An inspirational guide to the key junctures in life that, if navigated with faith and discernment, pave the way for us to become our most courageous selves, by the bishop of the famed Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.
The decisive moments in life are those pivot points when we’re called on to push past our fears and act with strength. With How We Learn to Be Brave, Bishop Mariann Budde teaches us to respond with clarity and grace even in the toughest times. Being brave is not a singular occurrence; it’s a journey that we can choose to undertake every day. Here, Bishop Budde explores the full range of decisive moments, from the most visible and dramatic (the decision to go), to the internal and personal (the decision to stay), to brave choices made with an eye toward the future (the decision to start), those born of suffering (the decision to accept that which we did not choose), and those that come unexpectedly (the decision to step up to the plate). Drawing on examples ranging from Harry Potter to the Gospel According to Luke, she seamlessly weaves together personal experiences with stories from scripture, history, and pop culture to underscore both the universality of these moments and the particular call each one of us must heed when they arrive. With Bishop Budde’s wisdom, readers will learn to live and to respond according to their true beliefs and in ways that align with their best selves. How We Learn to Be Brave will provide much-needed fortitude and insight to anyone searching for answers in uncertain times.
About the Author
Mariann Edgar Budde is the bishop and spiritual leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., and the Washington National Cathedral. Prior to her election in 2011, she was a parish priest in Minneapolis for eighteen years. She has appeared on PBS NewsHour, Meet the Press, Good Morning America, and the Today show, among others. Bishop Budde earned her master’s in divinity and doctor of ministry from Virginia Theological Seminary.
"With clarity, conviction, and a sure sense of the perils and the possibilities of the human condition, Bishop Mariann Budde has given us a great gift: A book that explores how God's children can stand up for the principles of His kingdom in a frail and fallen world. Courage, it has been said, is the most important virtue since it guarantees all the others, and Bishop Budde's searching account of her struggle to be brave is itself an act to be admired and absorbed."—Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America and And There Was Light
"In sharing her story and that of others who have faced real challenges with ‘grit and grace,’ my good friend and fellow bishop Mariann Budde reminds us that extraordinary courage is possible for ordinary people. To help us she offers both the faith and the tools that make such courage possible for us."—The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and author of Love is the Way and The Power of Love
"It is easy to forget the simple, important dynamics of courageous leadership and living. Bishop Budde has given us all a thoughtful reminder."—Steve Leder, New York Times bestselling author of For You When I Am Gone
“'Hope,' St. Augustine said, 'has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.' In her timely book, Bishop Budde offers hard-learned, excellent guidelines for helping not just individuals but congregations and communities learn about bravery and courage, especially in times of polarization and transition."—The Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Kemper, Executive Director (1991-2009), Kentucky Council of Churches; Interim Senior Minister, First Christian Church, Paris, Kentucky
"Few people are willing to step into those decisive moments when their voices are needed most. I have always known that my friend and Bishop, Mariann Budde, is one of those few. Indeed, this book represents another of those moments for Bishop Budde. In it she shares her very human struggle to find the bravery and courage required to step into life’s decisive moments. She does this so to inspire others to find their own. This book is itself a gift of brave and courageous leadership."—Kelly Brown Douglas, author of Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter
"Using the metaphor of 'stepping up to the plate' and the myriad of choices one confronts, Budde weaves themes of family life, scripture, and service into a journey of bravery that you do not want to miss. Get on board for a captivating excursion through a carefully woven tapestry of ideas, prayers, meditations, and suggestions for courageous action."—Edward W Beal, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. Georgetown University School of Medicine, Author of War Stories From the Forgotten Soldiers "Written with resolute purpose and vitality, this marvelous book illumines the dialectical dilemma facing those who see themselves as being both in the world, but not of the world, as well as both 'children of light' and 'children of darkness.' It challenges our moral complacency in a self-obsessed secular society."—Eric L. Motley, PhD, former Executive Vice President, The Aspen Institute
"Our world is a fragile, perilously fractious place. Each of us can contribute decisively to making it a good and noble place. My friend and colleague Bishop Mariann Budde readily admits that this takes courage. By sharing with us the very realistic trials and challenges of being brave, Mariann also points us along the path of growing in one of the most crucial virtues of our day. My friend Mariann inspires me. And her book will inspire you to stand up for the right and the true when it really counts."—Jake Owensby, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana; Chancellor of the University of the South; author of Looking for God in Messy Places
"Bishop Mariann Budde is one of the clarion voices of our time. In How We Learn to Be Brave, she shows that we all have courage to be great within us. Using vulnerability, deep insight, and enlightened spirituality, Bishop Budde invites us all to turn our decisive decisions into moments of profound meaning. This book will change many lives."—Bruce Feiler, New York Times bestselling author of Life Is in the Transitions and Walking the Bible
"Bishop Budde invites us to look again at some of life’s most important decision points with the warmth of a friend and the clarity of a sage. In the complexity and velocity that is life and leadership this offering will anchor and sustain the individual and organization."—The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright Bishop of Atlanta
"This book is truly an invitation to discover how we learn to be brave over a lifetime, not just in situations that require courageous decisions in the moment. Mariann Edgar Budde speaks with honesty about the challenges of our time and the problems we face in an ever-deepening national divide. She fills us with hope and strength as she turns our hearts and minds away from despair with stories of time, tradition, and personal experience. Budde lights the path for what it means to embody courage in each and every moment. And she faithfully reminds us who we are along the way."—Beth Graybill, Collaborative Storyteller, Teacher & Conscious Consultant in South Bend, Indiana
"I first met Bishop Mariann more than five years ago. I love connecting with new ministry leaders who share the same mission that I am on. As you'll soon read in this book, though, we don't necessarily agree on every aspect of theology, ministry philosophy and some of the cultural issues of our day. However, that's exactly what I need in my life. I need people who push my thinking. I need people who challenge me to see the world around me from a different perspective. In her uniquely humble way, Bishop Mariann does that for me. It's one of the reasons I respect her so much. I know she wants the best for me even when she disagrees with me. This has been my experience when I open my heart and mind to different perspectives. Not only does it help me discover new wisdom, it also helps to reinforce my personal convictions. I've learned that understanding and embracing our convictions points us to our purpose in this world. Our calling is revealed. It's around those convictions and that calling that we often discover where we need to be brave. If you are a person of influence, you need to read How We Learn to Be Brave."--Tony Morgan, Founder & Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group and author of The Unstuck Church
“Bishop Mariann gives powerful voice to a courage that comes not from headline-grabbing moments but from the daily commitment to persevere in faithfulness. In breaking open her own journey of doubt and decision, she provides a roadmap for a leadership rooted in humility, introspection, and selfless determination, all of which our world so desperately needs.” --Dr. Michael E. Hill, President, Chautauqua Institution
"From page one, you're given instant VIP access to the private thoughts of a public figure and spiritual leader who is active on the history making frontlines affecting generations. Equal parts personal memoir, letter to a friend, motivating sermon, and collection of short stories, How We Learn To Be Brave is easy and enjoyable to read. It's Bishop Mariann Budde's uncensored honesty that lifts our spirit. At every turn, we learn being brave is found in one of us and all of us at the same time. Mariann says, "Hearing another person's courageous journey, we can't help but consider our own." I feel that, and you will, too, in the best way."—Kem Meyer, Communications Consultant and author of Less Chaos. Less Noise