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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 25/100: Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith - Barbara Brown Taylor

Although I understand that faith, and reflecting on your life in the form of memoir, both require quite a bit of introspection, this book spent a little too much time inside the author's own head for it to be truly satisfying to me.

As someone who grew up in a tradition where women could not be ordained, I enjoyed the peek into the thoughts and life of a woman clergy member, and it jives with what I imagine the clergy I know probably experience. It also convinced me that, much as I love thinking/learning about religion, I could never be a member of the clergy -- WAY too much people management required.

Still, this book felt more like it was a big summary of the author's experience of deciding to transition from preacher to laity than a memoir where we got to take those steps with her. I wanted to know more about how she settled in to pastoring a small church after leaving a larger one, but it seemed she arrived and suddenly five years passed and she was leaving. What this book was really missing for me was CHARACTERS. I wanted to get to know some of the people who had an impact on her journey, or some of the bonds she made in her new town, or at the very least to get a sense of her husband's personality or their relationship. But everything that's not happening inside her own mind is periphery to the story, which makes this read more like a manifesto than a memoir.

Luckily, Barbara Brown Taylor is a competent writer, and her reflections on God are interesting, so spending over 200 pages inside her head isn't as bad as it might have been. I just would have liked to get out a little more.