- File Size: 4344 KB
- Print Length: 239 pages
- Publisher: Howard Books (October 8, 2019)
- Publication Date: October 8, 2019
- Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
- Language: English
- ASIN: B075RRMSNS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,536 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Miracles and Other Reasonable Things: A Story of Unlearning and Relearning God Kindle Edition
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“Bessey’s moving exploration of how trauma changed and strengthened her relationship with God will appeal to fans of Barbara Brown Taylor.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Blending theology and memoir, Bessey’s latest is a well-written reminder of seeing the miracles in life’s highs and lows.” (Library Journal)
"This book—the fullness, depth, and beauty of Sarah Bessey’s faith and artistic genius—is a miracle. Sarah, a prophet who cries out with fury from the pulpit and who whispers tenderly from the page, is simply my favorite faith writer. With Miracles and Other Reasonable Things, she invites us to lives of wonder by opening our eyes to the ordinary, extraordinary miracles of our days."
(Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior and founder of Together Rising )
“Miracles and Other Reasonable Things will surprise and delight you. Sarah’s writing is so breathtaking, sometimes you think you are reading poetry. The story is so thrilling, sometimes you think you are devouring a novel. And the Spirit she describes is so compelling, you’ll swear you experienced a revival. You won’t put it down once until you close the last page. We are so lucky to be readers in the era of Sarah Bessey.” (Jen Hatmaker, New York Times bestselling author of For the Love and Of Mess of Moxie and host of the For the Love Podcast )
“Sarah Bessey is a writer of remarkable gifts. Beyond her ability to make a breath-taking sentence, and to tell the truth about the dying and rising of faith, she can tell a story as if she is whispering it straight into your heart. She is, by her own definition, a dangerous woman, with wisdom to spare about learning to love the broken miracles God offers us once we’re honest about where it hurts.” (Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Learning to Walk in the Dark )
“In Miracles and Other Reasonable Things, Sarah shows us how pain and loss can teach us to let go of what binds us in our faith stories while clinging to that which helps us survive—and ultimately thrive.” (Mike McHargue, cofounder of The Liturgists and host of Ask Science Mike )
“Wise and funny, Sarah Bessey writes with hard-won hope that the space between healed and sick can be sacred ground. Thank God for Sarah, a faithful companion to those of us on the losing side of life.” (Kate Bowler, New York Times bestselling author of Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved )
“Sarah Bessey, the self-described introvert, has given us all a witty and intimate personal reflection on faith and life that borders on liturgy. She walks the walk of an evolving faith, with power and vulnerability, guiding us through the common experience of listening to God’s nudge (and painful jolt) so we can relearn God again and again, and in so doing witness our own process of unbecoming and rebecoming people of faith. Thank you, Sarah, for putting yourself out there!” (Pete Enns, author of How the Bible Actually Works )
“Sarah Bessey’s Miracles and Other Reasonable Things is immediately one of my favorite books. I can’t think of a single other work that brings together such raw, vulnerable pain with such a real sense of enchantment. Sarah is not too pious to tell us the truth about suffering, but not too cool to tell us the truth about the magic, either. In this trail-blazing, bush-burning book, anything can happen: the Pope shows up, and God does too . . . except of course, when God doesn’t.” (Jonathan Martin, author of How to Survive a Shipwreck and Prototype )
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I knew the book was going to stir something in me the way that Sarah's writing always has. So many things she said and talked about were alive to me as if I were sitting in a therapy session being asked to feel things and think about things that can only change a person. It's a beautiful memoir/theological exploration of how God is continuing to weave Himself into all the parts of her life; the dark, the mundane, and the joy. She has such a way with sharing her heart, and being vulnerable and yet really challenging us to take steps that we may only know a little about, or haven't thought about, or maybe just were completely avoiding altogether.
When I was finished with the book I had to decompress for a couple of days for all the good reasons. I feel like this book is somewhat of a holy dance between loving ourselves, and allowing Jesus to love us and transform us in ways we may not understand and we may not expect.
And the benediction. OH the benediction. I sobbed. Twice. I read it by myself, and then read it out loud to my husband.
Sarah, thank you for sharing your heart and life with us.
This book is about the possibility of believing in miracles, and not having answers for why some miracles don't come full circle. The author starts the book describing a horrible, debilitating car accident in which her life was spared. However, what resulted was chronic pain and the inability to live the active life she had become accustomed. How would she be able to care for her young kids, with this new reality of living?
Bessey is a great storyteller and draws the reader in with her honest, vulnerable heart. Her thoughts are my thoughts. Her doubts our my doubts. Her sarcasm is mine. She writes from a personal point of view, very few "Christian" authors would admit.
Throughout the book, she intertwines her ongoing saga with a trip to Rome to meet the Pope. Yes, that is correct, a charismatic, evangelical was invited to the Vatican. What ensues are a burst of incredible, unbelievable stories that are either coincidences or touched by the hand of God. During her visit, she was overcome with pain and could hardly walk a few steps. She skipped many excursions and retreated to her hotel bed while her husband toured alone.
Along the way, she met two Catholic priests who were also from Canada, making their trek to the Holy landmark. Through several coincidental encounters, these two priests prayed for Sarah, and she was healed. She describes her healing as immediately. There was a coldness that washed over her body, and she was healed from her pain and immobility. She was overjoyed.
That is until she returned home and encountered new ailments related to her car accident. How could God heal her, and provide the most incredible out of body experience while she was visiting the Vatican, only to be capsized with new afflictions?
Her point, I assume, is that being a believing Christian or having faith doesn't resolve all of your problems. Throughout the story of this book, she shares her vulnerability regarding her faith. Bessey's writing is a refreshing approach to the Christian faith. Here is one of her best (there are so many) quotes in the book: "We have to be committed to unlearning the unhelpful, broken, unredemptive, false, or incomplete God if we want to have space to relearn the goodness, the wholeness, the joy of a loving God."
She doesn't give answers, rather more questions that will open your heart to what is possible when you live in faith.
Top international reviews
I’ll start with this. I loved Sarah Bessy’ latest book, Miracles and Other Reasonable Things. Of course, I did. 5 Stars. And a few extra for courage and vulnerability because this one is BRAVE.
I tore through the book in two days, neglecting regular life because that’s what a good book does to me. This explains why I read less when I had littles at my feet. Books kind of sabotaged my parenting, to be honest. At least the good ones did. But those days are past and now my bedside table is again piled with books. There are some good things about the empty nest, after all.
Reading Miracles and Other Reasonable Things brought to mind a quote I read in an article about LM Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
Anne was our wardrobe, our tornado — our portal to the capacity within ourselves to make the mundane world magical. “Dear old world,” Anne murmurs, in what is to me her most important moment, “You are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” (Sarah Mesle, Los Angeles Review of Books)
In Miracles and Other Reasonable Things, Sarah is my portal to the world of Evolving Faith. My Anne. Helping me to navigate the wilderness and see its beauty. Pointing me to hope and faith and the ability to see miracles, even the ones that do not look the way I hoped. Even more than in her previous books, Sarah bravely reveals her own story to readers and, in doing so, builds connection in a deeply personal way. Sarah writes that she loves her readers and it doesn’t come off as just words on a page. It feels true.
I met Sarah at the Evolving Faith 2018 Conference. As I was standing in line, the organizer was begging us not to spend too much time talking to her. Things were running late and apparently Sarah just couldn’t cut people short. I watched her greet everyone – there were 1500 people at the conference – and I knew Sarah was already struggling with the physical challenges described in her book . She was undoubtedly exhausted. It wasn’t evident though, Sarah listened and hugged and responded to everyone. Like the woman in Luke 8 who wanted to touch Jesus’ cloak, I think we all wanted to reach out and touch Sarah’s metaphorical “cloak” and be infused with the hope and love that she carries in her heart and words.
If you believe in miracles and even if you don’t…
If you have questions about faith…
If the church or religion has harmed you…
If you’re a liberal…
If you’re a conservative…
If you long for meaning or purpose…
If you don’t believe in God at all…
If you’re angry at Christians and Church in general…
If your only experience of faith involves judgement
If you have been excluded because of your beliefs, sexual orientation …
If your faith is changing and you feel lost…
Sarah’s words can be for you. I’d encourage you to pick up Miracles and Other Reasonable Things or any of Sarah’s previous books – Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women and Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith.
Perhaps Sarah can be your portal too.
This is a book for the Spiritual Wanderers, the dangerous women who are as Sarah says, zebras in fields of horses, Dangerous Women who cause pearl clutching, men and women who are wondering if they can make eye contact with thier unanswered prayer and still pray anyway. It's literally for anyone.
I have, and will continue to, quote this book, recommend this book, and support this book.