• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor

Taylor's books exploring faith and life's meaning are delights: she is wise but unassuming, knowledgeable yet open to new experiences, and often funny and self-deprecating.

“To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger—these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir.... And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life.”


After leaving her position as a pastor and writing a book, Leaving Church, about the experience, Taylor here explores finding faith, moments of reflection, and meaning in the world around her in An Altar in the World.


Through exploring everyday chores--practices as simple as walking, washing, praying, or bestowing simple blessings--Taylor explores the ways she grounds herself in everyday life while connecting with deeper meaning. I love Taylor's voice and am in for all of her books.

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Taylor also wrote the wonderful book Holy Envy, which I read with the same group as I did this book. I loved that book even more than this one because I felt that Taylor's personality came through in it even more fully, and I adore spending time with her. She's wise but unassuming, knowledgeable and open to new experiences, funny and self-deprecating.