What the book's about: An Altar in the World is, quite simply, about discovering God beyond the walls of the church.
Why I read this book: After hearing people talk about the wisdom and beauty of Barbara Brown Taylor's writing for the last several years, I finally decided to read one of her books. After finishing it, the only question I still had was "How have I not read Taylor until now?"
My favorite quotes from the book:
- "Many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do."
- "It is important to pray naked in front of a full-length mirror sometimes, especially when you are full of loathing for your body."
- "Popular religion focuses so hard on spiritual success that most of us do not know the first thing about the spiritual fruits of failure."
- "One common problem for people who believe that God has one particular job in mind for them is that it is almost never the job they are presently doing. This means that those who are busiest trying to figure out God's purpose for their lives are often the least purposeful about the work they are already doing."
- "By interrupting our economically sanctioned social order every week, Sabbath practice suspends our subtle and not so subtle ways of dominating one another on a regular basis."
- "For those willing to stay awake, pain remains a reliable altar in the world, a place to discover that a life can be as full of meaning as it is of hurt."
- "To say I love God but I do not pray much is like saying I love life but I do not breathe much. The only way I have found to survive my shame is to come at the problem from both sides, exploring two distinct possibilities: 1) that prayer is more than my idea of prayer and 2) that some of what I actually do in my life may constitute genuine prayer."
Thumbs up or thumbs down? Thumbs up.
Who I'd recommend this book for: Anyone longing to discover God in the ordinary practices of daily life.