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.
About the Author
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.
Advance praise for Take This Bread
“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