From beloved writer and renowned preacher Barbara Brown Taylor comes a new collection of stories and sermons of faith, grace, and hope. Taylor, author of the best-selling books Holy Envy and An Altar in the World, among others, finds that when you are the invited guest speaking of faith to people you don't know, one must seek common ground: exploring the central human experience. Full of Taylor's astute observations on the Spirit and the state of the world along with her gentle wit, this collection will inspire Taylor’s fans and preachers alike as she explores faith in all its beauty and complexity.
Advance praise for Always a Guest
“Barbara Brown Taylor unleashes biblical wisdom like no other preacher I’ve ever heard or read. She meets us so hospitably in our messy humanity, and she reminds us of divine grace in her own beautiful, powerful way. Texts I’ve heard a thousand times feel new again. Ancient stories take on modern meaning. Love leaps off the page. And I feel God’s tender embrace as if for the first time.”
—Jeff Chu, author, Does Jesus Really Love Me? and cocurator, Evolving Faith
“I am incapable of being chill about this book or anything Barbara Brown Taylor writes, so brace yourself. She is one of my favorite writers, and this collection of her sermons will show you why she is also one of our generation’s greatest preachers. On themes from anxiety to beauty, resurrection to doubt, wisdom, and telling the truth, she does what all great preachers do: proclaims the gospel. Each sermon is a wide and good feast that will feed us for years to come.”
—Sarah Bessey, author, Miracles and Other Reasonable Things and Jesus Feminist
“I first met Barbara Brown Taylor’s breathtaking prose in Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith. I read it when I desperately needed to remember that I was ‘...still held in arms I could not see.’ Since then, I’ve had the honor to share sacred space with Barbara, spaces in which we are both sharing words from our heads and hearts. When I hear her speak, I’m mesmerized at the stunning tonic of intellect, breathtaking prose, rigorous research, and humble humor with which she offers wisdom and insight.
To read Barbara is to hear a cascade of words so true that you weep at the recognition. This book of sermons is no different. That she would share them with us means we will all preach more truthfully, write more incisively, and bear our souls to our God and our kin, knowing that this is the only way to create heaven on earth. With daring vulnerability in search of the holy inside each of us and all around us, Barbara leads the way.”
—Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church, and coauthor, Ten Essential Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial Congregation
“Esteemed preacher, professor, and writer Barbara Brown Taylor is always a guest as a preacher, but in these pages, she is such a gracious homiletical host. Readers are guests at a gospel feast through her lucid, loving, honest, humble sermons. At this linguistic table, strangers will not only find a home in God but feast on a Word who is both a holy guest and holy host through the Holy Ghost. This book is so delightfully human and a fine example of homiletical hospitality at its best. Taylor’s words are gifts of God for the people of God. They are verbal icons into the welcoming feast God has prepared for all. Thanks be to God!”
—Luke Powery, Dean, Duke University Chapel, and coeditor of the Connections lectionary preaching commentary series
“Barbara Brown Taylor is the master craftsperson of preaching. Elegantly weaving the Bible, the news, humor, and storytelling in a way that leaves the listener both satisfied and changed. In a sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan, she writes, ‘Maybe it is a better idea to let our lives teach us what to believe instead of making our lives conform to our beliefs.’ The disarming maybe hides a commandment, a truth of the nature of God revealed by the great preacher. This book is a beautiful chronicle of a traveling teacher, from graduation ceremonies to Sunday pulpits, inviting the reader to join her on the way.”
—Winnie Varghese, Priest and Director, Justice and Reconciliation, Trinity Church Wall Street
“Barbara Brown Taylor never disappoints. As a collection of thirty-one Sunday sermons, delivered by a guest preacher, it’s like a month of Sundays, perfect for just-before-going-to-sleep or coffee and quiet time in the morning. Precise words, funny and profound turns of phrase, brilliant illumination of the gospel, and deep respect for those listening in the pews, make this ‘classic BBT!!’”
—Bishop Gene Robinson, Vice President of Religion, Chautauqua Institution