Paradise is a garden...but heaven is a city.
From the acclaimed author of Take This Bread and Jesus Freak comes a powerful new account of venturing beyond the borders of religion into the unpredictable territory of faith.
On Ash Wednesday, 2012, Sara Miles and her friends left their church buildings and carried ashes to the buzzing city streets: the crowded dollar stores, beauty shops, hospital waiting rooms, street corners and fast-food joints of her neighborhood. They marked the foreheads of neighbors and strangers, sharing blessings with waitresses and drunks, believers and doubters alike.
CITY OF GOD narrates the events of the day in vivid detail, exploring the profound implications of touching strangers with a reminder of common mortality. As the story unfolds, Sara Miles also reflects on life in her city over the last two decades, where the people of God suffer and rejoice, building community amid the grit and beauty of this urban landscape.
CITY OF GOD is a beautifully written personal narrative, rich in complex, real-life characters, and full of the "wild, funny, joyful, raucous, reverent" moments of struggle and faith that have made Miles one of the most enthralling Christian writers of our time.
About the Author
Sara Miles is the founder and director of The Food Pantry, and Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. She is the author of Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion and Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Salon, and NPR. She lives in San Francisco.
Praise for City of God: Faith in the Streets…
"Joyous and touching...An intriguing read, Miles' account will resonate most with those who live in and love the inner city."—Kirkus Reviews
"An informative, luminous memoir of faith and community."—Booklist
"This is a convincing Lenten adventure into a dynamic Christian view of faith in the streets, of repentance and blessing, life and death, in the cracked sidewalks and fractured realities of the city of God."—Publishers Weekly
"CITY OF GOD is another gorgeous, gritty, profound work of art from Sara Miles...I love everything she writes, but there is something special about this new book."—Anne Lamott
"Once again Sara Miles has given us a great read about...how every moment of our lives is liturgy, and each and every liturgy we do is for the whole world which God loves so dearly."—Nedi Rivera, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon
"Sara is so inspiring...Where most aim for the clouds, she's focused on the dirt and sweat and blood and struggle of this world and the presence here in it with us-which is, of course, the best news of all."—Rob Bell, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About God and Love Wins
"Gorgeously written, City of God takes Jesus from the walls of the church to the streets of the city, showing us that where two or more Anglicans or prostitutes or head-injured junkies or housewives are gathered, He is with us. I cannot recommend this book highly enough."—Nadia Bolz-Weber, New York Times bestselling author of Pastrix
"There's a refreshing honesty to City of God; her actions on Ash Wednesday take on greater significance in light of her questioning."—Los Angeles Review of Books
"Sara Miles is a spiritual pioneer...Now she has taken us into the streets of the city where the very hope of heaven intersects the very the heart of life, where we might discover anew that God is truly with us."—Bishop Michael Curry, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolin
"Rarely, if ever, have I heard or read or experienced a more poignant or persuasive presentation of the city as metaphor and prototype for the Kingdom of God. Miles's panorama is lived theology, and its result is a kind of holy magnificence."—Phyllis Tickle, author, The Great Emergence
"Sara Miles gives us much more than a beautiful love song to her neighborhood...she offers us a glimpse of how living Christian faith can re-enchant the world."—James Alison, Catholic priest, theologian, and author