Barbara Brown Taylor is an American Episcopal priest, professor, and author. Born on September 21, 1951, in Reynolds, Georgia, she has gained recognition for her work as a preacher, speaker, and writer on matters of faith and spirituality.
Taylor was born on September 21, 1951, in Lafayette, Indiana. There is not a lot of information concerning her family.
She did her undergraduate studies at Emory University where she graduated in 1973. She then went on to study at Yale Divinity School, where she graduated in 1976.
She was ordained in 1984, and became the rector of Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church (Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta) in Clarkesville, Georgia, in 1992.
Barbara later left parish ministry and became a full-time professor at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. She also became an adjunct professor of Christian spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She taught world religions and exposed her mainly Christian students to other faiths so they could better understand how various groups worship.
In 1996, she was named one of the twelve “most effective” preachers in the English-speaking world by Baylor University. She was awarded the 1998 Emory Medal by the Emory Alumni Association of Emory University for her distinguished achievement in education.
In February 2009, Barbara Brown Taylor led the second annual Piedmont College religion conference in Athens, Georgia. Taylor had been the keynote speaker at the conference in previous years.
In addition, Taylor gave the 2009 Annual Buechner Lecture at the Buechner Institute at King University. She has written twelve books on faith and spirituality. In February 2010, days before Piedmont College’s religion conference, Taylor ranked in the top ten most influential living preachers in a poll conducted by the Southern Baptist Convention.
In the early 2000s, she chose to leave active ministry, while retaining her ordination. Her memoir of this time Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith was the first of a trilogy of books about redefining her faith followed by An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith and Learning to Walk in the Dark.
Barbara Brown Taylor First Husband
Edward Taylor is the husband of Barbara Brown Taylor. The couple have been married since 1982.
Barbara Brown Taylor Beliefs
Barbara Brown Taylor is known for her progressive and inclusive approach to Christianity. While specific beliefs can vary among individuals, especially within the realm of spirituality and religion, here are some key aspects of her beliefs as reflected in her writings and public statements:
- Inclusivity: Barbara Brown Taylor advocates for inclusivity within Christianity and promotes understanding and respect for people of different faiths. The people know her for her openness to learning from and appreciating the wisdom found in various religious traditions.
- Spiritual Exploration: Taylor encourages a broad and open-minded exploration of spirituality. She emphasizes the importance of experiencing and encountering the divine in everyday life, beyond the walls of traditional religious institutions.
- Doubt and Darkness: Taylor has explored the themes of doubt and darkness in her writings. She suggests that moments of doubt and periods of darkness can be valuable for spiritual growth, and that God can be present even in those challenging times.
- Nature and Creation: Nature plays a significant role in Taylor’s spirituality. She often highlights the sacredness of the natural world and encourages individuals to find God in the beauty and intricacies of creation.
- Women in Ministry: As a woman who has served as an Episcopal priest, Barbara Brown Taylor has been a voice for the inclusion of women in ministry. Her experiences and writings have contributed to discussions about gender roles within religious institutions.
- Interfaith Dialogue: Many know Taylor for her positive stance on interfaith dialogue. She believes in finding common ground and understanding among people of different religious backgrounds.
- Contemplative Spirituality: Taylor has explored contemplative practices and the importance of mindfulness in her works. She encourages individuals to cultivate a deeper awareness of the divine in their lives through practices like prayer and meditation.
Barbara Brown Taylor is a prolific author. Some of her well-known books include:
“Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith”
“An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith”
“Learning to Walk in the Dark”
“Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others”
Barbara Brown Taylor Quotes
Many people know Barbara Brown Taylor for her eloquent and thought-provoking expressions on matters of faith, spirituality, and life. Here are a few of her quotes:
- “The opposite of faith is not doubt; it’s certainty.”
- “Faith is not the opposite of doubt but the action that transcends it.”
- “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.”
- “Most of the time, it is enough to know that somewhere, in a place you can’t see, your words are bearing fruit.”
- “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.”
- “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 has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to the field of religion and spirituality. People often praise her writing for its accessibility and insightful exploration of faith.