Leaving Church quotes by Barbara Brown Taylor

For a book club, I was asked to share some of my favourite quotes from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book Leaving Church. The book is the author’s journey of becoming an ordained priest, taking a small town parish, and leaving five years later. The book club facilitator was interested in my perspective as one who married a pastor and nearly two years ago, we left pastoring our church. In no particular order, here’s some of my favourite quotes from Leaving Church:

“Think hard before you do this,” one said to me when I told him I wanted to be ordained. “Right now, you have the broadest ministry imaginable. As a layperson, you can serve God no matter what you do for a living, and you can reach out to people who will never set foot inside a church. Once you are ordained, that is going to change. Every layer of responsibility you add is going to narrow your ministry, so think hard before you choose a smaller box.”

“Sometimes, when people were busy adoring me or despising me, I got the distinct impression that it was not about me at all. I reminded them of someone else who was no longer around but who had made such a large dent in their lives that they were still trying to work it out.”

“Because church people tend to think they should not fight, most of them are really bad at it.”

The following quote from page 120 comes after Barbara Brown Taylor was finally thrown in the swimming pool along with everyone else:

“I never found out who my savior was, but when I broke the surface, I looked around at all of those shining people with makeup running down their cheeks, with hair plastered to their heads, and I was so happy to be one of them. If being ordained meant being set apart from them, then I did not want to be ordained anymore. I wanted to be human. I wanted to spit food and let snot run down my chin. I wanted to confess being as lost and and found as anyone else without caring that my underwear showed through my wet clothes. Bobbing in that healing pool with all those other flawed beings of light, I looked around and saw them as I had never seen them before, while some of them looked at me the same way. The long wait had come to an end. I was in the water at last.”

“Although I never found a church where I felt completely at home again, I made a new home in the world. I renewed my membership in the priesthood of all believers, who may not have as much power as we would like, but whose consolation prize is the freedom to meet God after work, well away from all centers of religious command, wherever God shows up.”

If you haven’t read Leaving Church, I’d recommend it. Barbara Brown Taylor is an incredibly gifted writer. In the sharing of her story of Finding Church – Leaving – and Finding life again she has given us a gift. If you’ve read it, do you have a favourite quote to add?

Book Review: Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton


I first found Glennon via her viral blog posts. “Dear Chase (Be Kind & Brave)” and the one about her choosing to be grateful for an outdated kitchen are my top favourites! Since I love her work, I was eager to get my hands on this book. And considering that I have a 40 minute commute (each way), the book on cd was the way to go.

First up, the positives. I really like and prefer for the author to read the book. I was very glad that she did this! Secondly, I was glad to finally hear her autobiography. This book gives a good overview of her life (although mostly focused in on the struggles). There are definate moments in the book where Glennon’s wisdom hits a home run. With all that she’s been through (bullemia, addiction, her husband’s affairs) it’s evident that her strength is nothing short of a warrior.

With all that said, I found parts of this book to be difficult to read. Some sections felt quite dark and the new agey message (i.e. you are your own god) didn’t sit right with me.

Turns out, this is a book that I don’t see myself reading again. I’d give it a 3/5. If for nothing else, I’m glad that I read it for the “stay on your mat” story in the book. I say those exact words to myself from time to time and it has been very helpful.

Did you read Love Warrior? What did you think?

Book Review: SEVEN (an experimental mutiny against excess) by Jen Hatmaker


Here’s the write-up for “7” taken from Jen Hatmaker’s website:


American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.


Our church book club read “7” by Jen Hatmaker several months ago. Jen’s a fairly well known Christian speaker/blogger/writer and this was the first book of hers that I read. If you follow her blog, this book has a similar tone and style. The premise of “7” is that Jen sets out to simplify her life from excess by eliminating certain items per month (over 7 months) and she reflects on the challenges and shares her insights along the way.

Our book club was a little divided on reviews. Most really enjoyed the book and were personally challenged. One didn’t like the writing style and Jen’s gregarious personality. With that said, everyone appreciated Jen’s heart and humility. We all loved certain stories she shared re: giving up their brand new boots, giving away her purses, and an Easter service for the homeless, etc. All of the ladies at book club agreed that it would have been nice to read  Jen’s thoughts and reflections a year after her experiment. Since this book was written while she was in the midst of eliminating an area of excess each month, we were curious what the long term changes for their family were. Overall, “7” was a worth while read that helps one to consider how much we waste, how much stuff we don’t really need, and how to better focus on what really matters.


Book Review: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Recently, I started a book club. I love to read but often forget to make time for it. Creating a book club seemed like the perfect solution. Our first book was “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom. It came highly recommended and several thought that it would be a good one for our church book club. Well, it certainly was!

I wasn’t prepared for how wonderful, inspiring, sad, and unforgetable this book is. I fell in love with Corrie and her family. At times, I was amazed by the fact that a woman who died before I was born was influencing me so greatly. I believe that those who enjoy reading about history (in particular WW2) and those who want to be challenged in their faith will appreciate “The Hiding Place”. It definitely would fall in my top 10 books to read before you die, likely it would be in the top 5!

If you haven’t read “The Hiding Place” before, I highly recommend that you do. It will not leave you the same. You will be glad you looked past the cover and read the gold that lies between these pages.


Book Review: No Kidding

Hubby and I enjoy going to Chapters (a large book store in Canada). We grab a drink from Starbucks and look at books. A couple months ago, I came across “No Kidding” and it became the one that I browsed through whenever in Chapters. This collection of personal stories are short, easy to read, and thought provoking.

book-review-no-kidding-women-writers-on-bypas-L-NzEZ2vI opened this book expecting to read stories by women who are happy with their choice not to have children. To my surprise,  I didn’t find this book to be all positive re: being child-free. While some of the stories left me feeling neutral or encouraged, there were quite a few stories that left me feeling sad and discouraged. In some cases, I wasn’t convinced the author made the “right” choice to remain child-free. Some woman knew since they were a child that they did not want to raise children. Often, this early “knowing” was a direct result of a troubled childhood OR a mother who complained and/or looked miserable while raising them. Other women in this book placed their career as their “baby” and before they knew it, their possibility to have children biologically was nil as their egg supply was finito. There were others who called themselves “conservative or traditional” who didn’t have children as they held out for marriage and it never happened. These women were not willing to parent without an equally committed partner.

An encouraging theme through out the book was that regardless of the reason for remaining child-free, all of the woman feel that they are living a full life. None of these women are in a deep dark hole as a result of never having children. Some feel that not having children was the best thing they ever did. While others, not sure if it was the best idea, have come to terms with their reality. Even the select few who still experience some longing re: children (but its no longer a possibility) are mostly satisfied with their life. As a result of this book, I’m more aware of the variety of paths that lead a person to live child-free.  And encouraged that these authors are happily living their lives – whether they intended all along to be child-free or not.

Book Review: Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos


In Instant Mom, Nia (writer and actress for the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding) shares about her fertility struggles and her experience of building her family through adoption. This book could appeal to a variety of people – those experiencing infertility, those considering adoption, those who have already adopted, etc.

While I really liked Instant Mom, one problem that I had with it is that Nia seems to promote foster care adoption with a “just do it” attitude. She doesn’t point out that her adoption experience from foster care is a unique one (her child was given up for adoption rather than removed from the parents due to abuse or neglect). The problem with the “just adopt” message is that adoptive parents may be ill prepared for the challenges that come with adoption.

While this book has a strong focus on children/adoption, I believe that most would enjoy learning a bit more about who Nia is and her life. A person who doesn’t take themselves too seriously is refreshing to be around (that’s Nia). And her “I will not give up!” power is very impressive and inspiring. Also, who doesn’t enjoy a story about a Canadian girl who defines all odds and makes it big in Hollywood? There’s interesting Hollywood and Greek stories sprinkled through out. Despite the writing style, I really enjoyed Instant Mom. It was an interesting, informative, and entertaining (sometimes very funny!) read.

Book Review: Kisses from Katie


This is the story of a well-to-do American girl who leaves her yellow convertible behind to live in Uganda for a year after high school. She ends up feeling that Uganda is home and stays (she later ends up adopting 13 girls).

Where to begin? I was looking for a book that may challenge me to grow in faith. Kisses from Katie did just that. This book is difficult for me to critique as it felt more like an experience than a book. I’d compare reading Kisses from Katie to going on a missions trip. Have you ever heard a person come back from a missions trip and say that they have a hard time explaining what it was like and how it changed them for the better? This is how I feel reflecting on Kisses from Katie.

Warning: this book may cause you to want to leave everything you know and live in a 3rd world country. At the very least, you may look at your own wealth and ability to help others in a new way. Katie states that she doesn’t want all of her readers to move to Uganda, rather, she wants us to see that there’s more we are capable of doing right where we are at. This is a book that was an experience that has left me wrestling. I highly recommend it!