Summer reading

A few weeks ago, I made note of a book that one of my fellow RevGals/Episcopal Cafe contributors (Hat tip: Jennifer MacKenzie+) had recommended to me. I went scooting off to the public library only to find it wasn’t in the collection. So, I did two things: told the library to get it (which it did), and bought a copy for myself—and promptly lost it, because I’ve been moving for what feels like forever.

This weekend, I found it—and discovered that a lot of people seem to be talking about it. Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion, by Sara Miles, is a faith memoir of astonishing honesty:

Mine is a personal story of an unexpected and terribly inconvenient Christian conversion, told by a very unlikely convert: a blue-state, secular intellectual; a lesbian, a left-wing journalist with a habit of skepticism. I’m not the person my reporter colleagues ever expected to see exchanging blessings with street-corner evangelists. I’m hardly the person George Bush had in mind to be running a “faith-based charity.” My own family never imagined that I’d wind up preaching the Word of God and serving communion to a hymn-singing flock.

Father Jake has some more quotes and commentary on his impressions after reading half the book, but poking around, LOTS of people are talking about this book. It was featured on the PBS show Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and you can find an excerpt from the interview and a link to the report here.

Sarx makes an important point about the book’s focus: “…what should call every Christian or, indeed, every religious person, is not ‘How did this Atheist get religion?’ but rather what she did with it once it gets her.”

The great question, of course, for many readers of the Cafe who look into this book may be what Communion in Conflict blogger Marshall Montgomery calls an ecclesiastical disobedience, much like civil disobedience, and one that Tom Sramek Jr. notes in his post welcoming the book to his to-read pile:

However, the non-traditional part of this story for me was that Sara was both offered and received the Eucharist prior to being baptized, which is both a rubrical and canonical no-no in the Episcopal Church. Not that it isn’t done, it just isn’t supposed to be done! Yet, this non-rubrical, non-canonical reception of the Eucharist was the occasion for a person’s conversion.

This is bound to get people talking about the question of “Open Communion,” and has already opened several hearts to a new point of view.

Michael Bayly has excerpts from The National Catholic Reporter’s Review of the book here.

The Revealer has a review here.

And it you’re still hungry, take a look at just how many people are talking about this book, here.

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