Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Preaching Life” as Want to Read:
The Preaching Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Preaching Life

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  925 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
In her bestselling preaching autobiography Barbara Brown Taylor writes of how she came to be a preacher of the gospel as a priest in the Episcopal Church. In this warm and poignant collection, Barbara Brown Taylor’s humor and wisdom delve into the meaning of Christian symbols and history—both her own, growing up in the Mid-West and Georgia, and the Church’s, from its earli ...more
Paperback, 174 pages
Published January 25th 1993 by Cowley Publications (first published January 1st 1993)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Preaching Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Preaching Life

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Murph Hutson
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
"We are still ambivalent about the role of the imagination in the life of faith. Is an imagined thing a true thing or a false thing? Is it real or not? What good is it, if it cannot be proved? And what about objective truth? Are we really prepared to confess that God is the property of our imaginations?

"No. But we may be prepared to confess that our imaginations are the property of God. All our other faculties are useless to us; we cannot perceive God as we would a ginkgo tree or a speckled trou
Alan  Marr
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
The only thing that stopped me from giving this a 5 was the second half of the book. The sermons were good but i wanted more of the other stuff. I loved the chapters on "Call", "Vocation" and "Imagination". Thanks Carolyn for the recommendation.
Steve Penner
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I had not realized when purchasing this book that it was 20 years old. After preaching now for 26 years it seems kind of dated. Probably would have been better read 20 years ago. Taylor's preaching definitely comes out of the Episcopal tradition. She follows the lectionary and is topical in her approach and style. Because I am an expository preacher, I did not find the examples of her sermons, which occupy the last half of the book, to be very helpful. They were interesting but permeated by the ...more
Thomas (Tom) Baynham
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As with many books that one reads for a second or third time, there were many words of wisdom that jumped out at me over the past two months. I was reminded of the notes and insights I highlighted while reading this text as a seminary student, while at the same time reflecting on how I've grown as a person and clergy person. Taylor writes in a style that creatively combines the practical and the academic.
Terri Milstead
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school-books
I love Barbara Brown Taylor's writing so I really happy to see the first section of this book as required reading for my preaching class! Thoroughly enjoyed as always. Informative, thought provoking and emotion stirring, just as good preaching should be.
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If there’s one preacher I adore, it’s BBT. I started reading her books in the mid ‘90s, but somehow missed this one until now. It has the feel of someone rising to the challenges of middle age: too wise to be written by a 20-something, but not world-weary enough to come from the pen of a 60-something. The book is roughly divided into two halves: part one a collection of essays, and part two a series of sermons. The opening essay, entitled “A Church in Ruins,” expresses the dilemma of living in a ...more
Julie Golding Page
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology-women
This is an excellent book by an eminent American Episcopal (Anglican) priest who also happens to be a woman.

The first part of the book is one of the clearest and most engaging explanations I've ever read on the topic of what it means to be called by God. The second part contains a number of excellent sermons, which are good for personal reading and also for layreaders or priests to read as the Sunday sermon in church.

Barbara Brown Taylor's preaching style is more like storytelling and less like
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a gift Barbara Brown Taylor is! Her way with words, her way of looking at the world, and most of all, the profound truths she so creatively and articulately lays before the the reader, are inspiring and thoughtful, and sometimes they cut to the quick. I have been reading this book in fits and starts for several months now. It's that kind of a book. You can read it for awhile and then just let a chapter soak in for a time, and then you can pick it up again as if you're coming home to hear mo ...more
Andrew Philip
A superb book by a wise and fine preacher and writer. The first half, in which she reflects on the call to ministry and the priesthood of all believers, is tremendous and very helpful. I was disappointed when it finished! The second half, which consists of 13 sermons, is also excellent and frequently thought-provoking.

The only reason I gave the book four stars instead of five was that I wanted more of the first half. Perhaps that's churlish of me, particularly given the old adage, "always leave
Mark Fredericksen
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Brown Taylor is an Anglican who speaks strongly to my own Anglican heart. She makes plain so much of the liturgy, sacraments, and preaching aspects of worship that they all suddenly make so much sense. Worship in the Anglican tradition already resonated with my soul, now it also resonates in my head. The sermons she includes in the second half are succinct, powerful, and illustrate precisely all that she presents theoretically and theologically in the first half. A great manual for under ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Taylor is such a wonderful writer and it was interesting to read one of her earlier works. While not as polished as her more recent Leaving Church memoir, it still had many of the themes that she often explores...hearing God's call--in its many guises--work as vocation, the importance and meaning of worship and preaching--she gives me much to ponder. I will read anything of hers...she's wonderful
Cara Meredith
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lovely, as per the BBT usual. If you're a speaker or preacher, read this. If you're a fan of her writing, especially the early, more jesus-pointed stuff, read this. And in the second half, you'll feel like you're sitting front and center on that hard wooden pew, listening to the ebb and flow of her stories.
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very good. I liked the first half the best. Learning about what lead her into the priesthood, how the world changed/is changing, and what shaped her way of thinking. The second half was also good, but wish the chapters were longer. I understand they are meant as sermons, and sermons are supposed to be short, but I still wished for more. :)
Katherine Pershey
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I didn't read this book until now.

It is marvelous. Wonderfully written, deeply moving. I would recommend it to preachers, of course, but also to anyone who loves excellent writing and keep observations of the world.

Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirit, read-in-2016
I really love BBT. This book came to me at the proper time, and I love it. Simple, warm, and genuine. I know I should have taken the second half slower and read her sermons over a longer period of time, but I couldn't help it and just gulped them down. I need to read all her books.
Heather Cromer
Excellent read

I would recommend this to lay people and pastors alike. Rev. Taylor makes it clear we who call ourselves Christians are all called to ministry. I really enjoyed her sermons at the end of the book. I particularly liked the prodigal son sermon. Easy to read too!
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How does one learn to preach? Well, if one is as good a storyteller as Taylor, it's easy. Wonderful learning experience.
Laura Inscoe
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love everything she writes.
Feb 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This collection of sermons reads like a great narrative and provides more than "how to" on preaching. If you are looking for a great read and a devotional book. THis is for you.
Demetrius Rogers
Apr 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Too abstract for my taste. Only made it more than half way through.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is an awesome book for anyone as they seek through their own journey in life. It is an easy read as well.
I cannot say enough about this book. Taylor writes with such eloquence, it makes me happy to be in the company of her as a female preacher. Inspiring and well worth the read for all preachers.
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An incredible writer and preacher
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great sermons. Should be required reading for preachers or wanna be preachers.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A classic for all preachers and theological thinkers.
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
B.B. Taylor writing and preaching is a craft she takes seriousy. She is wonderfully insightful, funny and gracefully speaks the truth
Cindy Hindman
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
contains lost of good stuff and such a perspective about things that make you think
Wanda Cuniff
rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2014
Mark Hadley
rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Witness of Preaching
  • This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers
  • Preaching
  • Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons
  • Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith
  • Jesus and the Disinherited
  • Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life
  • The Pastor: A Memoir
  • Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership and Congregational Life (Creative Pastoral Care & Counseling)
  • Practicing Resurrection: A Memoir of Work, Doubt, Discernment, and Moments of Grace
  • The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form
  • Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us
  • Open Secrets: A Memoir of Faith and Discovery
  • Pastor
  • Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, NRSV
  • Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann
  • Synopsis of the Four Gospels
Barbara Brown Taylor is a New York Times best-selling author, teacher, and Episcopal priest. Her first memoir, Leaving Church (2006), won an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. Her last book, Learning to Walk in the Dark (2014), was featured on the cover of TIME magazine. She has served on the faculties of Piedmont College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School o ...more
More about Barbara Brown Taylor

Nonfiction Deals

  • Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
    $9.99 $2.99
  • How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Pocket Prayers: 40 Simple Prayers that Bring Peace and Rest
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Manifest Your Destiny: Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Ev
    $11.74 $1.99
  • A Three Dog Life
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
    $14.99 $2.99
  • How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front
    $5.99 $1.99
  • My Glory Was I Had Such Friends: A Memoir
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life
    $6.99 $0.99
  • The War of Art
    $9.99 $1.49
  • Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas
    $19.99 $2.99
  • The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
    $14.99 $2.99
  • I'd Rather Be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Girl With No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific
    $10.99 $1.99
  • America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Dear Bob and Sue
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service
    $10.24 $1.99
  • Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life's Riches
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Moab Is My Washpot
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Essays in Science
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Being
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sea Around Us
    $17.99 $1.99
  • This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century
    $11.99 $3.99
  • The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just the Funny Parts: My 30 Years on the Hollywood Jungle Gym
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life
    $8.99 $2.49
  • The Millionaire Fastlane
    $7.99 $2.49
  • Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Unlimited Memory: How to Use Advanced Learning Strategies to Learn Faster, Remember More and be More Productive (Mental Mastery Book 1)
    $9.99 $3.49
  • Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall
    $11.99 $1.99
“For those willing to keep heaving themselves toward the light, things can change. What has been lost gradually becomes less important than what is to be found. Curiosity pokes its green head up through the asphalt of grief, and fear of the unknown takes on an element of wonder as the disillusioned turn away from the God who was supposed to be in order to seek the God who is. Every letdown becomes a lesson and a lure. Did God fail to come when I called? Then perhaps God is not a minion. So who is God? Did God fail to punish my adversary? Then perhaps God is not a policeman. So who is God? Did God fail to make everything turn out all right? Then perhaps God is not a fixer. So who is God? Over and over, my disappointments draw me deeper into the mystery of God’s being and doing. Every time God declines to meet my expectations, another of my idols is exposed.” 2 likes
More quotes…