The Luminous Web

Why We Are One

What I see is an infinite web of relationship, flung across the vastness of space like a luminous net. It is made of energy, not thread. As I look, I can see light moving through it as a pulse moves through veins. What I see “out there” is no different from what I feel inside. There is a living hum that might be coming from my neurons, but might just as well be coming from the furnace of the stars. When I look up at them, there is a small commotion in my bones as the ashes of dead stars that house my marrow rise up like metal filings toward the magnet of their living kin.

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
~ Chief Seattle, 1855

Where am I in this picture? I am all over the place. I am up there, down here, inside and outside of my skin. How could I ever be alone? I am part of a web that is pure relationship, with energy available to me that has been around since the universe was born.

Where is God in this picture? God is all over the place. God is up there, down here, inside and outside of my skin. God is the web, the energy, the space, the light—not captured in them, as if any one of those concepts was more real than what unites them—but revealed in that singular, vast net of relationship that animates everything that is.

It is not enough for me to proclaim that God is responsible for all of this unity. Instead, I want to proclaim that God is the unity—the very energy, the very intelligence, the very elegance and passion that make it all go. This is the God who is not somewhere, but everywhere; the God who may be prayed to in all directions at once. The “I am who I am,” in whom everything else abides.

For the moment, we see through a glass darkly. We live in the illusion that we are all separate “I ams.” When the fog finally clears, we shall know that there is only One.

Excerpted from The Luminous Web, by Barbara Brown Taylor, with permission of Cowley Publications.


About the Author

Barbara Brown Taylor is the Butman Professor of Religion at Piedmont College in rural northeast Georgia. An Episcopal priest since 1984, she is the author of twelve books, including the New York Times bestseller An Altar in the World. Her first memoir, Leaving Church, met with widespread critical acclaim, winning a 2006 Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. Taylor and her husband Ed live on a working farm in the foothills of the Appalachians with wild turkeys, red foxes, two old Quarter horses and too many chickens.


Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑

Network-wide options by YD - Freelance Wordpress Developer