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Take This Bread: A Radical Conversionby Sara Miles
Synopses & Reviews
Mine is a personal story of an unexpected and terribly inconvenient Christian conversion, told by a very unlikely convert.
Raised as anatheist, Sara Miles lived an enthusiastically secular life as a restaurant cook and a writer. Then early one winter morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church. I was certainly not interested inbecoming a Christian, she writes, or, as I thought of it rather less politely, a religious nut. But she ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radicallytransformed.
The mysterious sacrament of communion has sustained Miles ever since, in a faith she'd scorned, in work she'd never imagined. In this astonishing story, she tells how theseeds of her conversion were sown, and what her life has been like since she took that bread.
A lesbian left-wing journalist who covered revolutions around the world, Miles was not the woman her friendsexpected to see suddenly praising Jesus. She was certainly not the kind of person the government had in mind to run a faith-based charity. Religion for her was not about angels or good behavior orpiety; it was about real hunger, real food, and real bodies. Before long, she turned the bread she ate at communion into tons of groceries, piled on the church's altar to be given away. The first food pantry sheestablished provided hundreds of poor, elderly, sick, deranged, and marginalized people with lifesaving food and a sense of belonging. Within a few years, the loaves had multiplied, and she and the people she served hadstarted nearly a dozen more pantries.
Take This Bread is rich with real-life Dickensian characters-church ladies, child abusers, millionaires, schizophrenics, bishops, and thieves-allblown into Miles's life by the relentless force of her newfound calling. She recounts stories about trudging through the rain in housing projects, wiping the runny nose of a psychotic man, storing a batteredwoman's .375 Magnum in a cookie tin. She writes about the economy of hunger and the ugly politics of food; the meaning of prayer and the physicality of faith. Here, in this achingly beautiful, passionate book, isthe living communion of Christ.
The most amazing book. - Anne Lamott
From the Hardcover edition.
Early one morning, for no earthly reason, Sara Miles, raised an atheist, wandered into a church, received communion, and found herself transformed–embracing a faith she’d once scorned. A lesbian left-wing journalist who’d covered revolutions around the world, Miles didn’t discover a religion that was about angels or good behavior or piety; her faith centered on real hunger, real food, and real bodies. Before long, she turned the bread she ate at communion into tons of groceries, piled on the church’s altar to be given away. Within a few years, she and the people she served had started nearly a dozen food pantries in the poorest parts of their city.
Take This Bread is rich with real-life Dickensian characters–church ladies, millionaires, schizophrenics, bishops, and thieves–all blown into Miles’s life by the relentless force of her newfound calling. Here, in this achingly beautiful, passionate book, is the living communion of Christ.
“The most amazing book.”
“Engaging, funny, and highly entertaining . . . Miles comments, often with great insight, on the ugliness that many people associate with a particular brand of Christianity. Why would any thinking person become a Christian? is one of the questions she addresses, and her answer is also compelling reading.”
“Powerful . . . This book is a gem [and] will remain with you forever.”
–The Decatur Daily
“What Miles learns about faith, about herself and about the gift of giving and receiving graciously are wonderful gifts for the reader.”
–National Public Radio
“[A] joyful memoir . . . advocates big-tent Christianity in the truest sense . . . a story of finding sustenance and passing it on.”
–National Catholic Reporter
“Rigorously honest, Take This Bread demonstrates how hard–and how necessary–it is to welcome everyone to the table, without exception.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“Moving, delightful and significant.”
–The Christian Century
Don’t miss the reading group guide in the back of the book.
Sara Miles is the author of How to Hack a Party Line: The Democrats and Silicon Valley and co-editor of Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan and the anthology Opposite Sex: Gay Men on Lesbians, Lesbians on Gay Men. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Progressive, La Jornada, and Salon, among others. She has written extensively on military affairs, politics, and culture. She lives in San Francisco with her family. Visit the her website at www.saramiles.net.
From the Hardcover edition.
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