I love this book. The wisdom and insight Bessey has is phenomenal. I'd read the book just for her benediction, the prayer she has for us at the end. This book is an exceptional spiritual memoir of “growing up” in faith.
I can identify with her situation: “Like so many aspects of my spirituality, I am still a bit in-between, figuring out what I reclaim and what I relinquish, living with a few unanswered questions while relying heavily on the few things I do know...”
She grew up in the Charismatic movement. She saw the real and the foolishness and has an excellent take on the movement. She left organized church for a while. She attended a liturgical church and found meaning in their prayer structure. “When I couldn't find my way through the clutter of praise and worship, I found Jesus in the silence and liturgy.” I love how she writes about the different spiritual streams and how there is one for each of us.
I love how she grapples with her core beliefs and how she takes us through the time when everything she knew for sure had to be figured out all over again. She helps us know what we need to walk away from and what we need to reclaim. She helps us find out that Jesus is the center of everything.
I love how she came to a new understanding of the Bible, seeing everything through the lens of Jesus. She came to a higher view of Scripture than she'd ever had before. I love how she came to a new understanding of the church, where she had found some of her greatest hurts and her greatest healings. I love how she takes us through her stages of faith development and how she can now hold questions and imperfect answers at the same time. I love how she describes herself as a recovering know it all, learning to live comfortably with uncertainty.
I recommend this book to Christians who are out of sorts, that is, know that your beliefs and practices need some sorting. You'll be challenged to let go of the things that do not matter and cling to the only Person who does. You'll find a new appreciation for the church and for living life that is sacred 24/7.
But this book is not for everyone. Growing up is terrifying, Bessey says. Rethinking your faith is not for the weak of heart. You have to be willing to face an uncertain future, knowing who holds it secure. Rest assured, at the end of the book, you'll have settled your life around Jesus.
There is an excellent set of Discussion Questions included for personal or group use.
My rating: 5+/5 stars.
You can read the first four chapters here.
Sarah Bessey is an award winning blogger, author of Jesus Feminist, and is a passionate advocate for global women's issues. She partners with the Help One Now ministry in Haiti and lives in Abbortsford, BC, with her husband and their children. You can find out more about her and follow her blog at http://sarahbessey.com/.
Howard Books, 272 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.