Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

One of the nicest perks of working for a magazine is getting to pick over the books sent for review. Although we didn’t review it, I quickly snatched up Barbara Brown Taylor’s Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith.

Barbara Brown Taylor is an editor‐at‐large at The Christian Century, where I first read her writing. These autobiographical musings are rich and wonderfully written. But beyond that, I loved the book because it spoke in part to where I am, spiritually.

While definitely about leaving church, it’s also about keeping faith. Indeed, the three major sections are “Finding,” “Losing,” and “Keeping.” Taylor describes her call to ministry, and even as it was clear that some of what she hoped for was a false hope, and that she eventually burned out, I found myself thinking, but yes, I want that. And then as she describes her fatigue, lack of patience and compassion, and resentment, I thought, yes, I’ve felt that. Her descriptions of what she’s doing in order to keep her faith have some resonance for me, but mostly I just found them inspiring and hopeful. Of course, the fact that she’s written a book would indicate that she’s a bit farther along that third part of the journey than I.