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
The most genuine Barbara Brown Taylor quotes that will inspire your inner self
Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.
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.
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.
The great thing about civility is that it does not require you to agree with or approve of anything. You don't even have to love your neighbor to be civil. You just have to treat your neighbor the same way you would like your neighbor to treat your grandmother, or your child.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
I think we d like life to be like a train..but it turns out to be a sailboat.
That's enough, and I have a ministry as a neighbor as well.
A ministry as a friend and a ministry as an aunt and a godmother, and family is very much in the circle of my vocation.
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.
I've got a hold of something that won't move.
It's a willingness to keep walking into the next day, open to whatever may turn out to be true that day.
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.
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.
God does some of God's best work with people who are seriously lost.
The value for me being in a mainline tradition is history and memory, which is not just Christian tradition but denominational tradition, and characters, you know, with real distinct flavors of ways to be Christian.
It can be difficult to be an introvert in church, especially if you happen to be the pastor. Liking to be alone can be interpreted as a judgment on other people's company. Liking to be quiet can be construed as aloofness. There is so much emphasis on community in most congregations that anyone who does not participate risks being labeled a loner.
The great wisdom traditions of the world all recognize that the main impediment to living a life of meaning is being self-absorbed.
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.
When I talk about losing myself, which I did, it's losing my idea of who I was and my idea of what I was supposed to be doing and the idea of what my value was to God. I lost all of that at least.
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.
We're children of God through our blood kinship with Christ.
We're also sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, with a hereditary craving for forbidden fruit salad.
Having been brought up with a definition of faith as adherence to a set of beliefs, I have more and more begun to turn instead toward a definition of faith as openness to truth, whatever truth may turn out to be.
The poets began drifting away from churches as the jurists grew louder and more insistent.
Most of us will have more than one job in our working lives, which means we will have more than one opportunity to seek meaningful work at different stages of our own deepening humanity.
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.
Humanity can be pretty stinky.
I went to the little church in the country after ten years in the city.
And part of my dream was to sit on people's front porches with glasses of iced tea, and all that happened. I was able to send birthday cards to everyone in the parish and able to know everyone who was there on Sunday by name. And that was what I'd been looking for.
I'll do my best to always put God and neighbor ahead of ego, but I want to find myself, and if finding myself means losing my ego self, I'll go there.
It's difficult for me to ignore how many conflicts locally and worldwide have religion tagged to them.
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.
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.
Beliefs have become unimportant to me. Faith as radical trust became even more important to me.
I became so attentive to the souls of other people that I was not as attentive as I might have been to my own.
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.
You probably can't get much closer to God than serving a congregation 24/7.
At the same time, there's a different kind of closeness in this present life I have in which I have much more freedom to come and go and to engage some of the silence and stillness and solitude that I was missing before.
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.
I love being alone. I learned that from my father, I think, who loved his own company.
When someone asks us where we want to be in our lives, the last thing that occurs to us is to look down at our feet and say, 'Here, I guess, since this is where I am.'
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.
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.
Salvation happens every time someone with a key uses it to open a door he could lock instead.
I'm in a mainline church, I'm very aware, especially as I move through community churches and new-start churches that are making real efforts not to associate themselves with traditional denominations - very often they have no history. They have no institutional memory.
I read more widely. I made friends more widely. I wore more red. I stayed home on Sundays. I did things that were never in the realm of possible things to do before. That was a real desert experience for me.
When I say I trust Jesus, that is what I mean: I trust that the way of life leads through perishability, not around it.
I don't miss the ministry, because I'm completely engaged in it.
In terms of parish ministry, I miss the intimacy with a group of people.
I decided I got to say whether I was Christian or not, and so I've relaxed enormously since then. I'm the one who gets to say that, and not someone else.
I'm a follower of the Christ path, and that opens a huge discussion about what we even mean by words like "Christian."