Always a Guest: Speaking of Faith Far from Home

Westminster John Knox. Oct. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9780664261702. $25. REL
Episcopal priest Taylor (Learning To Walk in the Dark) is a well-known speaker and writer who bills herself as a “spiritual contrarian,” declaring, “I say things you’re not supposed to say.” Taylor keeps that promise in her latest book, which is a collection of sermons delivered to various congregations over the past decade or so. The author uses her role as guest speaker to challenge traditional thought about the teachings of Jesus and Christian norms. Each of Taylor’s 31 thought-provoking discourses are based on a scriptural passage made relevant to believers’ everyday lives: “Believing Thomas” shows us that it’s okay and only logical to harbor doubts from time to time; the “Widow’s Might” is not a story of one woman’s ultimate sacrifice but of people and institutions that fail to use their power to care for those who are poor and powerless; the “Good Heretic” informs us that the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that instead of trying to make our lives conform to unexamined belief systems, we should allow events in our lives to shape our beliefs.
VERDICT Taylor’s writing is lyrical and compelling, a feast for the senses and the intellect. Recommended for all libraries.
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