When I read Rachel Held Evans book “Searching for Sunday” earlier this year I was expecting a gentle journey through the heartbreak of getting battered in the evangelical church and a hopeful journey to a solution that retained faith while rejecting the failures of the church. Instead I got a deeply flawed book (see my review here) that failed on all counts.
Leaving Church met the need I was looking for the Evan’s book. Barbara Brown Taylor tells the story of her entrance into the priesthood and how she eventually needed to leave. Her writing is phenomenal and she carries a humility about the whole experience. She doesn’t point fingers at others, but rather identifies the pressures of being a human stepping into a role where many see you substituting for the Divine. It’s hard to keep perspective in this type of a role, and unchecked the pressure will bring you into crisis. You never feel that Taylor has lost faith, just that she has lost the ability to function within the church hierarchy. Yet, she is still hopeful about her faith and about the ability of the Divine to meet her where she is. She isn’t bitter about her church, or blame them for the pressure. She identifies the honor of holding that position, while showing the cracks as they emerged in her psyche.
If it’s not obvious, I loved this book. I think it’s a must read for pastors and others in full time ministry and a useful read for everyone who has ever questioned faith, the church, and what happens if you have to step away.