Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review: City of God

City of God: Faith in the Streets
By Sara Miles
Jericho Books February 2014
224 pages
Read via Netgalley

City of God: Faith in the Streets

Sara Miles is observing Ash Wednesday in a new way. In addition to the two services that she is leading at her Episcopal church, she is taking ashes out into the streets. She hopes to really see her neighbors as she blesses them and reminds them that each of us come from dust and will return there someday. City of God brings the city of San Francisco to vivid life, while reminding us of our shared humanity and search for a Savior. 

This is both Sara's story and the story of faith in community. Sara is completely open about stumbling into belief and the way she still struggles with being seen as "other," as someone more holy than the normal person. But she delves into more than just her story - she tells the stories of the people around her. She spends time with her neighbors and parishioners, hearing what is happening in their lives, taking them to the hospital, and praying with them. Many of these encounters are inconvenient and frustrating but Miles realizes that there are lessons to be learned and that God can be found in unexpected places.

Reading this book humbled and challenged me. As I read, I was furiously copying passages because Miles made me think about faith in new ways. She is literally taking her faith outside of her church building. God is not confined within walls and our faith does not have to be, either. This book reminds us that while faith is about connecting with God, it is also about connecting with the people around us. We are called to open our eyes and really see the people around us, to listen to their stories, and to love them just like Jesus did.

This is a perfect book to read during Lent. As we reflect on Jesus' death and resurrection, reading City of God helps us to keep Ash Wednesday in the front of our minds and to remember that our life here on this earth is fleeting, as each of us will return to dust. 


  1. Timely, since Ash Wed. is tomorrow!
    Book Dilettante

    1. I did that somewhat purposefully! I was originally going to post my looking back at February post, but I thought that this one needed to go up before Ash Wednesday.