather than what we want it to be—she teaches us how to walk courageously through our own tough questions.
In the process of gently helping us sort things out, Bessey teaches us how to be as comfortable with uncertainty as we are with solid answers. And as we learn to hold questions in one hand and answers in the other, we discover new depths of faith that will remain secure even through the storms of life.