Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Yesterday as I was running errands, I tuned into the last part of "Fresh Air." Terry Gross was interviewing a softspoken woman who had apparently left the Episcopal priesthood in order to teach. At that moment the conversation was about how differently people treat her now that she isn't wearing a clerical collar and they don't know she's clergy. She said "At last I know how people talk when they don't think there's a minister around!"

Terry asked her whether the ordination of gay bishops was worth a possible split in the Anglican communion. She tried to dodge the question at first, while coming out strongly in favor of gay biships and gay people in general ("all are children of God, who am I to judge," things like that). Terry was as relentless as I've ever heard her in pursuing an answer to her original question, and finally the woman said yes, she did think it was an issue worthy of a possible split. She said "The Episcopal church didn't split in the 50's over the issue of integration, though it could have. That was an issue worth splitting over, and I think this one is, too."

Meanwhile I'm parked in front of the cleaners not getting out of the car, because I want to find out who this woman is whom I already love. Turns out it's Barbara Brown Taylor, of Christian Century fame. She has recently written a book about her experience of leaving parish ministry, called (appropriately) Leaving Church.

So I swung by the local bookstore (the last independent bookstory in the county) to see if they have the book. The owner, with whom I am on first name terms because I'm a good customer, said he'd order one on spec because he's sold her books before, and if I don't want to buy it after I see it, someone else will.

I can count on Terry Gross to introduce me to some fascinating and wonderful authors. About a year and a half ago I had a similar experience tuning in part way through her interview with a man whose political views are like mine, but whose religious views clearly aren't. Turns out it was Jim Wallis, whose book God's Politics was creating quite a stir at the time. I devoured that book and came away with a new respect for what Christianity is really about (at least according to Jim Wallis).

Now I'm going to go read some Rebecca Parker on the post-apocalyptic age and how we can live in it.


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