Refreshing and Honest.
My husband and I take a lot of road trips and we enjoy listening to books we can discuss while we’re driving. We first heard about Sarah Bessey’s book when it was mentioned on a podcast we listen to so we downloaded it for our next trip.
Our listening involved a lot of pushing pause and discussing what Bessey talks about. Much of it struck a deep cord within both of us. Over the past year and a half we have wrestled with disappointment in people who claim to be followers of Jesus yet have caused much harm, hurt and division within the church body.
We’ve struggled with how God’s word has been interpreted, used, and wielded, with how his word is used to oppress, condemn, and exclude those who seek him, with how so many denominations or affiliations of the Christian church claim to have the final “truth” of what God wants and condemn everyone else to hell. We struggle with how, because of all these things, we fail to impact the world around us with God’s grace and love.
And, as Bessey puts it, we have felt out of sorts. Not so much with our relationship with our Heavenly Father, with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit – for in the midst of our wrestling these have strengthened and deepened, but instead, with the American church. We’ve wrestled with who and what the evangelical church has aligned itself with. We’ve wrestled with the rotten fruit born by those claiming to be Christians, all the while clinging to their doctrines, dogmas and divides. For much of our wrestling we have kept our discussions to ourselves because we have been concerned others would think we are on the “slippery slope” of heresy.
In Out of Sorts we’ve found context for that wrestling. And, as Bessey puts it, isn’t God on the slippery slope also? Like her, we “still hold (our) understandings loosely. Faith isn’t certainty, (we) know that by now. If (we) were certain, (we) wouldn’t need faith.” And in the end, like Bessey, we continue to follow Jesus, we continue our journey of faith and we continue with our community of believers, because Jesus loves his church in all her mess and calls us to do the same.