Rating:

Reviewed by Michelle Skaflestad

Most people are seeking that ever elusive MORE in their life. Fanaticism and hypocrisy often lead people away from organized religion to the “spiritual, yet not religious”. Yet the question we most often ask is, “Does one need to physically be in a church building each week to have a relationship with God – to have faith?” Barbara Brown Taylor answers this question in An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith.

As a former Episcopal priest, Taylor is careful to remind us about finding faith through our everyday life without diminishing the value of worshiping with others of our own faith. However, Taylor reminds us that as God created the whole world, the whole world can be an altar to God. Faith and spirituality are not destinations on a map, but active practices of being mindful.

Each of the twelve chapters discusses a particular practice and how to apply them to our everyday lives. From washing your baseboards on your knees, to walking outside barefoot, Taylor gives us everyday spiritual practices that work hand-in-hand with traditional practices such as meditation, pilgrimages, and fasting while retelling stories from her own life as examples of these practices.

My particular favorite chapter is number four, The Practice of Walking on the Earth: Groundedness. Taylor reminds us that we can get too caught up in ourselves, our thoughts, and our activities that we forget to enjoy the journey of our daily lives, which is why we must be more aware – more grounded.

Taylor’s writing is as beautiful as it is thought provoking, leaving us with the knowledge that how we live our daily lives is the most sacred practice of all.

Rating: 4/5

Michelle recently returned to her West Virginia roots to re-invent herself. She is the principal (okay, only) web and graphic designer at Michelle My Belle Designs. Putting up with her madness is her husband Jason, dog Leo, and rabbit Macchiato.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperOne. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.