Preaching Life / Edition 1

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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 on her vocation with the long-standing struggles of the Church to hear, respond, and remain faithful to its mission of holy love. She moves effortlessly from reflection to homily, concluding the volume with thirteen sermons illustrative of the answered call. This rich meeting of memoir, theology, and sermon stands at the center of Taylor’s work, bringing into one book the origins and the vision of her remarkable preaching life. But her voice is not sentimental. Instead, Taylor explores Christian meanings and histories in order to hear and speak, in the present, for God. “God has given us good news in human form and has given us the grace to proclaim it,” she writes, “but part of our terrible freedom is the freedom to lose our voices, to forget where we were going and why. While that knowledge does not yet strike me as prophetic, it does keep me from taking both my ministry and the ministry of the whole church for granted.” This book on the calling to preach is itself a call to reawaken to the activating presence of God. “Because I am a preacher, it is through a preacher’s eyes that I see. . . , but because I am a baptized Christian too, it is from that perspective I write. Either way, my job remains the same: to proclaim the good news of God in Christ and to celebrate the sacraments of God’s presence in the world. Those two jobs are described as clearly in the baptismal vows as they are in the ordination vows, which give all Christians a common vocation.” —from Chapter One
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Editorial Reviews

William H. Willimon William H. Willimon
Barbara Brown Taylor tells an engaging story of the birth of her own voice as a preacher, the struggles to bring the gospel to speech, and the joys of being an instrument of God’s will.
Princeton Theological Seminary - Thomas G. Long
It is easy for those of us who preach to slip into thinking of preaching as a task, a chore, even a weekly homework assignment. . . . Taylor, as a parish priest, is fully aware of the incessant demands of the pulpit. But to her mind, preaching is not just a duty; it is also a ceaseless delight. . . . Her use of language is enchanting; her prose is luxuriant. Images spin across the pages like ballerinas. . . . Taylor has the rare combination of a sturdy theological mind and a receptive, almost wide-eyed, openness to experience. . . .

In sum, this is a book about the life of a preacher, but more than that it is about being fully alive in the Christian faith. Barbara Brown Taylor is, to use her own words, ‘a detective of divinity, collecting evidence of God’s genius and admiring the tracks left for me to follow. . . .’ I am grateful that she is on the case.

Seabury-Western Theological Seminary - O.C. Edwards Jr
The decision of the Episcopal Church in 1976 to ordain women to the priesthood and episcopate has brought us many blessings, not the least of which is the improvement in preaching. Probably no other woman has contributed as much to that improvement as Barbara Brown Taylor. Nor is it likely that another has received so much recognition for her contribution. . . . I am convinced that whoever reads the book will marvel at it, take pleasure in it, and be lured beyond their present stage of progress by it. . . .

In his essay on Anglican spirituality in The Study of Anglicanism, A. M. Allchin pointed out the close connection between our spiritual writings and the creation of great literature. This he attributes to a sense of the presence of God in all things and all people. Taylor’s work has that quality. While all of us cannot expect to preach as well as she, reading her work can alert us to looking for what she sees and can also show us how she enables us to see it too and to show it to others. At the very least, we can quote some of her phrases and help them to continue doing their marvelous work.

Robert J. Gaestel
Barbara Brown Taylor has been called ‘One of the twelve most effective preachers in the English language.’ When you read her anthologies of sermons you can see why. She has a fabulous command of English and is a marvelous storyteller. These, combined with her deep and essential faith, make her sermons powerful and engaging. . . . This summer when I was chaplain at our Diocesan Family Camp, I read these sermons to adults as a morning meditation around the campfire. Everyone was engaged and found them immediately relevant to their lives.
William H. Willmon
Barbara Brown Taylor tells an engaging story of the birth of her own voice as a preacher, the struggles to bring the gospel to speech, and the joys of being an instrument of God’s will.
Library Journal
Taylor, an Episcopal priest and acclaimed preacher, begins with a series of personal reflections on her life, her perception of the church, and issues of vocation, imagination, Bible, worship, and preaching. Her reflections on post-Christian environments from a visit to Turkey and her own life in America, on baptism and ordination, and on studying the Bible critically lead the reader to a deeper understanding of the meaning behind the familiar words of faith. The second half of the book consists of 13 of Taylor's sermons, which continue her emphasis on story. Throughout, there is a good balance between biographical material and algeneral reflection; the sermons support the discussion. Taylor's work is recommended for seminary, church, and large public libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561010745
  • Publisher: Cowley Publications
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 174
  • Sales rank: 246,914
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Brown Taylor is an Epsicopal priest. She holds the Harry R. Butman Chair in Religion and Philosophy at Piedmont College in northeastern Georgia and serves as adjunct professor of Christian spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur. Recognized as one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English language by Baylor University in 1995, Taylor has published numerous collections of her sermons and theological reflections, including The Luminous Web, Speaking of Sin, and Gospel Medicine.
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