My friend and colleague, Lisa, shared a book with me in the fall that she thought I might like.  She knows me better than most, and was exactly right.  The book is titled, Take this Bread and is by Sara Miles.

I bought a copy shortly after her sharing and once again Love interrupted my life through the written word.

There are a number of people who I am sharing the journey with these days who remind me of the simple faith and deep theology that nurtures who Sara is striving to be in the world.  The sermon preached at church yesterday and conversation with my sis about it, really got me thinking about Sara’s words and life story.

Finally, after the coffee chat and dream session with one at Fido this morning, I decided to check out some Sara Miles interviews online to once again be inspired and have a faith companion I have never met remind me of who I am called to be in the world and what God can do with various visions & dreams….

Five Questions interview with Sara Miles


“I didn’t know any people who went to church. My friends were shocked….” February, 2007

How did you — a war journalist — wind up feeding people in a church?
I’d been fed for years by strangers: guerrillas in the jungles of the Philippines, Salvadoran peasants, impoverished South African grandmothers. When I first took communion, it felt absolutely literal to me: not an imaginary wafer or a symbol. It made me want to feed others, just as I had been fed.

How did your friends react when they saw you wearing a crucifix for the first time? When I converted, I didn’t know any people who went to church. My friends were hilarious, over-educated, progressive people who at most went to yoga class, or read a book about Zen Buddhism. They thought Christians were right-wing, intolerant, fundamentalist fanatics. They were shocked when I suddenly started talking about Jesus.

What’s the most important thing about Christianity to you? The gritty reality of incarnation: that God lives in bodies. And the truth that Jesus doesn’t pick and choose his dinner companions. He eats with everyone: not just with ‘good’ people, or the right kind of Christians, or the people I happen to like. Eating the body and blood of Christ, for me, implies a radical inclusivity that demands action. If you take it seriously, communion challenges everything —including most religion.

What made you start a food pantry? I wanted to turn Holy Communion into groceries. I came to church and was fed, and so I stayed to help out. Seeing how real hunger is in America — even in my own food-obsessed, fancy-organic-upscale city, where beneath the foodie glamour one in four kids is hungry — was eye-opening. I started one pantry, which grew from serving 35 families to over 300 a week; then I got a huge gift of money, and gave it all away to start nine others.

Now the pantries feed thousands, without any questions asked. We feed everyone who comes, without exception. And we’re run by an almost Biblical assortment of characters: poor foreigners, widows, teenaged moms, cripples, thieves and whores . . . people who, just like me, came to get food and stayed to help out.

How did you end up with such a dedicated benefactor? I got a quarter of a million dollars, out of the blue, from a man I’d never met — someone who was blown away by the food pantry, because it did what he never expected religion could do. He was cynical about the hypocrisy of church, but seeing the way the food pantry worked made him realize how hungry he was to be part of something.