An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

By Barbara Brown Taylor (HarperOne, 2009)

Nothing revs up your internal battery like connecting to a higher purpose in your life. And Barbara Brown Taylor contends that you can find a powerful sense of spiritual connection in something as simple as doing the dishes. A former Episcopalian pastor and author of the memoir Leaving Church (HarperCollins, 2006), Taylor is a professor of theology at Piedmont College in rural Georgia. Having decided to “make the world her church,” she’s found there are plenty of points of access to divine meaning in daily experience — from washing the baseboards to watching the stars. Each chapter explores a different “altar in the world” — getting lost, encountering strangers, experiencing physical pain — moments that help us live with greater reverence and gratitude. An expert storyteller, Taylor combines wry tales from her personal history with ancient religious teachings (from the Christian New Testament to the Torah to Sufi poetry) to show both the pleasure and timeless value of living more consciously. A welcome guide for anyone who feels driven to find meaning “out there,” and a great reminder that the pleasures of living well can be found much closer to home than we usually think.

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