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Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion Paperback – February 5, 2008
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“A love song to the feast at the altar and the feast of a food pantry written with grit, authority and integrity.”
–Nora Gallagher, author of Changing Light
“Sara Miles’s joy, confusion, and passion for the Christian life, together with her skill as a professional journalist and the fullness of her own humanity, have produced what has to be the finest confession of faith I’ve read in years. Take This Bread is a good, tight, absorbing read.”
–Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours and former Religion Editor for Publishers Weekly
“This book is a stunner. Beautifully and simply written, it is a wonderfully straightforward account of a life and a conversion which will leave many readers, as it left me, tingling with longing that such signs and wonders might emerge in and through our own stories. Sara has come by the great truths of the Christian faith honestly. The story of how people grow through becoming empowered to be givers, and not mere receivers of handouts is a wonderful glimpse at a true emergence of Church.”
–James Alison, Catholic theologian, priest, and author of Faith Beyond Resentment
“Some books you can’t put down, some you shouldn’t–this one’s both. Sara Miles’s story of spiritual nourishment recalls Patch Adams, but she’s also a writer like John Muir or Jane Addams, a gifted stylist whose passion translates to vivid storytelling. Take This Bread is necessary reading, I would think, for anyone who’s ever taken a bite out of anything.”
–J. C. Hallman, author of The Devil is a Gentleman
About the Author
- ASIN : 0345495799
- Publisher : Ballantine Books; Later Printing edition (February 5, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780345495792
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345495792
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.21 x 0.7 x 7.99 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #218,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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To me, church-shopping is an individual pursuit, and a small topic. I am always more interested in (and mystified by) how people find faith; what brings a person to belief?
I don't think it matters whether your communion is a wafer or home-baked bread; I suspect both can serve the same purpose when shared in the right spirit.
Nowhere near as good as Mary Karr's Lit.
First, I thought the book seemed promising. Miles described how she’d grown up with a lineage of Christians in her family and how that impacted her parents, and in turn, her upbringing. This resonated with me as someone who grew up in an evangelical Christian culture and wanted to love and follow Jesus, but not the narrow-minded version of Jesus that fits a particular sect’s agenda. I related to Miles here and wished she’d expounded in how she reconciled her newfound faith with the beliefs of many fundamentalist Christians.
From there, Miles describes how she happened upon St. Gregory in CA and was essentially converted through the act of receiving communion.
While I understand the significance of the eucharist, I couldn’t relate to this experience and the way St. Gregory did communion being the primary driver for her conversion.
The rest of the book was really devoted to the call to start a food pantry at the church, the people involved and being served and some of the challenges faced.
I found myself getting very bored and had a difficult time getting through this, which was the majority of the book. Nothing really substantive was said that helped me connect with Miles or the other folks in the community.
The cause is admirable & it’s cool to see how one person took something meaningful to them and used it to serve others. Beyond that, it came off a bit as look how great this church and group of people are, changing tradition and feeding people can be so hard etc.
I wish there’d been more of a tie-back to Jesus an Christianity in general versus just her and her church.
Again, I did not connect with this book and am glad I finished so I can move on to something better.
Top reviews from other countries
This autobiographical account of what Sara Miles describes as her radical conversion takes us through the injustices and conflicts of Central America as a left-wing atheistic journalist and writer to that moment when as a lesbian single-mother she walked into a church in San Francisco and encountered God in the act of receiving the bread and wine of the eucharist.
The story of her life is deliberately told through the lens of food - how she was fed by others, how she learned to cook in frantic kitchens in small restaurants, how she became food for her daughter, how she encountered Jesus at the communion table, and ultimately how she learned to feed others with his bread too. This is a story of a remarkable woman and a remarkable church - both of which are flawed and human, but which have both become channels of grace. The newly converted author opens a food pantry in the church, and the act of giving away food and feeding the poor becomes gloriously entwined with the sacraments of the church and the grace of God.
Be warned: this is a book that will require a response. I will never break bread in church again in quite the same way.