I’ve been reading books about faith from people of other faiths, and it’s been such a worthwhile experience for me. Both Nadia Bolz-Weber and Rachel Held Evans referenced Sara Miles’ book Take This Bread, and that was reason enough. But in a Facebook conversation, my dear friend RLG recommended it to me as one of the key texts she’d been reading in her new position as Formation Minister at her Episcopal Church. I was on board. I am so glad I followed her recommendation.
Sara Miles grew up a secular atheist, seeking to make the world better. She waitressed for a while and then became a journalist in war-torn countries. When she discovered that she was pregnant with her daughter, she and her partner relocated to San Francisco. But on their respective comings-out, their family refocused until she met her current partner/wife. One day, Miles walked into an Episcopalian Church and found herself taking Communion. That moment changed her entire life. Miles found herself becoming converted to a follower of Jesus Christ and learning what it meant to feed her spiritual hunger with Communion, faith, and the act of giving back to her community. Miles documents her honest struggle and explains the processes that made her frustrated and fulfilled with her newfound faith.
This book is profound in the way it examines the intersection between faith and social justice. As a person who grew up “in church,” I find myself challenged by notions of what faith in motion really looks like. Is it possible to cut through bureaucratic red tape in order to feed the starving and clothe the naked? What good does organized religion actually do and what purpose does it actually serve? These are just a few of the many questions that reading Take This Bread brought up. I am a better person for having read it, and I would challenge you to do so as well.