Quotations by Taylor, Barbara Brown


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 (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
“Material Faith,” interview by Meghan Larissa Good, The Other Journal (19 Dec 2013)
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Added on 23-Jul-21 | Last updated 23-Jul-21
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Jesus was not brought down by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix. Beware of those who claim to know the mind of God and who are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform. Beware of 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 (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
“The Perfect Mirror,” Christian Century (18-25 Mar 1998)
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Added on 30-Jul-21 | Last updated 30-Jul-21
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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.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
(Attributed)
Added on 17-Sep-21 | Last updated 17-Sep-21
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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 (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
An Altar in the World, ch. 2 (2009)
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Added on 13-Aug-21 | Last updated 13-Aug-21
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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 (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
An Altar in the World, ch. 2 (2009)
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Added on 10-Sep-21 | Last updated 10-Sep-21
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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 (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith (2006)
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Added on 6-Aug-21 | Last updated 6-Aug-21
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I think we’d like life to be a train. And you get on and pick a destination and get off. And it turns out to be a sailboat. And everyday, you have to see where the wind is and check the currents and see if there’s anybody else on the boat you can help out. But it is a sailboat ride. And the weather changes, and the currents change, and the wind changes. It’s not a train ride. That’s the hardest thing I’ve had to accept in my life. I just thought I had to pick the right train.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Super Soul Sunday, s. 5, ep. 522, “Why Life Is Like a Sailboat Ride,” Oprah Winfrey Network (9 Nov 2014)
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Starts at 0:48 in the source video. Usually just rendered down as "I think we'd like life to be a train ... but it turns out to be a sailboat."
Added on 3-Sep-21 | Last updated 3-Sep-21
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More quotes by Taylor, Barbara Brown