An Altar in the World (A Review)

There are a few authors who, when I read them, I feel invigorated about life.  Such authors make me want to be a Christian on days I am feeling cynical.  They are good for my soul.  I am thinking of people like Frederick Buechner, Henri Nouwen,  Eugene Peterson and N.T. Wright.  Now I can add another to that list, probably someone who I should have read long ago: Barbara Brown Taylor.

I bought her book, An Altar in the World, months ago when it was discounted on Amazon.  There it sat in my Kindle.  I would often notice it in there as I opened other books.  Now, I wonder why I did not get to it sooner.

The book is about meeting God in bodily practices in the real world.  So often spirituality is seen as something otherworldly and thus for people with their heads in the clouds.  By talking about things as physical as walking around, getting lost and going to work, Taylor locates spirituality on a level all people can attain.

Taylor writes for those who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.”  She writes from a specific place: a former pastor, current religion professor and disciple of Jesus.  But this is no systematic theology, nor is it a simple five step program to a more spiritual life.  It is a book that is good for your soul.  It is a book that will cause you to pause throughout your day and notice the goodness and beauty, the spiritual, right in the midst of the world.  In doing so, perhaps you will notice God too.

This book is written in such a way that each chapter stands alone.  Thus, for people who do not read much, or do not read books like this much, it could be encountered a chapter here and a chapter there.  For those who read many books, often quickly and straight through before moving on to the next one, I’d encourage this book be read slowly.  Even if you want read more, just read one chapter a day and let it stew in your mind.  All in all, I’d say this could be a beneficial and enjoyable read for anyone interested in the things of God and the supernatural.

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