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DENVER, Colorado (RNS) — When LifeWay, the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, asked American pastors to rank the most influential living Protestant preachers in 2010, only one woman made the list, and only one minister from outside the Baptist fold: in both cases, that was the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest, teacher and author from Northern Georgia.
Her renown isn’t restricted to the professionals, either. Her 14 books and her preaching have brought her recognition on TIME magazine’s list of its ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ in 2014. In 2016 she received the President’s Medal at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.
Prowess - Pulpit - Book - Church - Brown
For all her prowess in the pulpit, perhaps her best-known book is her memoir “Leaving Church,” in which Brown Taylor recounts the often-painful, if ultimately redemptive, journey away from pastoring. The book, her first memoir, won her an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. Her fourth memoir, “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others,” was released in March 2019.
Brown Taylor, a speaker at the recent Evolving Faith conference in Denver, talked with Religion News Service about the event, finding community in the wilderness and the difficulty of deconstructing faith at any age.
People - Lot - People - Age - Reformation
“It turns out people here are dealing with what a lot of people my age are dealing with, which is a reformation — here, I hear it called a ‘deconstruction’ — of faith. It’s interesting that people in the third part of life are doing the same thing (as) people in the maybe second.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Distinction - Reformation - Deconstruction - Age - Versus
You made a distinction between reformation or deconstruction in middle age versus “the third part of life.” How are the two ages different?
At this conference, the deconstruction (relates to) a form of evangelical Christianity that...
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