Daily Archives: January 26, 2004

Passing on a quote from Steve

I really enjoyed reading a quote from an article about Barbara Brown Taylor which Steve has posted over at Ponder This.  I especially like this :

Her authenticity is especially evident as she explores the ambiguities of life. Taylor is uncannily comfortable with the many philosophical tensions which are part of the Christian faith: grace and good works, the already and the not yet of the Kingdom, the unity and diversity of the Trinity, the enigma of `unanswered’ prayer, and a host of others. Rather than succumbing to the pressure most preachers feel to explain these conundrums, Taylor does the most disarming and effective thing possible. She explores them, then simply says, “I don’t know”. In leaving these mysteries with the listener, she encourages contemplation and prayer and faith, and avoids the presumption of speaking where God is silent.

It is from this heart of worship that Taylor does her most effective work. Her goal is not to tell the listeners what to do, but to lead them into an experience of God. As Taylor writes in The Preaching Life, “where [a good] sermon finally leads both preacher and congregation is into the presence of God, a place that cannot be explained but only experienced. When a sermon like this is over, it is not over. Everyone involved in it goes away with images, thoughts, and emotions that change and grow as the process of discovery goes on and on and on.”

Steve has underlined his favorite parts from the article.  My favorite – the fact that she will say “I don’t know” and in so doing encourages contemplation and prayer. 

Maybe it is a in a woman’s nature to be content with not knowing, with accepting mysteries. 

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