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Speaking of Sin

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  222 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
In Speaking of Sin, Barbara Brown Taylor brings her fresh perspective to a cluster of words that often cause us discomfort and have widely fallen into neglect: sin, damnation, repentance, penance, and salvation. She asks, Why, then, should we speak of sin anymore? The only reason I can think of is because we believe that God means to redeem the world through us. Abandoning ...more
Paperback, 84 pages
Published January 25th 2001 by Cowley Publications (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 22, 2013 heidi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, reviewed
As I have come to expect from Brown Taylor, this slim little book is packed full of concepts that require me to slow down and think about what she is saying. I really enjoy the way she approaches a thought from several different angles.

"People hear the guilt coming and they leave the room. They are tired of being judged and threatened by Christians who say"love" and do fear."

Also, after years of liberal-arts education, she gave me the most useful definition of "post-modern" I've ever seen:
"My ow
Lee Razer
Apr 15, 2012 Lee Razer rated it really liked it
"Sin" and "repentance" are words that have fallen out of favor in our postmodern and secularizing age, perhaps understandably so given how they've often been deployed in ways that have actually upheld social structures marked by injustice and iniquity, but Episcopal priest Brown Taylor says that there is no adequate replacement language for the reality they describe, and we are inevitably the poorer for our attempts to avoid them.

Separation from God, "missing the mark" in our relationships with
Sep 26, 2015 L rated it it was amazing
From the back cover of "Speaking of Sin":Barbara Brown Taylor brings her fresh perspective to a cluster of words that often cause us discomfort and have widely fallen into neglect: sin, damnation, repentance, penance, and salvation. She asks, Why, then, should we speak of sin anymore? Because we believe that God means to redeem the world through us. Abandoning the language of sin will not make sin go away. Human beings will continue to experience alienation, deformation, damnation and death no m ...more
M Christopher
Oct 10, 2011 M Christopher rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
I read this slim volume (72 pages of actual text) in an afternoon with time out for my Monday nap. I'm sure I'll read it again. Rev. Taylor, the well-known Episcopal priest and teacher, does an excellent job in leading the reader to consider why traditional words and concepts like "sin," "repentance," "penance," and "salvation" are actually still necessary to the spiritual path of wholeness. The prose is simple but compelling. While the book is aimed at her fellow preachers, Rev. Taylor has give ...more
Will Waller
Mar 17, 2013 Will Waller rated it it was amazing
Superb. Excellent. Fantastic. This little nugget spells out sin's place in the world and not just the hearts of people. It does a great job of eliminating the liberal tendencies to no-fault people for their sin and conservative's full-fault of sin. The book also describes how institutions can become tainted by sin, a job done by few and by none as well as Taylor. This is a quick, one day read, but it'll have me thumbing through it again and again. Would recommend this to anyone with a church bac ...more
Just A. Bean
Mar 11, 2013 Just A. Bean rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christain
In only 100 pages the author lays out an eloquent history of sin, repentance and redemption, as well as a road map for how these ideas might be used to heal our relationships with God and with each other.

I come from a church background that avoids talking about Sin (largely as a backlash against Ye Olde Hellfire Preaching), and found this very useful. I will need to read it again for it to sink in a little better.
Apr 01, 2009 Kaye rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
The author offers a compelling argument for why the language involved with sin (sin, transgressions, etc.) is necessary for understanding and accepting salvation, as well as how it could be translated into our daily lives. One section that was particularly good was on the subject of penance; what it is, and what it could mean for us.
Nov 10, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, theology
BBT can always be counted on to provide thoughtful and thought-provoking words on God, people, and the world. This book is very good because it acknowledges sinfulness and looks at it from various angles. Brown's writing is not unnecessarily academic or unnecessarily simple. She writes like people speak. This would be a great book to read with a group. Bonus: it's not long at all.
Nov 16, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
Realistic and transformative. Much of the language of the Christian faith is rarely used and seldom understood: sin,salvation,confession, penance, sanctification, justification, righteousness. If we don't use and know these words, what are their substitutes? Only 72 pages - highly readable.
Apr 27, 2013 Carol rated it liked it
I picked this up because I have really enjoyed another book from this author. There are always wonderful nuggets and passages in her writing, and good fodor for thinking about how you live your life. 3 stars in comparison to other of her books that I have read.
May 09, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
There is really a lot of good stuff in this short book. I liked much of what Taylor had to say. However it is her lectures in book form and they really read like lectures. I wasn't expecting that when I picked it up and the lecture writing style significantly impacted my enjoyment of the book.
Joey Dye
Mar 10, 2011 Joey Dye rated it it was amazing
This is a quick read but many great reflections on sin, confession, and repentance. This is a great book to read at the beginning or during Lent as we start the process of self- and communal-examination in preparation for Easter. Highly recommended.
Anthony Risson
Feb 26, 2016 Anthony Risson rated it really liked it
An easy book to read, though gripping in theological nuance and detail. Taylor has a way with words which invites me to keep reading, even though the reality of what I am reading causes me to be restless in my faith. Will continue to read Taylor's work; rich and evocative.
Sep 10, 2012 Audrey rated it really liked it
Great for a church book discussion group. The title sells itself! BBT is almost aways excellent. No hellfire & damnation here. Grace abounds!

Dec 30, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
I love Taylor's language and way of conveying theological principles in practical, livable ways. I just wish I could live like she preaches :)
Michelle Bodle
Mar 20, 2015 Michelle Bodle rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
One of the reasons I gravitate towards this author is her ability to speak truth so clearly and invite you into the conversation
Apr 07, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing
As a mystery writer, and a person of faith, I found Taylor's reflections fascinating. What does the word sin mean today? What does it mean to be evil? Or does it mean anything? Intriguing.
Barb Edwards
Apr 07, 2016 Barb Edwards rated it it was amazing
I had often heard Barbara Brown Taylor quoted during Sunday sermons. Finally, I have read one of her books! Excellent! Lots to think about the words we use on our faith journey.
Feb 21, 2016 Mary added it
I think that this book was great. It answered some of my questions about sin. Great book. Great explanation.
Katherine Pershey
Katherine Pershey rated it really liked it
May 16, 2014
Gidget Stewart
Gidget Stewart rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2008
Maryann rated it really liked it
Oct 17, 2012
Hollen rated it it was ok
Dec 10, 2007
Jeff rated it really liked it
Feb 25, 2016
Frederick Buechner
Frederick Buechner rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2013
Sue rated it it was amazing
Oct 17, 2015
Greg rated it did not like it
Apr 14, 2009
Peter Carey
Peter Carey rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2011
Rev.dulce rated it it was amazing
Oct 11, 2007
Sherry rated it it was amazing
Mar 09, 2012
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Barbara Brown Taylor’s last book, An Altar in the World, was a New York Times bestseller that received the Silver Nautilus Award in 2012. Her first memoir, Leaving Church, received an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association and won the Theologos Award for best general interest book of 2006. Taylor spent fifteen years in parish ministry before becoming the Butman Professor of ...more
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