Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Leaving Church

A review of Barbara Brown Taylor's latest book, Leaving Church, is published at

The reviewer, fellow Episcopalian priest, Garret Keizer, draws in George Herbert, John Bunyan, Mitford and others in considering BBT's book.

Keizer mentions that Francine du Plessix Gray, in her biography of Simone Weil, retails several mystical experiences that altered Weil's life. For example, she witnessed a religious procession in a Portuguese fishing village and concluded that "Christianity is preeminently the religion of slaves". Keizer goes on to raise what is, in his view, "the most difficult question related to Leaving Church: Is middle-class Christianity even possible?.... In his Confessions of an Original Sinner (1990), the historian John Lukacs writes: "One cannot be deeply bourgeois and deeply Christian at the same time." Taylor's memoir has led me to think on that statement, perhaps harder than I ever have before. Are many of us predestined, sooner or later, to be "leaving church"? And if so, is that because our enjoyment of "the good life" is too far removed from "a religion of slaves," or because North American Christianity itself no longer professes such a religion, having become instead a trade show of pathologies and fussy preferences, which any sane person with a will to survive must eventually flee?"

I have long hoped that many if not most North American Christians will flee "North American Christianity" and instead become followers of Jesus the Lord.

According to the latest sociological research, if even 2% do so, it will not only change "North American Christianity" but will also thereby have some chance of saving North America from the plagues that are already beginning to beset it. Sphere: Related Content

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