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City of God: Faith in the Streetsby Sara Miles
Synopses & Reviews
Paradise is a garden...but heaven is a city.
From the acclaimed author of Take This Bread and Jesus Freak comes a powerful new account of venturing beyond the borders of religion into the unpredictable territory of faith.
On Ash Wednesday, 2012, Sara Miles and her friends left their church buildings and carried ashes to the buzzing city streets: the crowded dollar stores, beauty shops, hospital waiting rooms, street corners and fast-food joints of her neighborhood. They marked the foreheads of neighbors and strangers, sharing blessings with waitresses and drunks, believers and doubters alike.
CITY OF GOD narrates the events of the day in vivid detail, exploring the profound implications of touching strangers with a reminder of common mortality. As the story unfolds, Sara Miles also reflects on life in her city over the last two decades, where the people of God suffer and rejoice, building community amid the grit and beauty of this urban landscape.
CITY OF GOD is a beautifully written personal narrative, rich in complex, real-life characters, and full of the "wild, funny, joyful, raucous, reverent" moments of struggle and faith that have made Miles one of the most enthralling Christian writers of our time.
"'You are dust and to dust you shall return.' One wouldn't think a book about death would be so vibrant, but Miles (Take This Bread) is able to interweave characters and portraits of her city of God, San Francisco, to bring her theology and practice of Ash Wednesday liturgy to life on the streets. Miles is herself a character, a woman who wrestles with her spirituality as a recovering reporter sympathetic to a plurality of religious movements beyond Protestant Christianity. She introduces other personalities who put flesh and blood on her story of repentance on Ash Wednesday 2012, like an 'ancient Mexican bearded gnome-lady' who blesses Miles, or Mr. Claws, the homeless man who sparks her adventure with a visit to a medical clinic, only to disappear. San Francisco's Mission District is not only the setting but also the protagonist of the book, moving the narrative forward with its urban flavors and faults, influencing Miles's theology and making 'the presence of God most real' for both author and reader. This is a convincing Lenten adventure into a dynamic Christian view of faith in the streets, of repentance and blessing, life and death, in the cracked sidewalks and fractured realities of the city of God. Agent: Greg Daniel, Daniel Literary Group." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Sara Miles is the founder and director of The Food Pantry, and Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. She is the author of Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion and Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Salon, and NPR. She lives in San Francisco.
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