Finding Our Rhythms In Changing Seasons: Barbara Brown Taylor Prays Us Into 2023
It’s the benediction episode in our “Ending the Year with a Bang” series and what a well of wisdom we have for you. The Dalia Lama of the Christian faith who resides in and walks the trails of beautiful rural Georgia–a For the Love favorite—Barbara Brown Taylor, shares her priceless insights with us. She and Jen talk blueberry pies, retired racehorses who get a second chance at life in her backyard, and making room for friendships when the world wants us, above all else, to be productive. She shares a “Farewell to 2022” prayer that she composed specifically for this podcast community (which might have elicited a tear or two) and how considering new rhythms in our day to day might bring us new life in 2023. Barbara wants to remind us that God created this world to be enjoyed and to heal and nurture us. As we contemplate how we are looking to live in this coming year, BBT has this to say to us all: “be patient with the changing seasons and not insisting that spring be like fall or that winter be like summer; trust the change in them. There’s a rhythm that is settling into a pattern and then there’s a point at which the rhythm means breaking the pattern to insert a slower rhythm, a more attentive rhythm. It is a great walk of trust.”
Hi everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your grateful host of For The Love Podcast. Welcome so much to the show. So we are in a little short series called For the Love of Ending the Year with a Bang. We can’t help it as we get to the end of the year, it’s just we’re thinking about closing some doors and opening new ones, and it’s just a date on a calendar. Life is actually linear and just continues to move forward. It’s something about changing the calendar to the next year. Just invites us, right? Invites us to take stock, to look backward, to look forward. So this is what we call our benediction episode of the year. We do it every year. It’s to give this community and ourselves a second to pause and to reflect and then look forward in anticipation of what’s coming.
And I don’t want to spend too much time right now going through the most painful communal memories of 2022, but every one of us knows that the world dealt us a lot of blows this year. There were losses, there were setbacks, but also worth noting, important to note there was joy too. 2022 was really from the get go for me, an injection of some unexpected happiness, a new relationship that I didn’t see coming, some healing, a continued growth. There were some beautiful parts of this year amidst the other things that were hard. And so that said, I want to spend some time also looking forward and thinking about our faith practices and how they serve us and how they operate during turbulence. Because there’s always turbulence, of course there is, there’s always change, there’s always loss, there’s always hard things as just as much as there’s always joy.
So let’s take some time today to reflect a little bit and briefly on what could faith look like activated in real lives. So I’ve asked the right person, just in case you’re thinking yikes, Faith, that triggers a lot of people and we bring a lot of baggage to the concept, be it from people or from church, whatever. But I want you to know that I hold the idea of our faith and would the most careful hands, I hope you know that about me by now. And only bring faith leaders to you that I believe serve us well and hold room for mystery and growth and curiosity, spiritual curiosity. And so today’s guest is, I mean she’s led me through all kinds of seasons of life, through her writing. I’m so grateful that she put her beautiful faith down in pen and ink. She is a kind of a quiet powerhouse of influence and leadership in the faith space and really a harbor of peace.
Today we have Barbara Brown Taylor. We’ve had Barbara on the show before, but if you don’t know this wonderful person, I’ve got you covered. Barbara’s a New York Times bestselling author. She’s a teacher, she’s an Episcopal priest. Her first memoir called Leaving Church. That was the first book I’ve ever read of hers. Won author of the year from Georgia Writer’s Association. And her latest work Rhythm of Prayer was really just a masterpiece. And it was compiled and edited by one of our other favorites for the love family, beloved Sarah Bessey. Barbara has been on Oprah, Super Soul Sundays, she’s been on faculties of all kinds. Piedmont College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Emory, McAfee School of Theology. It just goes on and on. Her credentials are very long, very amazing and very inspiring. But even more inspiring is just her. It’s just Barbara’s soul, it’s her way of being in the world.
And if you’ve never heard her, you’ll see what I mean in just a minute. You’ll hear the way she just quietly and wisely thinks and leads. And I just don’t know anyone like her. I really don’t. I don’t know anybody like her and she’s so special to me. And of course, if you didn’t know this, for every show we do here on the For the Love Podcast, we ask that final question, “What is saving your life right now?” That question is borrowed from Barbara. And she asked this years ago, and it was so profound a question to me that I asked it in my very first show and every single one since. So all the credit and gratitude to Miss Barbara for that, for the love stable as well. So this is a lovely connected conversation. It’s hopeful, it’s tender, it’s sweet. It ended up with me crying and crying and crying. So stick to the end. When Barbara reads a benediction, she wrote Just for the love community. So without any further ado, please enjoy this benediction with the wonderful Barbara Brown Taylor.
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XO – Team Jen