Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing, Raising the Dead

Religion Dispatches interviews Sara Miles about her latest book, Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing Raising the Dead:

The theology Miles develops in her newest book, Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing, Raising the Dead, evoked in stories of her own conversion and of the work it led to, is undeniably elegant. It’s about bodies — the bodies we live in, or the ones we bump into on the subway, God’s body in the Christian liturgy, or the “body” that is a well-functioning church.

We spoke last month about about the problem with religion, about the ideas liberals and conservatives share when it comes to “doing good,” and about how to distribute eleven tons of free food in two and a half hours.

Religion Dispatches: Your first book was a memoir, the story of how you came to church for the first time, and stayed. But — and this might be because of your background as a journalist — you seem less interested in talking about yourself, and more about the context you found yourself in.

Sara Miles: Yes, to actually write about myself was not what I planned. What was most interesting to me was the sense that I had walked into the Episcopal church at a very particular historical moment, the moment at which it was flipping from being the center of power to being this marginalized, ridiculed, unimportant institution-which I think is a great blessing. A huge blessing — very, very lucky for me.

As I wrote, what was interesting for me as a journalist was the intersection, the class politics of denominational differences. So that people who had been on the outside, the crazy Pentecostal snake handlers, and the suburban evangelicals, those people were coming into power; and the golf-playing, scotch-drinking Episcopalians were losing their grip.

All this other stuff was happening in terms of religion in the United States at the moment when I started going to church — and that was a story to me that was interesting.

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