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Quotes of the day: Barbara Brown Taylor

Published Wednesday, September 21, 2016 @ 4:42 AM EDT
Sep 21 2016

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. September 21, 1951) is an American Episcopal priest, professor, author and theologian and is one of the United States' best known preachers. In 2014, Time magazine placed her in its annual Time 100 list of most influential people in the world. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Baptism and narcissism cancel each other out.

Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.

Every human interaction offers you the chance to make things better or to make things worse.

Every major spiritual tradition in world has something significant to say about importance of paying attention.

Every one of us will change the world, whether we mean to or not.

Human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God.

Humanity can be pretty stinky.

I have found things while I was lost that I might never have discovered if I had stayed on the path.

I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.

I have learned to prize holy ignorance more highly than religious certainty and to seek companions who have arrived at the same place.

I think we'd like life to be like a train, but it turns out to be a sailboat.

If outer darkness is the cloud where we store our inner fears, how much will the real world suffer from our collective fear of the dark? How much will we pay to fuel the engines that keep our world lit, rather than doing what is necessary to feel safer inside ourselves?

It does seem to me that at least some of us have made an idol of exhaustion. The only time we know we have done enough is when we are running on empty and when the ones we love most are the ones we see the least.

Jesus was not killed by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix.

Most of us spend so much time thinking about where we have been or where we are supposed to be going that we have a hard time recognizing where we actually are.

No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it.

Once I gave up the hunt for villains, I had little recourse but to take responsibility for my choices.

Salvation happens every time someone with a key uses it to open a door he could lock instead.

The best way to grow empathy for those who are lost is to know what it means to be lost yourself.

The deep reason we need one another is to save us from believing in our own self sufficiency.

The great wisdom traditions of the world all recognize that the main impediment to living a life of meaning is being self- absorbed.

The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do.

There is a light that shines in the darkness, which is only visible there.

There will always be people who run from every kind of pain and suffering, just as there will always be religions that promise to put them to sleep.

To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good.

To lie flat on the ground with the breath knocked out of you is to find a solid resting place.

We are all so busy constructing zones of safety that keep breaking down, that we hardly notice where all the suffering is coming from.

We are never more in danger of stumbling than when we think we know where we are going.

When someone asks us where we want to be in our lives, the last thing that occurs to us is to look down at our feet and say, 'Here, I guess, since this is where I am.'

Wisdom is not gained by knowing what is right. Wisdom is gained by practicing what is right, and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds and when it fails.

Categories: Barbara Brown Taylor, Quotes of the day


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