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Paperback The Preaching Life Book

ISBN: 156101074X

ISBN13: 9781561010745

The Preaching Life

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Book Overview

In her bestselling preaching autobiography Barbara Brown Taylor writes of how she came to be a preacher of the gospel as a priest in the Episcopal Church. In this warm and poignant collection, Barbara Brown Taylor's humor and wisdom delve into the meaning of Christian symbols and history--both her own, growing up in the Mid-West and Georgia, and the Church's, from its earliest beginnings in the Near East. Seamlessly, Taylor weaves together reflections...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The first lady Preacher whose imagination seizes mine!

There is never any doubt for ten years since I first heard this lady Teacher-Preacher, this one-of-a-kind, Barbara Brown Taylor has sustained my interest! After hearing her first in Lectionary Homiletics Conference in-between Joanna Adams and Fred Craddock, I recall taking a risk to ask her to autograph one of her books. She proved to be a gracious listener. After exchanging E-mails about our mutual friend John Claypool, she expressed her thanks. Dr Craddock gives her one of his rare accolades that she has the capacity to "sit on her own shoulder and report on what she sees and hears herself doing and saying." Maybe this is why she has gained her ability to become such a creative story-teller! To sustain my interest she uses 7 chapters to teach us about her intimate "Life of Faith" from, "a call, her imagination, belief in scripture and seeing herself in the pulpit." My favorite of the second half of 13 Sermons is "Do Love!" She starts with her disclaimer: "All things considered, I am a pretty good thinker if people will be patient with me..." Every time I have heard her preach or lecture, that is definitely one big unnecessary disclaimer! For this early gem of teaching plus Preaching Life, I only comment, it's the unvarnished sincere Holy Truth! retired Chaplain Fred W Hood

The Preaching life has gifts for clergy and laypeople

Barbara Brown Taylor offers a book here that is a wonderful and moving read. The book takes the form of two parts, each of which offers insight and spiritual direction to aspiring clergy, clergy, and laypeople alike. The first half of the book is a journey through the growth of the author's faith. She speaks of her quest for God that developed from childhood that led to a variety of churches and experiences through adolescence and young adulthood. This journey demonstrates the struggle we all have to come to know God, and the imperfect path which we all travel in order to arrive at a relationship with God. In the process, though, she illustrates tools and elements of the journey which are important to all the faithful. This "everyperson" quality of the book shows the average reader that a preacher is as human as those who sit in the pews on a Sunday morning. For the professional or those interested in preaching, it gives insight to the necessities involved in preparing a sermon on Sunday mornings, and the importance of our own faith stories in preparing us to live as preachers. The second half of the book is a collection of sermons from the author. These also have purpose that can offer spiritual direction to readers no matter if they are in the pews or in the pulpit. For the people in the pews, they are an excellent source of understanding the scriptures that they are written on. The author often acknowledges the difficulty in relating to the words of the Bible in these sermons, but the plain-spoken way in which they are offered give them the ability to bring those words alive for the modern audience. For the ones in the pulpit, it demonstrates a style of preaching that can be most effective in presenting the word of God to a wide variety of people at very different stops on the type of journey she details in the first half of the book. I would encourage anyone who is on their own spiritual journey to read this book, and especially those who are preparing to or filling a pulpit in a church. The vision of faith from both sides of the preaching equation is of great benefit to all.

Master of Gray

There is little that can be said about Barbara Brown Taylor's The Preaching Life that has not already been said in the 10 years since its publication, except, perhaps, to quote Luke 24:11 as the official church response to her work: " . . . these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them." Like Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James the Younger, and Joanna (and many others) Barbara Brown Taylor's Christian witness hits home. She has been to the cross: "As best I can figure, the Christian era ended during my lifetime." (5). She knows death prefigures life: " . . . it is not a bad thing to lose the lies we have mistaken for truth." (8) And like those first witnesses of the Resurrection, she isn't afraid to speak her hope: " . . . fear of the unknown takes on an element of wonder as the disillusioned turn away from the God who was supposed to be in order to seek the God who is." (9). Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "To believe your own thought, to believe what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men (sic) - that is genius." This is also the genius of Tayor's book: an autobiographical tale, even an old-school confession of how one articulate person was called by God even in the midst of a church in ruins and how she followed that call and lived into her calling as the years went by. The Preaching Life she speaks of is full of a cast of characters that, seven years into the ministry, I know too well, including myself: the lay woman who says "I don't want to be that important" (28) when asked that she understand herself to be God's person in and for the world; the mourner who didn't know what to believe anymore (7); stepping into the pulpit like you are walking on a tightrope (76) and having someone "quote" part of your sermon back to you that you never said (85); even the little girl, who, hearing the cup as "the blood of Christ" says "Yuck!" (73). It is her life, but it could be any preacher's life. The work has a nice progression to it, like she is writing as if she is walking beside herself on this path. The steps are in order and they go somewhere. She traces her pilgrimage from her calling to acceptance of her vocation to the imagination necessary to reveal a church renewed, and then how that vision plays itself out from reading the Bible almost like the Germans must have in the 1500's, into Worship, and through Preaching. Having then reached the culmination of her preaching life, she proceeds to give us thirteen examples of her preaching. My favorites were I Am Who I Am ("We tried to nail him down once but he got loose"), The One To Watch, where she points out that the widow gave her mite to a corrupt institution just as Jesus gave his life to a corrupt world, and None of Us Is Home Yet for its painful yearning for God. I got the feeling in reading her sermons that she was open to her life during the course of the week for sermon illustrations (the broken down car on Thursday in Do Lov

Required reading for preachers

I require my homiletics students to read this book. Not only does the author offer approaches, ideas and stories to nudge their imaginations, but she also models a way of reflecting on ministry that has honestry and integrity. One of my students suggested that this book should be required reading for seminarians BEFORE they begin their studies. I think that the book is so on target that it would appeal to preachers at any stage of experience.

Fresh and much needed.

Taylor has a gift for capturing the tiniest detail of life and seeing the infinite God of heaven. Her creativity and freshness was very filling. This book has already helped catalyst the growth of significant fruit in my ministry. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing.
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