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The Easter story helps an outsider preacher find his way home



Taylor gave an answer that day, but today she has another one: the story she can not quite figure out is her own.

But something happened to her as her reputation spread. She felt attracted to "Rose of another". She began to see beauty and truth in the religions of other people. And she was so disappointed with her own that she "could not look it in the eye".

Taylor once called himself "the detective of divinity" for her ability to gather evidence of God's genius. However, she sometimes had the feeling that she was guilty of a crime during her spiritual wanderings.

"The fear rose from a more primitive part of my brain that had learned to fear a jealous wrath of God when I did not love it and alone," says Taylor.

This was the complication of the conspiracy she faced in her story: What do you do if you're the superstar preacher, but you fall in love with other faiths than your own?

Easter morning would help her to give an answer.

A voice for anxious times

A story about doubt may be a strange topic for an Easter weekend. The traditional Easter message is a triumph: Jesus conquers death and sin through his resurrection. But for many Christians this is a hard Easter. Many do not feel so triumphant.

Christianity is in crisis. Catholics are losing faith in the church and clergy because of a continuing scandal against sexual abuse. Protestant churches in churches share issues such as gay clergy. There are now more Americans who claim no religion than evangelicals and Catholics.
  Taylor keeps eggs she has collected from her chickens. She calls the animals on her farm members of her community. Taylor keeps the eggs she has collected from her chickens. She calls the animals on her farm members of her community.
When Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames recently, some saw it as a foretaste of the future of the Church in the United States. They warned that the American churches are going to collapse. They envision a post-Christian future like Western Europe: fast-purging churches and ascending cathedrals no longer talking to people.

Few, if any, Christian leaders of the present day, like Taylor, address the spiritual unrest of that time. In her books "Leaving Church" and "Learning to Walk in the Darkness" she always seems to be on the move – leaving a spiritual rest stop for another exit on the street.

It has an "almost perfect pitch" for speaking to people's fears without leaving them hopeless, says Rev. Thomas G. Long, another acclaimed speaker. He was recently selected along with Taylor as one of the 12 most effective preachers in English in a prestigious preaching poll.

"It has such powerful gifts of language and narrative that its readers and listeners find their own questions that are expressed in a way that makes them say," Yes, yes, I feel that Long says. [194559002]

Why Taylor Fears True Believers

What Taylor Says On this last afternoon, it's hungry: It's noon when she visits a visitor on her remote farm in the northeastern corner

Now, 67, with a mass of dazzling white hair, Taylor moves to a spread in her kitchen that she has prepared for her guest.

"Fried eggs, good turkey buns," she says points to the food. "They eat the rest because I'm not leaving."

Taylors farm looks as picturesque as a postcard: rolling meadows, mountains looming on the horizon, a spacious porch with swings and cushions even has a small one Writing-room near her house, where she goes to work without distractions.

  An introverted person who longs for loneliness, Taylor often retreats to a small hut near her backyard to write.

One of her dogs greets the visitor at the entrance to her farm with some clever barks. Then he trudges around in a meadow. He has a lot of company. Taylor has two horses, two dogs, four cats, eleven guinea pigs and more chickens than she can count.

She shares the yard with her husband Ed. They married in 1982, a year before being ordained a bishop priest. Fourteen years her senior, he was never intimidated by a clerical collar woman.

"We were both stung when people shook my hand and completely ignored him," she says. "That's why he does not travel much with me, and it's a great relief for me that he does not, because when I come home from a trip, it's like a freshwater pool at the end of a dusty road." [19659002] Taylor has been traveling a lot lately to promote her latest book, Holy Envy. It describes what she calls "the shock of meeting God in so many new hats" as she taught a course on world religions at Piedmont College, a liberal art school in northern Georgia.

The book continues Taylor's tradition, as she calls it, "say things that you should not say." It picks up questions that annoy some Sunday School teachers: is Jesus the only way? Are all religions the same? If I love Buddhist meditation, can I still call myself a Christian?

The book has received much praise. Book critics and journalists love Taylor's work. Time Magazine once said that her writing "competes with the poetic power of CS Lewis and Frederick Buechner."

Yet their critics often react just as strongly to their work.

Some say she confers the beliefs of Christianity with self-confidence. Compliant theology of "happy faces and pumpkins in the sky". Others say she should add some social justice to her message – try less poetry and be more prophetic.

But others say their message is needed more than ever. After Taylor spoke at Concordia College Moorhead in Minnesota, Jacqueline Bussie, director of the Faith and Life Forum at the school, said more Americans would have to receive a dose of holy envy.

  Taylor feeds her horse Billy. The horses, chickens and dogs on their farm are returning in many of their stories.

The US is the most religious nation in the world, but "in this country you can graduate from college and still have no idea about religious practices, beliefs and the history of Billions of people, "says Bussie, author of Outlaw Christian. "That's negligence."

Personally, Taylor is playful, expressive with her hands and ironic. Her voice, however, gets annoyed as she tells how some Christians portray her as an outcast pastor.

She calls them the true believers.

"True believers are among the meanest people I've ever met," she says. She stretches her legs in a comfortable living room filled with books on poetry, religious icons, and a photo of her Oprah pose.

"I can not imagine anyone of a different faith who hurt me like Christians," she says. "Condemned, condemned to hell, expelled from the body of believers – check online."

Taylor, however, became one of her hardest critics when she saw a spiritual fear she never saw. 19659002]

A Pastor Making a Little Spiritual "Sleep"

Her spiritual crisis had no dramatic background – no spiritual breakthrough on a vision quest in the forest alone. She says she got lost in the church when she found a new home in the classroom.

When she started teaching a university course in world religions, something strange happened. She was thrilled when she taught the students different religions and brought them on field trips to mosques, temples, and Buddhist centers. However, as the syllabus of the class turned to Christianity, its fire blazed.

She began to feel as if she was "wallowing around" mentally. She began to collect Tibetan singing bowls, Hindu deities and Muslim prayer rugs. She felt like she was a spiritual shoplifter.

  Taylor carefully shows the Tibetan prayer book she keeps in her library.

And she was ashamed to learn how much her faith had "scorched" other religious traditions by the way believers treated non-Christians.

"Dressed, patronized, infantilized – treated as if you had never thought about the Divine and holy," she says.

Taylor knew what she had learned: Jesus was the way, redemption can not be found in any other name, and under the name of Jesus every knee will bow. But she also knew what she felt-something sacred she addressed, even if her name was not Jesus's.

In a passage, "Holy Envy," she writes, "Over the years, I have spent dozens of hours in the presence of Tibetan lamas directly speaking to my condition, and their conversations were as important to me as anything I learned from teachers In my own traditions … What does that mean? "

It did not bode well to think back to her days after persecuting a fear-based Christianity that she believed had left her , Scriptures in which God was called a "jealous God," and places where prophets called those who turned to other gods whores who flashed in their memory.

  Religious artifacts from around the world can be seen on Taylor's shelves

"The fear surprised me because it was not rational," she says. "I had been a seeker for a long time before I became a Christian, so it was natural for me to question everything."

Taylor felt that she felt like a small child, afraid that she would love her Heavenly Father's love for herself always lose.

How could she find her way back?

She opened her Bible and began to read about Jesus.

Where Jesus found love

She had a surprise. It turns out that the New Testament is full of the interfaith encounters of Jesus. Some of the most famous stories about Jesus show his admiration for people outside his religion.

She quotes some of them in her book: Jesus Is Astonished About the Faith of a Roman Centurion Who Wanted His Servant to Be Healed; the Samaritan leprosy sufferer who impressed Jesus with his gratitude; the Syrophaeean woman whose wit and love for her daughter Jesus had surprised.

They were all people who worshiped other gods or venerated the same Jesus in an unorthodox way, she says.

"If anything, the strangers seem to change Jesus' beliefs about where to find faith, well beyond the bounds he has raised to respect," she writes in "Holy Envy."

Taylor reinforces the point from her living room. Her voice gets louder. She no longer jokes and laughs. She goes into preaching mode.

"It's all on the side," she says. "It says on the page in the Bible about Jesus' dealings with women, Syroblonics, Canaanites, and Greeks, and he does not discern, he does not try to change everyone, he's just hungry people."

  Taylor collects Greens Growing on her farm for dinner.

Taylor no longer saw himself as the obstinate child who risked God's wrath because she was blinded by the faith of others.

"Now I do not believe that Jesus is mad at me because he found kindness in the faith of my religious neighbors because he did the same," she says.

Taylor is New Easter Sermon

However, there are still nagging questions about where Taylor stands with her own beliefs.

Did you stop being a Christian?

"No, I do not," she says. "That said, I am very aware that Jesus never commanded me to love my religion, He said I love God and your neighbor, that's all I can do day by day."

Is one still going to church?

Taylor has in recent years moved from a vast Protestant megachurch to a tiny Catholic parish in Afro-American to a church in a mall in a mall.

"I worship every day," she says. "Sometimes it's in churches, but sometimes it's tables, airports, city parks, and wild turkey forests."

These answers, however, are the kind of poetic reflection that still makes some Christians suspicious. Is she more than happy faces and pumpkins in the sky?

She does not sound like a person abandoning Christianity.

In "Holy Envy," she writes, "Like many other religious languages, me too." I'm learning, I'm dreaming in Christian. As much as I learn from other spiritual teachers, I came to Jesus at night.

  A painting named

[19459007

Easter morning also helps her find her way home.

She still believes in the Easter story just do not believe that this is the triumph of Christianity – proof that Christians have a monopoly on religious truth.

How can you believe in Easter without believing that Christ is the only way?

As she speaks now about God in the Easter story helps to explain why.

"These days I would say Easter is the outbreak of life from a grave as a great suprise of God, if it goes in a different direction and if in general, a proof that you can never predict how God will act next, "she says, while Taylor's mental unrest may be pushing her further in different directions, but she is no longer afraid of her belief in d he eyes to look.

"Now I cherish Easter as a reminder that you never know where life will come from next, and it makes no sense, because the day before yesterday clings the day before yesterday is dead, and today something is alive," she says.

Leaning forward on her sofa, her expression turns serious. She looks wide in the eyes and raises her hands as in a worship.

"Why not follow life and see where it leads, with a kind of confidence in the spirits' ability to blow where no one expected to blow, and in a direction that no one expected to enter – and be ready to be blown away. "


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