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Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith Hardcover – 1 Jun 2006


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060771747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060771744
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,199,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“This beautiful book is rich with wit and humanness and honesty and loving detail. It is a book about the wonderful mess of being alive in this world, and about the wonderful and terrible things that happen to us in it, and about the dream of God. I cannot overstate how liberating and transforming I have found Leaving Church to be.” (Frederick Buechner)

“Eat this book. And you will be satisfied. Here is a story of a life told with the clarity, beauty, and honesty of a mountain stream. Those who attend church, those who do not, and everyone in-between will find here a feast, and the satisfaction of an eloquent voice speaking the truth.” (Nora Gallagher)

“Here the reader will find an awesome reverence for mystery. This book comes as a refreshing challenge to reconnect with the longings in the depths of the soul. Many will read this book with relief and recognition.” (Alan Jones)

“Leaving Church is a canticle of praise to creator and creation. It is a blessed and a blessing text.” (Thomas Lynch)

“[This] beautiful, absorbing memoir will bless countless readers, helping us see God in the church, and out in the world, and in the small interstices in between.” (Lauren Winner The Dallas Morning News)

“A finely crafted memoir . . . a rich evocation of [a] lifelong love affair with God.” (Publishers Weekly)

“This is an astonishing book. . . . In a word, she is the best there is.” (Living Church) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Barbara Brown Taylor is a priest in the Episcopal church and the author of twelve books which have been showered with awards. She is on the Board of Advisors of Yale Divinity School. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. DOUGLAS VINE VOICE on 25 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
Barbara Brown Taylor is prolific in preaching, writing and Christian feminist circles, and here offers her account of disillusionment, dissatisfaction and `wanting to be free' from church! The wisdom and interplay in the three section structure I find compelling as a tool much beyond the duration of the book. 'Finding,' during which she records caught up in and burnt out by the busyness of ministry and ultimately abandons it, 'Losing,' the interim period during which she discovers what life is like without the daily tasks of ministry, and Keeping, where she's back on the upswing after 'detox'.

This is not revolutionary read, with little originality offered as most ecclesiological and theological reflections are citations of other authors, books and media. For one brand new to such concepts and/or steeped in church life, this may be challenging, scandalous, eye-opening or even affirming. If it is your first brush with a story of this stripe, it is a good place to start. If it is your second, third, fourth, or more, you can read it if you want. Taylor is an excellent writer. Read it if you want to hear an articulate exodus-from-church narrative, for in it her writing is both a tonic and a relief for many on the maze and misery of church life. Core to this writing is the belief in mystery as a context for healing and possibility. An absorbing yet-somewhat indulgent memoir that clings to our loving God.

There is much hope, amidst the liberation, transformation and power of the story disclosed. Truly engaging!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By FFI on 6 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
A warm, at times funny and refreshing articulation of growing out of church and into faith. "Leaving Church" is Barbara Brown Taylor's personal story as an Anglican priest who eventually realises she is part of the problem. She faces the challenge of faith in a new dimension as she moves away from the institution of church and further into a different kind of relationship with God other than that which is dependent on the rituals of traditional church membership.
I LOVED this book. Brown Taylor writes beautifully, her turns of phrase are uniquely metaphorical and paint pictures of angst feelings in a way I found engaging and illuminating. Her thoughts on God the father are expansive and free-ing. A super, engaging read for anyone who welcomes a light touch on a tough topic for those making a similar journey and wondering where on earth they are headed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craig Bishop on 20 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book - a very honest and interesting account of priesthood and church leadership - a perfect gift for priests/church leaders, ordinands and people considering ordination. It would also be a good read for people who want to learn about the pressures and joys of ministry and who desire to support/understand their church leader
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Format: Paperback
Many preachers, myself included, have much to be grateful for from the author’s sermons. Her theology is laced with practical, women’s wisdom. I was, therefore, saddened to read that she had ‘left the church’ and wanted to know what this was really all about. As it turns out, she hasn’t left the church. Nor has the (indelible) priesthood left her. She has only left full-time, paid ministry. Then again, perhaps the title was thrust upon her by her publisher.

That practical wisdom is evident in this book. She likens pastoral care to her experience of rescuing a starling from death, nurturing it back to life but finding it hard to let it stand on its own two feet and finding it returning to her for safety when it should be venturing out on its won – the dependency culture of the church which, if you collude in it, will kill you.

As a curate, she had worked a 60-80 hour work in a busy city parish and had lost touch with her instincts, was burnt out. Like many clergy, she probably enjoyed the book ‘If you meet George Herbert on the Road, Kill Him’. Herbert had been held up as a model pastor, yet his parish was small and he could know and visit everybody. Today’s large parishes make such a vision back-breaking, lethal even. Her view of Jesus makes him a demanding perfectionist too.

So she sought out a rural parish. What she hadn’t reckoned on was the fact that there is no escape in a village. And that because it is the only Anglican church in the whole county, there will be a mix of churchpersonships and politics.

Unlike those of us in the UK, we don’t encounter the KKK nor church signs that read "Give Satan an inch and he will become your ruler,"

I very much like her section on transference.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SamsWord on 3 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book has changed my thinking about Church! I have more respect now for people in Ministry and recommend everyone who is involved in the running of or just attending a Church should read this memoir, to avoid the pitfalls that the Author shares so honestly in this book. The use of poetic imagery and sentencing flows off your tongue like honey and some sentences I had to digest a few times to get the full enjoyment out of it. Her chapter on the Sabbath was such an eyeopener and has changed my view on life and how I will live it from now on.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first came across her book'Home by another way' a collection of sermons and thought she was such an addition to my preaching and understanding of the Bible-just thestyle I admire, relaxed and contemporary that I decided to find out about her life as a preacher and purchased this book.Although a fascinating account of how she came to leave the established church-it could have done with editing the middle part of the account where she finally made up her mind to leave her flourishing parish and turn towards a college based ministry.
Other than that it was a riveting read.
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