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When God Is Silent
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When God Is Silent

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  367 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Reading of God s silence in the Bible gives me courage to explore the practice of restraint in preaching not as a deliberate withholding of God s word nor, I hope, as a rationale for my own reticence, but as a sober reaching for more reverence in the act of public speaking about God. In these 1997 Lyman Beecher Lectures in Preaching delivered at Yale Divinity School, Barba ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 25th 1998 by Cowley Publications (first published January 1st 1998)
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Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This is a slight little book, size-wise, but I have three times as many highlights in it as any other book I own. It is dense with ideas like a fruitcake is full of goodies.

It is targeted toward pastors, but approachable for anyone with a moderate understanding of theology. My mom bought copies for my siblings and I because she found it so meaningful, and I can certainly understand that impulse.

Taylor is teasing out what it means that we don't hear from God anymore. God used to talk to the Israe
Kathy Dolan
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
A beautiful, wise book about the impossibility of hearing from and talking about God, but also about the need to try. Written for preachers but worth reading for anyone who wants to hear from those same preachers, or communicate their thoughts about God to others - your children, through blog, through Sunday School, in all the different ways we speak about the unspeakable. It has a lot to say about silence and mystery and failure. It's beautiful.
Ben Gosden
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the most brilliant and honest books on faith I've ever read. This is not a book for those who enjoy formulaic and simplistic understandings of God and the life of faith. This is a book for those who struggle. It's a book for those who are willing to sit on an ash heap of questions and doubts knowing that God is still close at hand. It's a book for those who see faith more as a work of art and less as a math problem with easy to solve answers. Brilliant and challenging book!
Daniel Stewart
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The title "When God is Silent" lead me to believe this book would cover themes of how we handle God's ephemeral silences. Though part of the conversation, Taylor spends most of this small book discussing the realty of our word-saturated culture, which she alleges has over-consumed words to the point of their ineffectiveness and sterility. She argues, therefore, the importance of silence in what we say, how we preach, and what we think. I found it incredibly moving, even though I rarely participa ...more
Chris Hughes
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: preaching
This book of lectures given by Barbara Brown Taylor at Yale Divinity School is an incredibly nurturing yet challenging read for any student of preaching. For Taylor, the central question is for a generation that is drowning in noise: How does one speak? How does one speak for God and for the people and speak truthfully enough to be heard?

The answer lies not in more words, but perhaps in less. Taylor traces the dynamic tension of sound and silence of God throughout the biblical text as a helpful
Bruce Nuffer
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I haven't found another book that says what this book says, that God is "unsayable," and the more we try (which we must do) the worse job we do. Taylor discusses the need for silence, and compares preaching (she is a preacher) to the task of trying to tell someone about a piece of music. Not only will words never do justice to the subject of our conversation, they will always give a somewhat false understanding of something that cannot be understood. She says that if people leave "filled" after ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Sat down and read this through in just a few hours. I grew up in the Methodist church but consider myself a-theistic now, and feel that the lessons and questions of this book to apply to much more than religion. The use of language, of words, the current bombardment of noise in our world, and so many people's inability to listen to the silence are themes I've all comtemplated before but that Taylor does more eloquently than I've ever managed. I'd love to hear her sermons.
Nancy Nusser
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In 3 short chapters, Famine, Silence and Restraint Barbara Brown Taylor points out that despite how much communication there is today we no longer find meaning in what is spoken. The silence of God does not mean God is dead, but it means God is greater than our language and takes away control of who we think is. Words are not enough. God is found in the images and metaphors that fill the parables Jesus told.
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the responsibilities of preachers charged with speaking for a God who seems, more and more, to be silent. This is some of her more intellectual writing, but she manages to maintain a style that is compelling. There are no "answers" here, but rather observations and suggestions.
Jane Glen
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although I am not a preacher, I loved this book for its reminder that not everything has to always be put into words. If we are always satisfied with what is being said or preached, we will not long for more. Silence has a purpose and God's silence can speak volumes.
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Taylor, did an great job in approaching this topic. There's not much to say that's not already been said, she deals with the deeper issues of God's silence and gives her readers a fresh perspective on the value and divinity of silence.

Absolutely enjoyed this book.
Nov 12, 2011 added it
Re-reading this for a class assignment. Loved it the first time through, but don't remember it well, other than the question of what on earth does the preacher say in the face of apparent silence from the divine?
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is so enlighteninng. I had a hard time putting it down last night. I'm reading it for my
Diakonia class.
Megan Rohrer
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A short read, that is well worth the time. This is a great book if you are bored with church or a boring pastor.
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity
Reflections on listening to God vs. speaking to God as only Brown Taylor could present them.
Jul 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homiletics
What a slim but powerful text! Barbara Brown Taylor is amazing! She spoke at a NACUC event, had most of us in tears -- but good tears! So raw, so real!
Kathryn Hallett Ph.d
Jul 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shattering - what she has learned from god's silence is not he has forsaken us;
but rather we have forsaken our rules for living among and with each other.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book to read on retreat - or anytime.
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For all lovers of the word. For those who wrestle with, seek, and find God in silence. For those starving in a land of plenty.
Jenn Lee
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent.
John Simms
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, favorites
A wonderful, compelling and challenging book: one I am certain I will return to in the near future.
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book and just what I needed right now when there is so much turmoil and chaos in life and when the tunnel is so long and so dark. Lots of curves as well, so can't see the light at the end.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Not sure what I think of this book really. It was well written, but came to no conclusions. Not very encouraging!
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Reading this type of book is usually not my thing. This book was a big exception. I loved it. I will read it again.
Sep 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ministry
Very enlightening book on silence and how to preach silence and also how to preach in this noise filled world.
Monica Mullins
rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2007
rated it really liked it
Aug 29, 2009
Tom VB
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Nov 13, 2016
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Aug 28, 2011
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Feb 18, 2009
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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
More about Barbara Brown Taylor...

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“Anyone who stands up in front of other human beings to speak knows what a frightful gift it is. This power of ours has no safety catch on it. We are as likely to make nothing out of something as the other way around.” 1 likes
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