Why I can't read Barbara Brown Taylor

Everybody keeps telling me to read Barbara Brown Taylor’s new book. And I should. But I won’t.

I stopped reading Barbara Brown Taylor years ago, halfway through my brand-new hardcover copy of Leaving Church. I got as far as the point that she actually left, and I couldn’t read another page. I set the book down and never picked it up again.

I was a newly ordained minister and I didn’t want to leave church. I found it deeply (if illogically) heartbreaking that the pastor who helped me see that ministry could be a literary vocation was no longer celebrating the Eucharist on Sunday mornings. I couldn’t bear to imagine the woman whose account of the preaching life (in her aptly titled The Preaching Life) had untethered herself from the parish and was conceivably spending her Sunday mornings reading the New York Times.

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