Synopses & Reviews
In her critically acclaimed Leaving Church
(a beautiful, absorbing memoir — The Dallas Morning News
), Barbara Brown Taylor wrote about her experience leaving full-time ministry to become a professor, a decision that stretched the boundaries of her faith. Now, in her stunning follow-up, An Altar in the World, she shares how she learned to encounter God far beyond the walls of the church.
Taylor reveals meaningful ways to discover the sacred in the small things we do and see, from simple practices such as walking, working, and prayer. Something as ordinary as hanging clothes on a clothesline becomes an act of meditation if we pay attention to what we're doing and take time to notice the sights, smells, and sounds around us. Making eye contact with the cashier at the grocery store becomes a moment of true human connection. Allowing yourself to get lost leads to new discoveries. As we incorporate these practices into our daily lives, we begin to discover altars everywhere we go, in nearly everything we do. Through Taylor's expert guidance and delicate, thought-provoking prose, we learn to live with purpose, pay attention, slow down, and revere the world we live in.
"Author of an acclaimed memoir (Leaving Church) and a gifted preacher, Taylor is one of those rare people who truly can see the holy in everything. Since everyone should know such a person, those who don't can no, must read this book, with its friendly reminders of everyday sacred. Taylor's 12 chapters mine the potentially sacred meaning of simple daily activities and conditions, like walking, paying attention, saying no to work one Sabbath day each week. Hanging laundry is setting up a prayer flag, for God's sake. Since Taylor, an Episcopal priest, no longer pastors a church, she can 'do church' everywhere: in line at the grocery store interacting with the cashier, walking a moonlit path with her husband. Her candor is another of the book's virtues: she is a failure at prayer, and cannot explain why or how it is, or isn't, answered ('I do not know any way to talk about answered prayer without sounding like a huckster or a honeymooner'). Savor this book." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Taylor writes fluently, with an eye and ear for the striking image and memorable phrase. Many readers, especially the vast numbers of the "unchurched" but "spiritual," will find support and useful counsel." Library Journal
"[A] lovely book. One of the best-known preachers in the country offers equal amounts of wisdom and erudition spent longing for more meaning, more feeling, more connection." Booklist
"In what often seems to be an increasingly xenophobic and narrowly black-and-white culture, An Altar in the World is a stirring invitation to embrace religious diversity, and to truly open our hearts to, and be transformed by, the experience and traditions of others." Chris Faatz, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
The critically-acclaimed author of Leaving Church continues her spiritual journey by revealing how she learned to encounter the sacred everywhere in the world.
In the New York Times bestseller An Altar in the World, acclaimed author Barbara Brown Taylor continues her spiritual journey by building upon where she left off in Leaving Church. With the honesty of Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) and the spiritual depth of Anne Lamott (Grace, Eventually), Taylor shares how she learned to find God beyond the church walls by embracing the sacred as a natural part of everyday life. In An Altar in the World, Taylor shows us how to discover altars everywhere we go and in nearly everything we do as we learn to live with purpose, pay attention, slow down, and revere the world we live in.
About the Author
Barbara Brown Taylor teaches religion at Piedmont College in rural northeast Georgia and is an adjunct professor of spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur. She is the author of 12 books, including An Altar in the World (HarperOne, February 2009). Her first memoir, Leaving Church, met with widespread critical acclaim, winning a 2006 Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. An at-large editor for The Christian Century and sometime commentator on Georgia Public Broadcasting, Taylor lives on a working farm with her husband, Ed, and a wide variety of creatures.