Take This Bread by Sara Miles
A Radical Conversion

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“Mine is a personal story of an unexpected and terribly inconvenient Christian conversion, told by a very unlikely convert.”
–Sara Miles

Raised as an atheist, Sara Miles lived an enthusiastically secular life as a restaurant cook and a writer. Then early one winter morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church. “I was certainly not interested in becoming a Christian,” she writes, “or, as I thought of it rather less politely, a religious nut.” But she ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed.

The mysterious sacrament of communion has sustained Miles ever since, in a faith she’d scorned, in work she’d never imagined. In this astonishing story, she tells how the seeds of her conversion were sown, and what her life has been like since she took that bread.

A lesbian left-wing journalist who covered revolutions around the world, Miles was not the woman her friends expected to see suddenly praising Jesus. She was certainly not the kind of person the government had in mind to run a “faith-based charity.” Religion for her was not about angels or good behavior or piety; it was about real hunger, real food, and real bodies. Before long, she turned the bread she ate at communion into tons of groceries, piled on the church’s altar to be given away. The first food pantry she established provided hundreds of poor, elderly, sick, deranged, and marginalized people with lifesaving food and a sense of belonging. Within a few years, the loaves had multiplied, and she and the people she served had started nearly a dozen more pantries.

Take This Bread is rich with real-life Dickensian characters–church ladies, child abusers, millionaires, schizophrenics, bishops, and thieves–all blown into Miles’s life by the relentless force of her newfound calling. She recounts stories about trudging through the rain in housing projects, wiping the runny nose of a psychotic man, storing a battered woman’s .375 Magnum in a cookie tin. She writes about the economy of hunger and the ugly politics of food; the meaning of prayer and the physicality of faith. Here, in this achingly beautiful, passionate book, is the living communion of Christ.
The most amazing book.” – Anne Lamott

From the Hardcover edition.

About Sara Miles

See more books from this Author
Sara Miles is the author of How to Hack a Party Line: The Democrats and Silicon Valley and co-editor of Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan and the anthology Opposite Sex: Gay Men on Lesbians, Lesbians on Gay Men. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Progressive, La Jornada, and Salon, among others. She has written extensively on military affairs, politics, and culture. She lives in San Francisco with her family. Visit the her website at www.saramiles.net.From the Hardcover edition.
Published November 19, 2008 by Ballantine Books. 322 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Take This Bread


Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion (Ballantine) is Miles's energized account of how her longtime fondness for food became a sacred mission, as she began establishing food pantries and devoting her life to giving the hungry sustenance.

| Read Full Review of Take This Bread: A Radical Co...

Spirituality & Practice

The holy work of making creation whole is no picnic, and Miles shares one story after another about selfish Christians, city bureaucrats, the concept of "faith-based charity," the sadness of seeing so many hungry children, and the challenges faced by homeless people in San Francisco.

| Read Full Review of Take This Bread: A Radical Co...

Windy City Media

In her new book, Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion, Miles recounts how she went from being an atheistic social justice activist to the founder and director of a food pantry at her San Francisco church, St. Gregory's.

Apr 18 2007 | Read Full Review of Take This Bread: A Radical Co...

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