In Speaking of Sin, Barbara Brown Taylor brings her fresh perspective to a cluster of words that often cause us discomfort and have widely fallen into neglect: sin, damnation, repentance, penance, and salvation. She asks, “Why, then, should we speak of sin anymore? The only reason I can think of is because we believe that God means to redeem the world through us. “Abandoning the language of sin will not make sin go away. Human beings will continue to experience alienation, deformation, damnation and death no matter what we call them. Abandoning the language will simply leave us speechless before them, and increase our denial of their presence in our lives. Ironically, it will also weaken the language of grace, since the full impact of forgiveness cannot be felt apart from the full impact of what has been forgiven.” Contrary to the prevailing view, Taylor calls sin “a helpful, hopeful word.” Naming our sins, she contends, enables us to move from “guilt to grace.” In recovering this “lost language of salvation” in our worship and in the fabric of our individual lives, we have an opportunity to “take part in the divine work of redemption.”
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About the Author
Barbara Brown Taylor is an Episcopal priest. She holds the Harry R. Butman Chair in Religion and Philosophy at Piedmont College in northeastern Georgia and serves as adjunct professor of Christian spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur. Recognized as one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English language by Baylor University in 1995, Taylor has published numerous collections of her sermons and theological reflections, including Mixed Blessings, The Preaching Life, The Luminous Web, The Preaching Life, Bread of Angels, and Gospel Medicine.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Taylor is easy to read, and down to earth. This book is direct and won't lose or threaten the reader in its holiness perspective. It forces one to look at what we have done to excuse our bad behavior - and why we tolerate and thus invite - sin, and thus evil. In misunderstanding Christianity, psychology, redemption, grace, sin, guilt, we often shrug our difficulties or disagreements off as 'just semantics.' Semantics are important after all, because this is how we communicate. This is a keeper.