Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

Leaving Church A Memoir of Faith By now I expected to be a seasoned parish minister wearing black clergy shirts grown gray from frequent washing I expected to love the children who hung on my legs after Sunday morning services until

  • Title: Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith
  • Author: Barbara Brown Taylor
  • ISBN: 9780060872632
  • Page: 385
  • Format: Paperback
  • By now I expected to be a seasoned parish minister, wearing black clergy shirts grown gray from frequent washing I expected to love the children who hung on my legs after Sunday morning services until they grew up and had children of their own I even expected to be buried wearing the same red vestments in which I was ordained.Today those vestments are hanging in the sacrBy now I expected to be a seasoned parish minister, wearing black clergy shirts grown gray from frequent washing I expected to love the children who hung on my legs after Sunday morning services until they grew up and had children of their own I even expected to be buried wearing the same red vestments in which I was ordained.Today those vestments are hanging in the sacristy of an Anglican church in Kenya, my church pension is frozen, and I am as likely to spend Sunday mornings with friendly Quakers, Presbyterians, or Congregationalists as I am with the Episcopalians who remain my closest kin Some times I even keep the Sabbath with a cup of steaming Assam tea on my front porch, watching towhees vie for the highest perch in the poplar tree while God watches me These days I earn my living teaching school, not leading worship, and while I still dream of opening a small restaurant in Clarkesville or volunteering at an eye clinic in Nepal, there is no guarantee that I will not run off with the circus before I am through This is not the life I planned, or the life I recommend to others But it is the life that has turned out to be mine, and the central revelation in it for me that the call to serve God is first and last the call to be fully human seems important enough to witness to on paper This book is my attempt to do that.After nine years serving on the staff of a big urban church in Atlanta, Barbara Brown Taylor arrives in rural Clarkesville, Georgia population 1,500 , following her dream to become the pastor of her own small congregation The adjustment from city life to country dweller is something of a shock Taylor is one of the only professional women in the community but small town life offers many of its own unique joys Taylor has five successful years that see significant growth in the church she serves, but ultimately she finds herself experiencing compassion fatigue and wonders what exactly God has called her to do She realizes that in order to keep her faith she may have to leave.Taylor describes a rich spiritual journey in which God has given her questions than answers As she becomes part of the flock instead of the shepherd, she describes her poignant and sincere struggle to regain her footing in the world without her defining collar Taylor s realization that this may in fact be God s surprising path for her leads her to a refreshing search to find Him in new places Leaving Church will remind even the most skeptical among us that life is about both disappointment and hope and ultimately, renewal.

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      Published :2019-09-08T23:33:19+00:00

    About "Barbara Brown Taylor"

    1. Barbara Brown Taylor

      Barbara Brown Taylor is a New York Times best selling author, teacher, and Episcopal priest Her first memoir, Leaving Church 2006 , won an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association Her last book, Learning to Walk in the Dark 2014 , was featured on the cover of TIME magazine She has served on the faculties of Piedmont College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University, and the Certificate in Theological Studies program at Arrendale State Prison for Women in Alto, Georgia In 2014 TIME included her on its annual list of Most Influential People in 2015 she was named Georgia Woman of the Year in 2016 she received The President s Medal at the Chautauqua Institution in New York She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Mercer University and is working on her fourteenth book, Holy Envy, forthcoming from HarperOne in August 2018.

    185 thoughts on “Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith”

    1. A moving memoir, showing how faith can grow beyond easy categories. It is also an interesting account of what it means to be a pastor.

    2. It wasn't the book I wanted it to be, but I loved it even more for telling its own story, instead of the one I had in my head as I began.A beautiful and generous book. I wanted a slightly less guarded tone, but when it felt guarded, it was her old congregation's privacy she was mostly guarding. We couldn't have started our faith journeys more differently, but we ended up on very similiar land.The last 50 pages of my copy is full of dog-ears. Here's one of my favorite passages:"What if people wer [...]

    3. At first, this memoir seemed almost too painful to read. I have witnessed firsthand the way in which clergy and church leaders can be stretched to the breaking point trying to be all things to all people in the fractious household of God.It's not an easy task, and in some cases, it's not a task that can be accomplished at all, which is the subject of Barbara Brown Taylor's book. After years of serving as an assistant rector in a large church in Atlanta. Rev. Taylor willingly and eagerly became p [...]

    4. "As many years as I wanted to wear a clerical collar and as hard as I worked to get one, taking it off turned out to be as necessary for my salvation as putting it on. Being set apart was the only way I could learn how much I longed to be with everyone else."This book hit WAY to close to home to be a comfortable read. All the stars. Just take em.

    5. I had not come across Brown's writings before (my wife, on the other hand, raves about her). This is a beautifully written and gentle memoir about an Episcopal priest choosing to leave formal ministry for a more broadly defined sense of the divine. I know there are millions of these stories out there, but few are as exquisitely crafted and ultimately reassuring as this one. It spoke well to the heart of a weary Catholic.

    6. Ironically Barbra Brown Taylor's experience of personal/spiritual growth through the process of leaving her pastorate to teach, convinces me that I shouldn't at all be eager to jump ship. If our life isn't deeply rooted in community, everything is open to question. Taylor glories in this. I am not so sure. There is something good about being able to explore things as an outsider, but it is not the same thing as belonging.

    7. This book was "almost" amazing. I did love the book and I find Taylor's spiritual insight both sensitive and liberating. She has communicated what I've felt for several years about the personal spiritual journey and the love/hate relationship many people share with "organized" Christianity - yes - I said Christianity not religion. Being a Christian is very simple and too often "churchianity" makes it far too difficult. While Taylor's "leaving church" was not a jarring as I expected it to be, I a [...]

    8. I normally rate the books that I read, but in this case, I am going to take a wimpy pass on providing a rating. The story follows a woman Episcopal priest who joins the clergy- helps her church grow quite quickly and then eventually burns out feeling empty and further from the Divine than she has ever been before. In all her religiosity and business for God she misplaced her love relationship. She then becomes a teacher and is free to explore religion again and anew.I loved the story and the war [...]

    9. Leaving Church is one of those books that has been recommended to me over and over again in the last few years by people whose opinion I trust. Because I share enough of Taylor's story to have it resonate with me, I suppose I would say that I could not make time to read it before now. I would add that I am grateful it came into my hands when it did.I underlined a good portion of the book; there are sentences that both sting and ring true for someone who has also found her worth in being good (an [...]

    10. Unless you love all biographies, skip to the last chapter. The summary of everything is there. This is the truly sad story of a woman who salivated all her early life to be a priest. Yet, having achieved her goal, discovered she was not capable of fulfilling it. She did not fit the role and burnt out trying to be someone she was not.This is a far more common story in ordained ministry than laymen suppose. Taylor's gift lies in being a blacksmith of words, not a handyman Mr. Fixit of the cloth. T [...]

    11. I totally identified with this memoir. Leaving the church organization is the best thing that I have ever done. It was a starting point for my spirituality even though there were many things that hurt me within the walls of the church. Religiosity has left a sour taste in my mouth, especially when it comes to one person believing they are better than others. Some of this story was funny because I understood where she was coming from. Some of it was serious because I know what it is to be judged [...]

    12. As someone who has left churchand religion I was in for over 20 years, I have tried to find and read as many memoirs as I can about people that have left their churches, their religions, their faiths. This book is about a woman who becomes an Episcopal priest, loves it, gets burned out, and stops being a priest and becomes a professor. It's very well written and insightful. She doesn't stop believing what she believed all along, but her beliefs evolve, they aren't static. Her adjustment to becom [...]

    13. A powerful and thought provoking work, that made me think twice about what it means to be called by God as a pastor. A great storyteller, who fills the pages with stories that make you laugh till you double over, but then hits you with a truth so hard that it stands you back up.

    14. Barbara Brown Taylor's beautiful little book tells the story of a painful part of her faith journey: the decision to leave ministry to remain close to God. It resonates with me because it's my experience. While studying for and getting a degree in ministry, a process that encouraged questions about beliefs and practices, I found myself on the outs with organized religion, but not with the Almighty.Taylor's book offers reassurances that being on the margins is an opportunity to minister in a new [...]

    15. Barbara Brown Taylor went from being an Episcopal priest at a large church in Atlanta, to working at a small parish in the mountains, to leaving the ministry. It was interesting to read.(About not recognizing depression)"When I shook people's hands on the porch of the church after services on Sunday, my eyes would start stinging for no reason at all I could not imagine what the problem was, but whatever it was made tears run down my face as I stood there trying to greet people. I believed this [...]

    16. "Encountering God in other people is saving my life now. I do not look for angels anymore, although I have nothing against them. The clerk at the grocery store is messenger enough for me, at least if I give her a fraction of the attention that I lavish on my interior monologue. To emerge from my self-preoccupation long enough to acknowledge her human presence is no mean feat, but when I do I can almost always discover what she has to teach me – and not only she, but every person who crosses my [...]

    17. Being a cradle Catholic with 11 years of base education completely in R. Catholic schools- then 7 years of public university, and after a lifetime of secular work, then eventually working for a R. Catholic university for 15 years, this book is difficult for me. Bemuddled! Not because of her universal search for her own spirituality or because of her understanding of both her own religion and her role within it- but more so in the way she approaches inquiry and rationalization. A run-on sentence [...]

    18. "If my time in the wilderness taught me anything, it is that faith in God has both a center and an edge and that each is necessary for the soul's health. If I developed a complaint during my time in the wilderness, it was that Mother Church lavished so much more attention on those at the center than on those at the edge."It is moments from this book like this one that make this one of my favorite books. As a person who has spent much of her adult life on the edge of her faith, I know full well t [...]

    19. Susan Greene gave me this book.After 9 years serving on the staff of a big urban church in Atlanta, Taylor arrives in rural Clarksville, GA (pop. 1500) following her dream to become the pastor of her own small congregation. The adjustment from city life to country dweller is something of a shock. She is one of the only professional women in the community -- but smalltown life offers many of its own unique joys. Taylor has five successful years that see significant growth in the church she serves [...]

    20. A page turner for me. I am a person who seems to not be able separate myself from a "divine presence", but at the same time I am so confused by faith and this presence that I often feel lost or tricked or at best drawn. Taylor's journey through her faith and a life of being a "professional holy person" was close enough to mine to help me get clarity on the last few years of my journey. She is inside faith enough for me to feel connected but also outside "safe faith" enough for me to join her mys [...]

    21. This book came as such a gift to me. Beautifully written with such wisdom, vulnerability and humility. The Readers Guide at the end has been incredibly helpful in processing my own story in the light of the author's. I am so grateful and I’m quite sure I will return to it many times in the future. I highly recommend it to all men and women who are considering and questioning their involvement in church ministry.

    22. Quite a thoughtful book - the author relating her first glimpses of faith in God, a desire to experience "the Presence" blooming into a long process of becoming an Episcopal priest, spending meaningful but exhausting years in that role, then leaving the office altogether.Along the way, the author Taylor reflects on her strengths and doubts, how a community of individuals can be united and divided by their faith, and in general, how vision, energy, and an accumulating set of experiences can bring [...]

    23. In her thoughtful memoir Leaving Church, Barbara Brown Taylor explains that the idea of joining the priesthood “seemed only slightly less dicey than being chief engineer at a nuclear plant. In both cases, one needed to know how to approach great power without loosing great danger and getting fried in the process.” In some sense, then, Leaving Church is all about getting burned. Taylor's affair with the Divine begins in the Kansas prairie grass behind her childhood home, winds through the ha [...]

    24. From her childhood, the author felt called to follow God. Following that call led her to the seminary and ultimately to becoming a priest in the Episcopal Church. At each step, she hoped to find the tools to better follow her calling to better serve God, but instead found herself pulled further away from the Divine with every effort she exerted in helping others. Eventually, she would resign her post as rector of a parish in a small, rural Georgia community and become a teacher. Only then did sh [...]

    25. This is a must read book for anyone involved in church ministry, whether lay or clergy. Taylor discusses the joys and sorrows of ministry as a parish priest in the Episcopal Church, and her astute observations of congregational life are a joy to read. A few quotes from the book readily illustrate this.“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do,” she once said, ”because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."“I know people who come to this church,” [...]

    26. One of the most amazing books I've read in a long time. Taylor writes beautifully and expressively. Every metaphor is well-crafted and multifaceted. The love of each word is evident as this book was a blessing. My first reaction to the book was that it seemed so very accurate to me. As a child of a pastor, I've witness first-hand many of the painful effects the preaching life can have on a minister. I tried not to call any particular event from my earlier years to mind (because I don't want to r [...]

    27. ‘Leaving Church’ is the memoir of the author’s life of faith and her personal struggles through becoming an Episcopalian priest only to discover that this did not give her the life she was looking for. I think I enjoyed every page. So often the truths and conclusions she realized left me with reactions like, “Yes! Those are the words I’ve been looking for. Thank you.” I guess that’s a big ‘Amen’. Listen to this excerpt (one of many I could have used) for example.“. . . I ha [...]

    28. Leaving Church is such a beautiful book. As a clergy person, I was able to resonate with much of BBT's perspectives of the church and her role within it, and I appreciated how poetically and gracefully she depicted the life of the church even in times of imperfection (which is always) or when it is not what we desire or expect. BBT gleans something from each season of her life and demonstrates how the things we often deem sacred OR secular are really connected. I particularly loved and benefited [...]

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