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Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion Paperback – February 5, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
That was some eight years ago and only the beginning of further conversions. Building upon her life experiences as a chef, her conversion through the Eucharist, passion for the poor, and the founding vision of St. Gregory's, in 2000 Miles started a food pantry at her church that gave away free groceries (not meals) with no questions asked and no forms to fill out. Each week food for about 400 families was placed around the eucharistic altar. Such was the open communion and unconditional acceptance that she experienced at Saint Gregory's and intended to extend to anyone who was hungry. Through connections with the San Francisco Food Bank, and the generosity of unexpected donors, the miracle of the loaves multiplied and Miles went on to jump start nine more food pantries around the city.
Mundane food for the body became not only a sign of God's kingdom but, as theologians would say, the actual thing signified. Those who received wanted to give. Care for broken spirits accompanied bread for hungry bodies.Read more ›
This is a book about a different kind of Christianity, one based on love and reminiscent of Jesus---authentic and moving---for all of those who are turned off by the religious right and what today passes for the "Good News". It is refreshing and eye-opening to see a secular leftist lesbian experience a radical conversion to Christianity based around feeding others' physical, spiritual and emotional hunger through food pantries. Jesus said "Feed My sheep", and the author does this, and chronicles her journey. She is the kind of Christian I want to be, not hate-based or fear-based or dogma-based, but faithful to the actual Gospel, which is violently at odds with the way faith is sometimes practiced today.
She is Episcopalian, and her sexual identiy as a lesbian (which she retains after her conversion) is peripheral to her story about feeding hungry people. She ministers to "the poor, the weak, the sick and the lonely", and the book chronicles how all this comes about.
This is a great read, one that will make Christians open their eyes, and people of other faiths respect someone who has lived her life in love.
It might also bother you, especially if you are an evangelical. Sara is raw. She's rough. She uses language and lives a lifestyle that would make many Christians furrow their brow. She throws out statements like this: "You know," Swami Jeff told me once, "God couldn't care less about the church. We don't understand the Eucharist, or that bread and wine live within us, so we ritualize the things that hold the mystery. We focus on the container and formalize the mystery. But you can't do that." Which is, of course, so wrong in so many ways. God does care about the Church. The Church is God at work in the world. The book of Ephesians rightly teaches that the greatest metaphor for Christ and the Church is a husband and wife (and the metaphor goes the other way, as well). And there are many other things about this book that are so bothersome. And offensive.
And yet, her voice is necessary, because she get so much right. She understands the radical, accepting love of Jesus Christ for this world. She gets that love for Jesus demands a love for all his children. She gets that serving Christ is more important than showing up to church and looking pretty. "Doing the Gospel rather than just quoting it was the best way I could find out what God was up to.Read more ›
As she traveled to war-torn countries reporting on the effects of the war on the citizens, and experienced first-hand how people who are worlds apart, and don't speak the same language, can be brought together by the simple act of sharing food, she began to see food as the universal bond that ties us all together.
On her return to San Francisco, she happens upon St. Gregory's Church, a radical Episcopalian church where the founders are trying something new: Breaking down the barriers of the traditional church and inviting its members to take a greater role in the celebration of the Eucharist.
As quoted on her web site: Then early one morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church. "I was certainly not interested in becoming a Christian," she writes. "Or, as I thought of it rather less politely, a religious nut."
But Sara Miles ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed.
Sara is hooked, and is soon a full-fledged member of the church, receiving Communion on a regular basis. Her desire to share the breaking of bread with those less fortunate becomes overwhelming.
Sara sets up the St. Gregory's food pantry--a new idea, where, instead of dishing out meals like soup kitchens, the volunteers allow the poor and needy of the area to maintain their dignity by selecting their own groceries and bringing them home to cook their own meals. In no time, the news of the good work in St. Gregory's has spread among the community, and over 250 people gather outside every week for the pantry.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is amazing! If you are new to Christianity it is a must read! If you are skeptical or even downright resentful of Christianity it is worth the read as well. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Jenjele
I highly recommend this book; in fact I finished it one day and the next recommended it to a group of "Lutheran ladies" at our monthly Bible Study. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jennelle Cunning
Inspirationally challenging, leading to look again at my evangelical perceptions and ask what room do I need to make at the metaphorical table those who truly know Christ, but know... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ree
Even though we differ theologically, I found Sara's tale full of rich, Spirit-filled insight into our world, the Church, and Jesus' call for us to feed his sheep. Read morePublished 3 months ago
It's more than just the breaking of the bread and the pouring of the wine...it's the food we eat everyday with those we love and those we want to love and those we've yet to love.Published 5 months ago by Stephanie M. Hasty