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Leaving Church


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About the Author

Barbara Brown Taylor is the author of thirteen books, including the New York Times bestseller An Altar in the World and Leaving Church, which received an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. Taylor is the Butman Professor of Religion at Piedmont College, where she has taught since 1998. She lives on a working farm in rural northeast Georgia with her husband, Ed.


A frequent guest preacher and teacher at churches and universities across the country, Taylor (Christian spirituality, Columbia Theological Seminary) shares her life journey with particular emphasis on her full-time ministry as an Episcopal priest. She minces no words and gives witness to the idea that "we do not decide things as much as gravitate toward them." A keen storyteller, she shares her doubts about her vocation as well as admits that she finds it hard at times to worship God in a church community. Her quoting Philo of Alexandria-"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle"-epitomizes not only her own openness to tomorrow but also her acceptance of today. Those familiar with Marjorie J. Thompson's Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life or Gerald W. Hughes's God in All Things (his sequel to God of Surprises) can expect to find comparable dramatic imagination and creative images here. This easy-to-read memoir is likely to speak to adults dealing with doubt, tension, or grief. Public libraries, large and small, can include for inspirational reading.-Leroy Hommerding, Fort Myers Beach P.L. Dist., FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Leaving Church is a canticle of praise to creator and creation."--Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking and Booking Passage
"A beautifully crafted memoir . . . . There is a refreshing honesty . . . a slice of courage in a world that too often refuses to admit its vulnerability. . . . Leaving Church does not bash the church. It is a love story about letting go and learning to live with the mystery of what may happen next."--San Diego Tribune
"A fiercely honest and gracious book about our primary vocation to be human."--Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, and author of Reimagining Christianity
"A finely crafted memoir . . . a rich evocation of her lifelong love affair with God."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"I cannot overstate how liberating and transforming I have found Leaving Church to be."--Frederick Buechner, author of Beyond Words
"Taylor describes doubt, faith and vocation, their limits, and how the church both blesses and muddies the waters."--Nora Gallagher, author of Practicing Resurrection

A widely acclaimed preacher, Taylor draws on her homiletical skills in this finely crafted memoir with a simple plot: an Episcopal priest exhausts her inner resources, first in an urban church and then in a small country parish; she changes jobs, struggles and finds renewal. Such a synopsis, however, does not do justice to Taylor's literary style in this rich evocation of her lifelong love affair with God. "When I think of my first cathedral," she writes, "I am back in a field behind my parents' house in Kansas, with every stalk of prairie grass lit up from within." Drawn to the church, she compulsively overworks: "I had such a strong instinct for rescue that my breasts fairly leaked when I came across those in need of rescuing." Though she has found new employment, she realizes she is still a priest: "I miss being a lightning rod, conducting all that heat and light not only from heaven to earth but also from person to person." Current and former clergy will relate to her comical and sometimes touching descriptions of parish life, while memoir buffs will savor her journey as she identifies her core beliefs, sets boundaries and learns to relish her "blessed swath" of the world. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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