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Luminous Web: Essays on Science and Religion

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  151 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In these essays on the dialogue between science and Christian faith, Barbara Brown Taylor describes her journey as a preacher learning what the insights of quantum physics, the new biology, and chaos theory can teach a person of faith. She seeks to discover why scientists sound like poets and why physicists use the language of imagination, ambiguity, and mystery also found ...more
Paperback, 90 pages
Published January 25th 2000 by Cowley Publications (first published January 1st 2000)
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Steve Li
Mar 10, 2015 Steve Li rated it it was ok
The author is a very well respected and well known minister. I am a scientist always in search of the weaving of science and religion. I know I am in the minority of reviewers with my 2 star rating of the book. I provided this low rating based on the author's own statement on page 16 "...truth comes in two varieties -facts and meanings-and the same facts do not always generate the same meanings. In the chapters that follow I will knowingly violate this boundary by imposing my own meanings on sci ...more
Zac Talbott
Sep 22, 2015 Zac Talbott rated it liked it
This isn't a book but a collection of individual essays. It's very different from the books BBT has become known for, so if you're expecting something like an Altar in the World you will be greatly disappointed. This book does, however, serve an important purpose in helping the church facilitate discussions of science and our faith. It's a helpful tool in becoming a person of faith who realizes that science and religion do not have to be, and are not, mutually exclusive.
Amos Smith
Sep 23, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-books-other
This was a life changing book for me. Barbara Brown Taylor helped me to see the profound spirituality behind Chaos Theory. And she helped me see that "Chaos Theory" is a misnomer. The theory is not about chaos anymore than it is about an underlying pattern in the universe. Chaos Theory says that we can't have "chaos" without an underlying pattern and vice versa. More importantly, Chaos Theory, echoes the insights of mysticism--that everything is connected to everything else and that seemingly in ...more
Colby Brown
Jan 14, 2016 Colby Brown rated it did not like it
This book is not so much a reconciliation between science and religion as a hostage situation, where science is tied so tightly to its chair that you can barely hear its cries for help. Clearly, Barbara Taylor is well versed in theology, but her opening statement, "I am not a scientist", might as well been the whole book; instead, she spends the next 74 pages painfully attesting to that fact through her incessant leaps of logic, false equivalences, and simply incorrect statements. The end result ...more
Sep 17, 2008 Dawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I don’t speak science well and struggled through the 100 pages of text in Luminous Web: Essays on Science and Religion, by Barbara Brown Taylor. I read and re-read paragraphs and whole pages, sometimes understanding something completely differently the second time around. I learn and understand best by finding meaning and metaphor, which, it turns out, is the same process Taylor says she uses and is chastised for by her scientific friends. She says they tell her “the minute I wring metaphors out ...more
Margie Dorn
Aug 06, 2016 Margie Dorn rated it it was amazing
Such a worthwhile read, especially for people like myself who are professional in neither science nor theology. It brings a warm and loving understanding and dialogue to areas that have engendered dispute and misunderstanding. Recommended reading for everyone, in all walks of life.
Jul 03, 2014 Nicholas rated it liked it
Some interesting insights on the parallels between and interconnectedness of science and religion.
Aug 15, 2007 Joshua rated it it was amazing
An incredibly well-researched collection of essays on the similarities and connections between science and faith. Taylor opened my eyes to that which the two disciplines have in common, while still maintaining the vast difference between them. This is a book for people who are willing to think about the conversation between scientific inquiry and theology. She blends a remarkable knowledge of "new" science (quantum theory, strings) with the extensive background of her faith. The result is an ent ...more
Elizabeth Andrew
Dec 22, 2010 Elizabeth Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
While I always enjoy Taylor's clear prose and heart-centered theology, I found this slender volume to be a bit thin on content. She makes some important (and probably in some circles radical) connections between Christian belief and the latest scientific thought, but without a broader background in science (and especially chaos theory) she can't go very far. Still, worthwhile.
Feb 17, 2012 meg rated it really liked it
Taylor, an ordained minister, successfully argues that science and religion can co-exist and actually couldn't exist without each other. Easy-to-read physics for those who don't understand much of it (and/or can't do math). A thought-provoking read that causes you to reconsider the way you approach faith and science.
Nov 15, 2013 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brown has written four exceptional essays on science and religion that take us beyond the tension to the profound unity which surfaces when we see God as the unifying force who is creating a forever changing universe that we can never hope to understand completely.
Jul 30, 2010 Jon marked it as to-read
Very much looking forward to reading this book. I read Taylor's terrific article here:, and can't wait to read the book Luminous Web.
Feb 06, 2012 Marilyn rated it really liked it
Good introspective from a religious leader on how the intertwining of science and religion might be more prevalent that we give credit for. I liked it because I agree with her premise and musings.
Jul 07, 2007 Frank rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
She may end up panenthesist in this book, but I enjoyed traveling through science and faith with Barbara Brown Taylor.
Sare Gordy
Feb 25, 2012 Sare Gordy rated it really liked it
A nice way to bring a few truths together.
Mar 30, 2011 Noah rated it really liked it
The first book I finished in 2007! I received this book of reflections on religion and science as a gift back in August of 2004 from my (at that time) girlfriend. I started the book at the time, but not long after that it found its way onto a shelf, into a moving box, and onto a shelf again. I pulled it again last December and made it my bus book, so I read it for about 20 minutes each way on the days I took the bus.

Barbara Brown Taylor is incredible in her reflective and rhetorical abilities. T
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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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