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.
©2006 Barbara Brown Taylor (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
The writers experiences are relevant and applicable for a Christian seeking to actually follow Jesus of Nazereth in 21st century America
The author herself
Her surprise that God's beautiful world of nature is still there to inspire if one looks hard enough
It is great to know others are on the same pilgrimage
I listened to Barbara Brown Taylor read her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark before I listened to this book. This one doesn't have as tight prose, but it's still good with lots of good stuff in it. Also, the reader was a little more saccharine? naive? than I prefer for the content, but that might just be because of how I expect that Barbara Brown Taylor would have read.
Taylor's open account of her personal struggle with vocation is a lovely read. Her way with words is as vivid as ever. The narration however makes the book seem trivial and affected. I yearn to listen to Barbara read this herself.
My dream job would be reading for a living...
This is a perfect book to listen to for those who have big questions about church. This author is nothing if not self-aware and I appreciate her willingness to be so transparent about her doubts, beliefs, and journey as a Christian. No doubt, there will be plenty of people who call her a heretic. There are plenty of thoughts and suppositions that may be offensive to Christian fundamentalists. However, I find her candor and honesty refreshing.
Spirituality is everywhere!
Barbara's heartfelt honesty about her decision to leave the Episcopal Church priesthood as a full-time career and her transition into her new life in which she felt just as close to God as ever.
Barbara - only character - it is an autobiography
I am now listening to, "An Altar in the World," and then I will move right along to "Learning to Walk in the Dark." Barbara's imagery is amazing and her writing style so easily allows me to make a personal connection with her and her life. I enjoyed every word.
The personal stories and the informal writing style
It was too syrupy sweet. Sounded like a voice over for a commercial.
It's a good book if you are interested in what it's like to be in the clergy.
I liked BBT's book Altar in the World, but was disappointed by this story of her decision to leave parish ministry. The ego on this woman just won't stop. I was hoping for something inspirational but found largely a long justification of her decision to break a commitment she had made. I am also a parish minister and I was stunned by the level of self-importance she gave herself once she put on the clerical collar and the level of her grief at becoming an "ordinary" person again once she took it off. She's a good writer, obviously, but the book didn't meet my expectations. And the narrator read it in a saccharine, "spiritual" voice which really put me off. I made it almost to the end, but finally couldn't take it any more. Not recommended.
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