Saturday, February 09, 2008

book thoughts

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

BBT is one of the most gifted preachers of the 21st century--I heard her preach in Washington, DC once and her words both convicted and raised me up. She writes about her journey as a woman and as a priest towards/with Jesus without hiding the blemishes and without glorifying her own triumphs. It's humanity longing for God at its best. Ultimately (and given the title, I don't think this is a spoiler), she leaves the church she had been pastoring, her patience with human structures fractured but her love of God undimmed. She writes, "After twenty years of serving Mother Church at the altar, I have pitched my tent in the yard, using much of what she taught me to make a way in the world" (222).

We can't give up on the things we struggle with. Sometimes we're on the margins, feeling rejected and unwanted. Sometimes we're in the center, wondering what all the fuss is about. We can never be content with where we are but listen to where God is moving. "Much that is certain at the center," says Taylor, "is up for grabs in the wilderness, while much that is real in the wilderness turns out to be far too feral for the center" (172). It's about balance, about knowing what's enough right now, about feeling the moment when change is necessary.

Taylor asks in her final chapter, "What is saving your life now?" (225) What gives you strength and hope? Who is the presence of God in your life?

2 comments:

Writer said...

WOW! I haven't talked to you in months but I felt like with the middle paragraph, you and possibly BBT were talking right to me.

aliceatredeemer said...

Isn't she fantastic? The whole book's like that--I've got piles of underlining and annotations (I know, librarian, a huge no-no--it's how I read...). Love her.

And love you--how are things? Do you have email? Phone? Facebook?