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Barbara Brown Taylor ’76MDiv: seeking faith in darkness

Barbara Brown Taylor ’76MDiv “came to Yale Divinity School as a seeker,” a university fund-raising blurb says.

“However, once immersed in the community and academic resources at Yale, Taylor’s sense of vocation began to solidify.” She became “a re­nowned preacher, Episcopal priest, writer, and teacher.”

That doesn't mean Taylor has stopped seeking.

“For many years, I thought my questions and my doubt and my sense of God’s absence were all signs of my lack of faith,” she tells Time magazine, which just named her one of the year's 100 most influential people. ”But now I know this is the way the life of the spirit goes.”

That's a theme of the Georgia-based Taylor's new book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, in which she discovers a “spirituality of darkness” by journeying into “dark caves, underground nightclubs, subterranean chapels, and unlit cabins in the woods on nights with no moons.”

One of her 12 previous books, When God is Silent—drawn from lectures she delivered at the Yale Divinity School in 1997—similarly is “a book for those who struggle,” in the words of one reader/reviewer.

“If you are in the dark,” Taylor tells Time, “it does not mean that you have failed.”

A number of other Yale alumni likewise did not fail, in Time's estimation. Among those on the Time 100 list—most of them also former Yale Alumni Magazine Newsmakers—are economist Anat Admati ’83 PhD, California governor Jerry Brown ’64LLB, needs-no-description Hillary Rodham Clinton ’73JD, Secretary of State John Kerry ’66, songwriter Robert Lopez ’97, and Fed chair Janet Yellen ’71PhD.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

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