34. All My Knotted Up Life

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All My Knotted Up Life. Beth Moore. 2023. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: We were river people.
All My Knotted Up Life is a memoir by Beth Moore. I thought I’d start with where I’m coming from as a reader and what bias I might be bringing to my reading. Chances are when you hear the name Beth Moore you have a strong reaction one way or the other. I’ve read so little that I don’t have a strong, solid reason for my meh-ness to her work. I’ve definitely been exposed–a bit out of context at times–to paragraphs of her works [either from her books, her studies, her video teachings, her tweets] with commentary critiquing her theology. I didn’t pick up this book as a hater or a lover. 
The first third of the memoir covers her childhood and teen years. The middle third covers her marriage, becoming a mother, and very early years in the ministry. [DID YOU KNOW SHE TAUGHT CHRISTIAN AEROBICS???? DID YOU EVEN KNOW CHRISTIAN AEROBICS WAS AN ACTUAL ACTUAL THING THAT CHURCHES OFFERED????] The last third covers her rise to fame, if you will, her partnering up with publishers, her Living Proof conferences, her living in the public eye, her disagreements with the Southern Baptist Convention, her eventual parting of ways with the SBC. 
I thought it was a rough start. The first few chapters were especially rough. I’ve thought about why that might be. It couldn’t be easy to start a memoir. To throw readers into your life story. Where do you start? Do you start with your strongest memory? the one you feel will be most compelling? the one that perhaps has shaped you? Do you start like a more traditional biography? When you’re covering your earliest family memories…how do you orient strangers [us readers] with YOUR family? Every family is unique and has its own inside language, its own way of being. Memories have a way of being disjointed, random.
The writing was odd to me. Strange metaphors and use of imagery. It didn’t stay that way. It just started that way. The more I read, the easier it became to read.
I am glad I read it. As a memoir, it focused more [and rightly so] on personal stories, memories, impressions. It didn’t do deep dives into theology. It stayed in ‘shallow waters’ in terms of politics, theology, culture. I think that’s mainly a good thing. Obviously, the last third goes into the very ‘muddy waters’ of her falling out with the SBC. And readers–lovers or haters–will already have thoughts and opinions on that.  

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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