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recycled soul

a collection of quotations, poems, images, and songs that inspire me

"Meanwhile, here is some good news you can use: even when light fades and darkness falls—as it does every single day, in every single life—God does not turn the world over to some other deity. Even when you cannot see where you are going and no one answers when you call, this is not sufficient proof that you are alone. There is a divine presence that transcends all your ideas about it, along with all your language for calling it to your aid, which is not above using darkness as the wrecking ball that brings all your false gods down—but whether you decide to trust the witness of those who have gone before you, or you decide to do whatever it takes to become a witness yourself, here is the testimony of faith: darkness is not dark to God; the night is as bright as the day."
Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark

"Our words are too fragile. God’s silence is too deep. But oh, what gorgeous sounds our failures make: words flung against the silence like wine glasses pitched against the hearth. As lovely as they are, they are meant for smashing. For when they do, it is as if a little of God’s own music breaks through."
Barbara Brown Taylor, When God is Silent (via invisibleforeigner)
"Here is a helpful reminder to all who fear the dark. Darkness does not come from a different place than light; it is not presided over by a different God. The long nights of Advent and the early mornings of Easter both point us toward the God for whom darkness and light are alike. Both are fertile seasons for those who walk by faith and not by sight. Even in the dark, the seed sprouts and grows—we know not how—while God goes on giving birth to the truly human in Christ and in us."
Barbara Brown Taylor, “Redeeming Darkness” (Christian Century, 11/29/11)
"You will think of [many] ways to get lost, or to accept that you really have gotten lost through no choice of your own. It can happen anywhere, in all kinds of ways. You can get lost on your way home. You can get lost looking for love. You can get lost between jobs. You can get lost looking for God. However it happens, take heart. Others before you have found a way in the wilderness, where there are as many angels as there are wild beasts, and plenty of other lost people too. All it takes is one of them to find you. All it takes is you to find one of them. However it happens, you could do worse than to kneel down and aska blessing, remembering how many knees have kissed this altar before you."
Barbara Brown Taylor (via mshedden)
Smashings Idols Through Pain
Smashings Idols Through Pain

A short video of Barbara Brown Taylor discussing pain. I am immensely grateful for her wisdom. 

"Soon after I moved to the country, a friend from the city set out to see me and got seriously lost. These were the days before cell phones, so she was on her own with nothing but my directions and a badly out-of-date map. Already an hour later than she wanted to be, she was speeding through the little town of Mount Airy when she saw the blue lights in her rearview mirror. I forgot to warn her that Mount Airy was a speed trap. Busted, she pulled over on the shoulder of the road and had her license ready when the officer arrived at her window.

'I am so sorry,' she said, handing it to him along with her registration. 'I know I was speeding, but I've been lost for the last forty minutes and I cannot find Tower Terrace anywhere on this map.'

'Well, I'm sorry about that too, ma'am,' he said, writing up her citation, 'but what made you think that hurrying would help you find your way?'

What made any of us think that the place we are trying to reach is far, far ahead of us somewhere and that the only way to get there is to run until we drop? For Christians, at least part of the answer is that many of us have been taught to think of God’s kingdom as something outside ourselves, for which we must search as a merchant searches for the pearl of great price. But even that points to a larger and more enduring human problem, which is the problem of mortality. With a limited number of years to do whatever it is that we are supposed to be doing here, who has time to stop?

According to the Hebrew Bible, everyone does, for at least one full day every week.”

Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it. (Exodus 20:8-11) 

Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church

"Sometimes we do not know what we know until it comes to us through the soles of our feet, the embrace of a tender lover, or the kindness of a stranger. Touching the truth with our minds alone is not enough. We are made to touch it with our bodies. I think this is why Christian tradition clings to the reality of resurrection, even when no one can explain it to anyone else’s satisfaction. The immortality of the soul is much easier to conceive than the resurrection of the body. What? You mean a stopped heart suddenly starts again? You mean a dead body gets up with a growling stomach? No, I mean God loves bodies. I mean that in some way that defies all understanding, God means to welcome risen bodies and not just disembodied souls to heaven’s banquet table. The resurrection of the dead is the radical insistence that matter matters to God."
Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World
"In biblical terms, it is wisdom we need to live together in this world. Wisdom is not gained by knowing what is right. Wisdom is gained by practicing what is right, and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds and when it fails. Wise people do not have to be certain what they believe before they act. They are free to act, trusting that the practice itself will teach them what they need to know. If you are not sure what to think about washing feet, for instance, then the best way to find out is to practice washing a pair or two. If you are not sure what to believe about your neighbor’s faith, then the best way to find out is to practice eating supper together. Reason can only work with the experience available to it. Wisdom atrophies if it is not walked on a regular basis."
Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World
"Human beings may separate things into as many piles as we wish—separating spirit from flesh, sacred from secular, church from world. But we should not be surprised when God does not recognize the distinctions we make between the two. Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars."
Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World