Barbara Brown Taylor quotes

  • Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Earth #Wonder #Possibility

  • Divine reality is not way up in the sky somewhere; it is readily available in the encounters of everyday life, which make hash of my illusions that I can control the ways God comes to me.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Reality #Sky #Everyday

  • Salvation is a word for the divine spaciousness that comes to human beings in all the tight places where their lives are at risk, regardless of how they got there or whether they know God's name. Sometimes it comes as an extended human hand and sometimes as a bolt from the blue, but either way it opens a door in what looked for all the world like a wall. This is the way of life, and God alone knows how it works.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Wall #Hands #Names

  • When I say I trust Jesus, that is what I mean: I trust that the way of life leads through perishability, not around it.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Jesus #Mean #Way

  • As hard as I have tried to remember the exact moment when I fell in love with God, I cannot do it. My earliest memories are bathed in a kind of golden light that seemed to embrace me as surely as my mother's arms. The divine presence was strongest outdoors, and most palpable when I was alone.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Mother #Memories #Light

  • Whoever you are, you are human. Wherever you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Waiting #World #Holiness

  • We are born seekers, calling strange names into the darkness from our earliest days because we know we are not meant to be alone, and because we know that we await someone whom we cannot always see.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Names #Darkness #Calling

  • There comes a time when it is vitally important for your spiritual health to drop your clothes, look in the mirror, and say, ‘Here I am. This is the body-like-no-other that my life has shaped. I live here. This is my soul’s address
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Spiritual #Clothes #Mirrors

  • If churches saw their mission in the same way, there is no telling what might happen. What if people were invited to come tell what they already know of God instead of to learn what they are supposed to believe? What if they were blessed for what they are doing in the world instead of chastened for not doing more at church? What if church felt more like a way station than a destination? What if the church’s job were to move people out the door instead of trying to keep them in, by convincing them that God needed them more in the world than in the church?
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Jobs #Moving #Blessed

  • Most of us like thinking we are God's only children...At least one of the purposes of church is to remind us that God has other children, easily as precious as we. Baptism and narcissism cancel each other out.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Children #Thinking #Baptism

  • Wisdom is not gained by knowing what is right. Wisdom is gained by practicing what is right, and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds and when it fails.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Knowing #Practice #Succeed

  • With so much effort being poured into church growth, so much press being given to the benefits of faith, and so much flexing of religious muscle in the public square, the poor in spirit have no one but Jesus to call them blessed anymore.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Religious #Jesus #Blessed

  • I think we d like life to be like a train..but it turns out to be a sailboat.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Thinking #Turns #Sailboat

  • The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Ideas #People #Church

  • What I noticed at Grace-Calvary is the same thing I notice whenever people aim to solve their conflicts with one another by turning to the bible: defending the dried ink marks on the page becomes more vital than defending their neighbor. As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God. In the words of Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas, 'People of the Book risk putting the book above people.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Book #Believe #People

  • Jesus was not killed by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix. Beware those who claim to know the mind of God and who are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform. Beware those who cannot tell God's will from their own. Temple police are always a bad sign. When chaplains start wearing guns and hanging out at the sheriff's office, watch out. Someone is about to have no king but Caesar
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Jesus #Kings #Gun

  • Once I gave up the hunt for villains, I had little recourse but to take responsibility for my choices.... Needless to say, this is far less satisfying that nailing villains. It also turned out to be more healing in the end...
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Healing #Responsibility #Choices

  • The great wisdom traditions of the world all recognize that the main impediment to living a life of meaning is being self-absorbed.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Self #World #Tradition

  • The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self - to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Spiritual #Spring #Self

  • I discovered a version of the sinner's prayer that increased my faith far more than the one that I had said years earlier...In this version, there were no formulas, no set phrases that promised us safe passage across the abyss. There was only our tattered trust that the Spirit who had given us life would not leave us in the wilderness without offering us life again.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Prayer #Years #Offering

  • I have learned to prize holy ignorance more highly than religious certainty and to seek companions who have arrived at the same place. We are a motley crew, distinguished not only by our inability to explain ourselves to those who are more certain of their beliefs than we are but in many cases by our distance from the centers of our faith communities as well.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Religious #Distance #Ignorance

  • As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Believe #Politics #Behave

  • What is saving my life now is the conviction that there is no spiritual treasure to be found apart from the bodily experiences of human life on earth. My life depends on engaging the most ordinary physical activities with the most exquisite attention I can give them. My life depends on ignoring all touted distinctions between the secular and the sacred, the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul. What is saving my life now is becoming more fully human, trusting that there is no way to God apart from real life in the real world.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Spiritual #Real #Giving

  • I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Dark #Light #Needs

  • Every human interaction offers you the chance to make things better or to make things worse.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Chance #Interaction #Offers

  • The only real difference between Anxiety and Excitement was my willingness to let go of Fear.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Letting Go #Real #Differences

  • No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Wise #Spiritual #Missing

  • Day by day we are given not what we want but what we need. Sometimes it is a feast and sometimes...swept crumbs, but by faith we believe it is enough.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Believe #Needs #Want

  • The effort to untangle the human words from the divine seems not only futile to me but also unnecessary, since God works with what is. God uses whatever is usable in a life, both to speak and to act, and those who insist on fireworks in the sky may miss the electricity that sparks the human heart.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Heart #Sky #Effort

  • All I am saying is that anyone can do this. Anyone can ask and anyone can bless, whether anyone has authorized you to do it or not. All I am saying is that the world needs you to do this, because there is a real shortage of people willing to kneel wherever they are and recognize the holiness holding its sometimes bony, often tender, always life-giving hand above their heads. That we are able to bless one another at all is evidence that we have been blessed, whether we can remember when or not. That we are willing to bless one another is miracle enough to stagger the very stars.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Stars #Real #Blessed

  • So if waiting is an aggravation, it is at least partly because we do not like being reminded of our limits. We like doing -- earning, buying, selling, building, planting, driving, baking -- making things happen, whereas waiting is essentially a matter of being -- stopping, sitting, listening, looking, breathing, wondering, praying. It can feel pretty helpless to wait for someone or something that is not here yet and that will or will not arrive in its own good time, which is not the same thing as our own good time.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Breathing #Aggravation #Waiting

  • The real problem has far less to do with what is really out there than it does with our resistance to finding out what is really out there.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Real #Doe #Resistance

  • Prayer is happening, and it is not necessarily something that I am doing. God is happening, and I am lucky enough to know that I am in The Midst.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Prayer #Lucky #Enough

  • In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Thinking #Practice #World

  • The abundance of our lives is not determined by how long we live, but how well we live. Christ makes abundant life possible if we choose to live it now.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Long #Determined #Life Is

  • Contrary to popular opinion, Christians are not nice polite people who never get angry with one another. Those are not the virtues of God's people. Our virtues are truth-telling, kindness, forgiveness and yes, even anger-as long as it is the anger that is part of true love-through which we move closer to one another and to the God who has shown us how it is done.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Christian #Kindness #Nice

  • Our waiting is not nothing. It is something -- a very big something -- because people tend to be shaped by whatever it is they are waiting for.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #People #Waiting #Bigs

  • God does some of God's best work with people who are seriously lost.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #People #Doe #Lost

  • Most of us spend so much time thinking about where we have been or where we are supposed to be going that we have a hard time recognizing where we actually are.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Hard Times #Thinking #Recognizing

  • Kindness is not a bad religion, no matter what name you use for God.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Kindness #Names #Use

  • You only need to lose track of who you are, or who you thought you were supposed to be, so that you end up lying flat on the dirt floor basement of your heart. Do this, Jesus says, and you will live.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Jesus #Lying #Heart

  • It does seem to me that at least some of us have made an idol of exhaustion. The only time we know we have done enough is when we are running on empty and when the ones we love most are the ones we see the least.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Running #Idols #Doe

  • I thought being faithful was about becoming someone other than who I was...it wasn't until I failed that I began to wonder if my human wholeness might be more useful to God than my exhausting goodness.
    -- Barbara Brown Taylor

    #Faithful #Might #Becoming