In the New York Times bestseller An Altar in the World, acclaimed author Barbara Brown Taylor continues her spiritual journey by building upon where she left off in Leaving Church. With the honesty of Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) and the spiritual depth of Anne Lamott (Grace, Eventually), Taylor shares how she learned to find God beyond the church walls by embracing the sacred as a natural part of everyday life. In An Altar in the World, Taylor shows us how to discover altars everywhere we go and in nearly everything we do as we learn to live with purpose, pay attention, slow down, and revere the world we live in.
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This book models for me how powerful spiritual and theological reflections can become when they are grounded in personal narrative. Taylor's every abstract pronouncement about God has its origins in her own experience. The bridge she constructs between life and faith is then strong enough for me to cross as well.
I am happy for practices that bring me back to my body, where the operative categories are not “bad” and “good” but “dead” and “alive.”
--Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World, 47
An Altar in the World is a series of chapter-length essays on spiritual practice, and most of them are not about what we usually think of as spiritual practices. Each chapter has a title and a subtitle. The subtitles are philosophical/religious sounding words like Vision, Reverence, Incarnation, Vocation. But the titles include phrases like "Waking Up to God," "Wearing Skin," "Walking on the Earth," "Getting Lost." True to the titles, Taylor expertly connects the humble or mundane -- a growling stomach, a walk in the dark, scrubbing toilets -- to scriptural wisdom from her own and other traditions.
This is not a workbook (being somebody who has a whole collection of "How to Be Perfect" books, I sort of wish it were). But it is a book that will give you work to do in the quest to connect to God, to others, and to your own spirituality. I recommend it highly.
Highly recommend it