Barbara Brown Taylor is an Episcopal priest and former rector of Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church in Clarkesville, Georgia. She currently holds the Harry R. Butman Chair in Religion and Philosophy at Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. A popular preacher, speaker, and workshop leader, she was recently noted in Newsweek as one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English language.
"When St. Luke the physician left his medical practice for the preaching life, he did not stop carrying his black bag. He simply repacked it, taking out the scissors, the scalpel and the tincture of iodine to make room for the medicine of the gospelthe healing stories of God."
Gospel medicine is Barbara Taylor's metaphor for the healing power of God seen in the active and ongoing restoration of this broken world. In this new collection of sermons she practices the old-fashioned art of gospel home remedies like a true evangelist, summoning with piercing clarity and wit the Old and New Testament stories that have the power to mend our spirits, strengthen our weaknesses, and restore us to wholeness.
Scripture comes to life in the contemporary people and places of which Taylor speaks. Georgia apple-growers become God's sharecroppers of the gospel parable; through Mary's embracing of her role as God-bearer we are dared to take risks in our own discipleship; in Jonah's angry stand-off with God we see reflections of our own struggles with a God who is more forgiving than we want him to be; with tender awe after years of waiting Sarah wipes her hands on her apron and goes to tell Abraham she is to bear a child. Through the stories of Scripture, Taylor addresses with moving simplicity the contemporary wounds of anger, abandonment, fear of judgment, and a longing for home, healing, and mercy.
"Barbara Brown Taylor possesses a gift that is in short supply these days: the gift of conveying a living sense of the transcendent, the holy, and the grace-full in and through the stuff of our lives." Sewanee Theological Review
"Barbara Brown Taylor has the rare combination of a sturdy theological mind and a receptive, almost wide-eyed, openness to experience. She is amazingly non-judgmental. She does not sort experiences or people into good and bad boxes, but dwells patiently and expectantly with them, confident that God has something to teach her in virtually everything." Thomas G. Long, Princeton Theological Seminary
Reviewed in ECW Communique (Summer 1995) by Jenny Ladefoged
"Gospel Medicine by Barbara Brown Taylor is a book of sermons that read like short stories. The book is packed with memorable sayings and word pictures: 'In case you have not noticed, Christianity is a religion in which the sinners have all the advantages,' reads one. I read one of these sermons out loud, just to see whether they spoke as well as they read. They do. I envy Barbara Taylor's congregation being able to have a new story each week. And that is my only problem with books of short stories: you are no sooner involved in reading when you come to an abrupt stop. I hope that someday Barbara Brown Taylor writes us a book-long sermon!"
Reviewed in Anglican Theological Review (Summer 1995) by Donald Winslow
"Those who have read Barbara Brown Taylor's The Preaching Life will surely welcome Gospel Medicine. Like her earlier work, this is a collection of sermons that address a variety of life situations. Taylor is a preacher/writer of uncommon skill, a homiletical thaumaturgist, if you will. I wish I had heard these sermons preached (in Grace-Calvary Church in Clarkesville, Georgia, where Taylor is rector), but reading them has also been to hear them in all their capacity to stir the heart. There must be few one-volume collections of sermons that approach Gospel Medicine in quality. When did one last finish, as I did, a book of sermons in one sitting? Taylor will catch your attention with a riveting phrase or striking allusion as she leads you down unfamiliar pathways where, to your surprise, you will discover new/old truths about yourself, your community, and your world."
Reviewed in the Review and Expositor (Fall 1995) by Raymond Bailey
"Barbara Brown Taylor has won the respect of homileticians through her writing, lectures, and sermons at preaching conferences. This book of sermons will only enhance her reputation for theological insight and gracious speech. The gospel she shares is fresh and clear. She writes with the feeling of the poet and the warmth of a personal friend who understands the struggle to be human and Christian. Everyone can be enriched by the inspirational value of this book. Preachers can be instructed by these excellent rhetorical models."
Reviewed in Faith at Work (Winter 1996) by Ruth Butler
"Almost every family, even every individual, has a few legendary 'home remedies' that are passed along. In these down to earth observations on God's presence in a broken world, Ms. Taylor re-examines a few of the 'tried and true' Old and New Testament stories with a fresh and a sharp discerning eye."
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