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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,699 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Brown Taylor Narrator: Barbara Brown Taylor Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9780061981586
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In her critically acclaimed Leaving Church ("a beautiful, absorbing memoir."—Dallas Morning News), Barbara Brown Taylor wrote about leaving full-time ministry to become a professor, a decision that stretched the boundaries of her faith. Now, in her stunning follow-up, An Altar in the World, she shares how she learned to encounter God beyond the walls of any church.

From simple practices such as walking, working, and getting lost to deep meditations on topics like prayer and pronouncing blessings, Taylor reveals concrete ways to discover the sacred in the small things we do and see. Something as ordinary as hanging clothes on a clothesline becomes an act of devotion if we pay attention to what we are doing and take time to attend to the sights, smells, and sounds around us. Making eye contact with the cashier at the grocery store becomes a moment of true human connection. Allowing yourself to get lost leads to new discoveries. Under Taylor's expert guidance, we come to question conventional distinctions between the sacred and the secular, learning that no physical act is too earthbound or too humble to become a path to the divine. As we incorporate these practices into our daily lives, we begin to discover altars everywhere we go, in nearly everything we do.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The author seems simply incapable of writing a bad book. And this volume, which focuses on spiritual practices, simply adds to her growing reputation.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “Taylor writes fluently, with an eye and ear for the striking image and memorable phrase. Many readers…will find support and useful counsel.”

    Library Journal

  • “Elegant, wise, and insightful, this book is also sacramental: it mediates the life it describes.”

    Marcus Borg, author of Jesus

  • “I have been reading Barbara Brown Taylor for years now, and nothing she has written has stirred and inspired me quite as much as An Altar in the World.”

    Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marginalia2 | 2/16/2014

    " I liked the way Taylor expanded the concept of church and spirituality to move beyond the confines of a building and to the daily doings of each life . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pgchuis | 2/9/2014

    " I don't quite understand how she reconciles her clear love of the Christian faith with her seeming belief that all faiths are equally valid, but I found lots of this book very thought-provoking and helpful. I particularly valued the chapters on seeing God in other people and keeping Sabbath. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 2/7/2014

    " Why have I never read Barbara Brown Taylor before? I must now read everything she's ever written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 1/29/2014

    " The end is fantastic, but it drags a bit in the middle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill McKibben | 1/25/2014

    " If I remember nothing else about this book, I hope I remember well the chapter on being present. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 1/24/2014

    " Wonderful book!! Not a story but each chapter stands on its on. Used to enhance my devotional time, and it has enlightened and challenged me. Truly a great writer! A MUST READ "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 1/23/2014

    " I agreed with so much that Taylor has discovered about God out in the world. For those struggling with organized religion, this is a good resource for considering and accepting ways to worship outside of formal walls. For those that have never thought about the fact that a relationship with God is more than sitting in a pew, agreeing to help with crafts at summer VBS, and serving on a committee, you need to read this to find out what you're missing in your daily relationship with our Creator. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie Storie | 1/20/2014

    " I enjoyed reading this one slowly, chapter at a time, and leaving time to reflect. I found myself stopping to re-read sentences and paragraphs, just because Barbara Brown Taylor says something so profound, so simply and so well. Like medicine for the soul. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leslie Evans | 1/9/2014

    " I want to live inside of this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 rebecca | 1/1/2014

    " Recommended to me and I'm so glad it was... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eileen | 12/31/2013

    " Reading for the second time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Samantha L. | 12/22/2013

    " One of those books that I must possess my own copy...so much wisdom and goodness. This is a life-giving book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 WillowAtSunset Bennehoff | 12/1/2013

    " Date I started this book: November 29, 2010 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana | 11/11/2013

    " Didn't just love it like I thought I would "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 10/30/2013

    " Read this as part of a small group study through my church and found the many ways and places we and find God in our daily lives. Not only when in church. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 10/11/2013

    " This book will reignite your soul. Please, please read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diem | 8/27/2013

    " This is a wonderful book that nurtures a way of seeing the sacred in every day living, including things that would ordinarily seem mundane and boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leigh Kramer | 8/26/2013

    " I loved the way Barbara Brown Taylor ushers her readers along as she describes spiritual practices. Truly soul-stirring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/21/2013

    " Loved this!A book that will not live on a shelf, but permanently on my nightstand. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 12/7/2012

    " I've been reading BBT's writing for more than ten years. This is her best book. Read it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deidre | 11/10/2012

    " Should be read and re-read - - at least once a year. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela | 6/19/2012

    " Stunning in its simplicity, turn of phrase and wisdom. An a-ha on every page. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 4/3/2012

    " I loved this book. A lot of little anecdotes for reflection. I will go back and read parts again when I need a little spiritual guidance. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janae | 4/3/2012

    " This is a New York Times bestseller written by a former minister. She encourages you to find the sacred in the small things we do everyday. It wasn't revolutionary for me, but it did cause reflection and was well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 2/12/2012

    " Non-fiction - Opportunities to bring greater intention to each day. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 9/22/2011

    " Beautifully written book which will make you think differently about yourself and the world around you. Read with Theology on Tap group from church. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Murray | 6/9/2011

    " A great read for a lay Christian and 12 different areas of focus to help one become closer to God. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/27/2011

    " This is a new favorite of mine. Recommended for fans of Kathleen Norris and Anne Lamott. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 WillowAtSunset | 5/12/2011

    " Date I started this book: November 29, 2010 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryann | 5/8/2011

    " Shelley Laverty recommended this book, and I'm glad she did. The chapter on pain hit home as a 15 year old Timmy Day down the street had a stroke while I was reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Krissy | 3/25/2011

    " Loved how Taylor made me see the sacredness to the "simple" things in our everyday lives.
    Felt like it was a timely book for the season i'm in! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 3/20/2011

    " Quick read but so confirmed alot of what I believe--and reminded me of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeannette | 3/5/2011

    " Read this for a book group, loved it. I had just read her "Leaving Church", would love to hear her speak. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 2/22/2011

    " Spiritual practices grounded in the everyday makes each moment a prayer to God. "

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About the Author
Author Barbara Brown Taylor

Barbara Brown Taylor is the author of thirteen books, including the New York Times bestseller An Altar in the World and Leaving Church, which received an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. Taylor is the Butman Professor of Religion at Piedmont College, where she has taught since 1998. She lives on a working farm in rural northeast Georgia with her husband, Ed.