As one who firmly believes that the Lord’s Supper is supposed to be a meal, I’m always amazed at the impact the Eucharist has on me in Anglican Churches. (Particularly those that use real bread.)
‘Twas the Eucharist that broke through to an avowed atheist, liberal journalist and lesbian, Sara Miles. I received her book, Take This Bread a week ago and have only had the chance to read the first twenty or so pages – but look forward to getting the time to actually read the book.
My wife, Imbi did take that time. She found the book challenging, somewhat maddening and an important read. If you’re a card-carrying right wing evangelical – then only read this book if you have low blood pressure.
I don’t have the time to do a proper book review right now (and since I haven’t completed the book, how could I) but what little I’ve read makes me agree with Imbi that it is an important book. And I would wager we would both agree with the iMonk:
If you review Christian books with an eye to making conservative Christians and their pastors say a happy “amen,” I urge you to save yourself time and ink. Sara Miles’ Christian profession won’t survive your scrutiny and your example will probably upset you. Review another book on the atonement.
This is a book that will offend you, hit you below your theological belt, make you ashamed to call yourself a follower of Christ when you do so little in imitation of him and hopefully motivate you to rethink the connection between Jesus in the Gospels and the Jesus we’re offering to the world. This is theological agitation, a modern day Confessions and a left-coast version of In His Steps, all rolled into one.
Miles has written a book not unlike Capon’s Between Noon and Three; a book that needs a warning for the usual conservative Christian audience, a book that will delight and upset, and a book that will deeply impact a person’s perspective on the Gospel, even with some remaining substantial disagreements.
I’ve been rethinking the meaning of the Lord’s Supper for the past two years, and Miles met me right where I am–connecting God, Passover, Jesus’ ministry table, the Lord’s Supper and the continuing Eucharist in the church. This is a book that validated my hunch that Jesus’ inclusive invitation to eat and the Christian instinct to install boundaries and purity codes are not able to co-exist peacefully. Few Christians will come to every conclusion of Miles and the St. Gregory’s community, but their approach can’t be flawed for consistency, or for failing to seriously engage what Jesus means today.