Review – The Healing Word

The Healing WordIt’s an average book of short sermons.

That pretty much sums up my impression of this book of collected preachings of Barbara Brown Taylor, The Healing Word. They are divided into themes like healing and promises. but it’s pretty obvious that these are texts that have first been preached from the pulpit and then edited for release on paper. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (Spurgeon was famous for preaching a sermon in the morning for it to be printed up and published up and down the country by the evening) but the impression is that there is really no coherent theme in this collection of homileys.

And the homileys are tedious. I mean, yes, I come from a tradition of exegetical preaching and theological mining (just go and listen to some of my more recent sermons) but I recognise the art of the ten minute sermon (carefully timed to allow the whole service to be done and dusted within the hour). But in the entire book I couldn’t find one single theological gem. I mean, I know Barbara Brown Taylor is a well-renowned preacher and theologian, but the impression I was left with from this book was that she was more of the tea and sympathy breed then anything attempting real grappling with the texts.

I guess some people who like platitudinous homiletics might like this, and it’s not as if there was anything even approaching heterodoxy in anything Brown Taylor wrote, it’s just that after reading this for review I know that I’m pretty well never going to pick up my copy again.

Basically it is, as I said before, an average book of short sermons.

Do Buy if… you want some nice simple sermons to read before you go to bed
Don’t Buy if… you expect sermons to have any meat to them

5 out of 10

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First Week of Advent
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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Two Final Things

Aber mit der Heimat
geht man immer herum,
durch die Welt,
dort und dort
Peter Handke

No one could describe
the Word of the Father;
but when He took flesh from you, O Theotokos,
He consented to be described, and restored the fallen image to its former beauty.
We confess and proclaim our salvation in word and image.
Kontakion of the Triumph of Orthodoxy