Spirituality

The liberation of saying ‘No’

It may be that vice, depravity, and crime are nearly always, or perhaps even always, in their essence, attempts to eat beauty, to eat what we should only look at.

Thus Simone Weil in Waiting for God. Quoting Weil in an interview with The Other Journal, Barbara Brown Taylor comments:

To learn to look at things instead of devouring them is to discover how quickly the feeling of deprivation can turn to liberation instead. Every time I say no – to more stuff, more speed, more activity, more food – this great big space opens up in my life. … If the church is meant to embody an alternative way of life, then what better witness could there be than a community that decided to live on less in order to live more richly? That sounds like the kind of truth that could make people free.

Theology

God visits us right where we are

Commenting on the story of Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28:11-22, Barbara Brown Taylor (in An Altar in the World: Finding the Sacred Beneath Our Feet) notes that

even though [Jacob’s] family had imploded, even though he had made his brother angry enough to kill him, even though he was a scoundrel from the word go – God decided to visit Jacob right where he was, though Jacob had not been right about anything so far and never would be.

God visiting us right were we are, no matter how messy our life may be, that’s what the gospel is all about. That’s why it’s called ‘good news’.

Spirituality

People in need of saving

We believed that God’s home was the church …, and that the world was a barren place full of lost souls in need of all the help they could get. […] 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. … What if a lost soul strikes God as more reachable than a lifelong believer?

Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: Finding the Sacred Beneath Our Feet

Spirituality

Divine spaciousness in all the tight places

Salvation is a word for the divine spaciousness that comes to human beings in all the tight places where their lives are at risk, regardless of how they got there or whether they know God’s name. Sometimes it comes as an extended human hand and sometimes as a bolt from the blue, but either way it opens a door in what looked for all the world like a wall.

Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith