Barbara Brown Taylor Quotes

Barbara Brown Taylor

Born: 21 September 1951, Atlanta, Georgia

Earned a B.A. in religion at Emory University in 1973 and, with no interest in ordained ministry, earned a Master of Divinity from Yale University in 1976. Drawn to pastoral ministry after seminary, she was ordained a deacon at Atlanta in 1983 and a priest the following year, serving as an assistant to the rector at All Saint’s Church, Atlanta. In 1992 she sought and received a call from Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church at Clarkesville, Georgia, a small parish in a small town. Her diligence and effective preaching caused the parish to grow, going from one service in the sanctuary that seated 80 to four services with a clear need for a new building. In 1996 she was named one of the dozen “most effective” preachers in the English language by Baylor University, causing more difficulty as buses of visitors would arrive to hear her sermons, leaving no room for the members. Under the stress of the growth on the parish and the demands on her time she accepted a position as a professor at Piedmont College at Demorest, Georgia and left the ministry, a transition covered in her book “Leaving Church”, published in 2007. Since 2001 she has also served as adjunct professor of Christian Spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decator, Georgia. She has published a dozen book on preaching and spirituality and is in demand as a speaker.

Barbara Brown Taylor quotes:

As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

Every human interaction offers you the chance to make things better or to make things worse.
    Barbara Brown Taylor – An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (2010)

Having been brought up with a definition of faith as adherence to a set of beliefs, I have more and more begun to turn instead toward a definition of faith as openness to truth, whatever truth may turn out to be.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

I have learned to prize holy ignorance more highly than religious certainty and to seek companions who have arrived at the same place.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

I know that the Bible is a special kind of book, but I find it as seductive as any other. If I am not careful, I can begin to mistake the words on the page for the realities they describe. I can begin to love the dried ink marks on the page more than I love the encounters that gave rise to them.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

It can be difficult to be an introvert in church, especially if you happen to be the pastor. Liking to be alone can be interpreted as a judgment on other people’s company. Liking to be quiet can be construed as aloofness. There is so much emphasis on community in most congregations that anyone who does not participate risks being labeled a loner.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

Salvation happens every time someone with a key uses it to open a door he could lock instead.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

The effort to untangle the human words from the divine seems not only futile to me but also unnecessary, since God works with what is. God uses whatever is usable in a life, both to speak and to act, and those who insist on fireworks in the sky may miss the electricity that sparks the human heart.
    Barbara Brown Taylor – Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith (2006)

The poets began drifting away from churches as the jurists grew louder and more insistent.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do.
    Barbara Brown Taylor – An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (2010)

There comes a time when it is vitally important for your spiritual health to drop your clothes, look in the mirror, and say, ‘Here I am. This is the body-like-no-other that my life has shaped. I live here. This is my soul’s address.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger — these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life.
    Barbara Brown Taylor – An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (2010)

We’re children of God through our blood kinship with Christ. We’re also sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, with a hereditary craving for forbidden fruit salad.
    Barbara Brown Taylor

Whoever you are, you are human. Wherever you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it.
    Barbara Brown Taylor – An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (2010)

Wisdom is not gained by knowing what is right. Wisdom is gained by practicing what is right, and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds and when it fails.
    Barbara Brown Taylor – An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (2010)

With so much effort being poured into church growth, so much press being given to the benefits of faith, and so much flexing of religious muscle in the public square, the poor in spirit have no one but Jesus to call them blessed anymore.

Barbara Brown Taylor

Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith (2006)

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