In Speaking of Sin, Barbara Brown Taylor brings her fresh perspective to words that often cause us discomfort and have widely fallen into neglect: sin, damnation, repentance, penance, and salvation.
Asking why we should speak of sin at all, she argues that abandoning words will not make sin go away, and that alienation, deformation, damnation and death will continue no matter what we call them. Abandoning the language will simply leave us speechless before them, and increase our denial of their presence in our lives. Ironically, it will also weaken the language of grace, since the full impact of forgiveness cannot be felt apart from the full impact of what has been forgiven.
Contrary to the prevailing view, Taylor calls sin "a helpful, hopeful word." Naming our sins, she contends, enables us to move from guilt to grace. In recovering this lost language of salvation in our worship and in the fabric of our individual lives, we have an opportunity to take part in the divine work of redemption.