One of the people whose books I have enjoyed over the last year or so is an American Christian called Barbara Brown Taylor. She is an Episcopal (Anglican) priest, a teacher and a writer. What I enjoy is her slightly sideways take on life and faith. She always has something to say that jolts me out of the same old ways of thinking and makes me think afresh about faith. One of her best known books is An Altar in the World – finding the sacred beneath our feet (2009).
In this book, she looks at the very ordinary things of life and sees how God is at work in them. She says that we don’t have to be in special places doing special things to find God, but that God is at work in and through us and in and through our everyday lives. She encourages us to make the ordinary special by pausing and sensing God at work in what might be for us unexpected places and ways.
She also says that the book is her response to a conversation:
Many years ago now, a wise old priest invited me to come speak at his church in Alabama.
‘What do you want me to talk about?’ I asked him.
‘Come tell us what is saving your life right now’, he answered.
That’s a good question for a new year: what is saving my life right now?