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

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st Edition edition (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060771747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060771744
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,151,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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) -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

From the Back Cover

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 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 more 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.

-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Barbara Brown Taylor deals with issues that touch everyone who is in relationship with a church. She is helpful and informative in a multitude of ways. Her best point is her reminder to us to be fully human.
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Very good read; I shall be lending this book to the ordinands whom I come alongside in spiritual direction. Barbara Brown Taylor describes so well the dangers of compassion fatigue inherent in the ministry of a priest. The importance of maintaining a balance between work, rest and play is clearly illustrated.
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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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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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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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