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Sacred Meal (Ancient Practices) [Hardcover]

By Gallagher Nora (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 6" Height: 0.79"
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 3, 2009
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
ISBN  0849900921  
EAN  9780849900921  
UPC  023755026774  


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Ancient Practices - Full Series Preview
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Item Description...
Overview
The sacred meal that is part of our faith does more than connect us to the holy.  It connects us to each other.

"I think Jesus wanted his disciples and everyone who came after him to remember what they had together. What they made together. What it meant to be together. How the things he wanted them to do could not be done alone. How the things he did could not have been done without them."

In her inimitable style of memoir and personal reflection, Nora Gallagher explores the beauty and mystery of this most fascinating of topics.  Whether exploring the history of Christian Communion, taking us inside the workings of a soup kitchen or sharing times of joy and sadness with friends, the author reminds us what it means to partake of and be part of the body of Christ.

The Ancient Practices is an eight-book series with staggered releases through February 2010.  Though various books have covered some of these spiritual disciplines, there has never been an attempt at a definitive series until now.  Immensely compelling and readable, each classic book features a foreword by Phyllis Tickle, the general editor.

Publishers Description
The sacred meal that is part of our faith does more than connect us to the holy. It connects us to each other.

"I think Jesus wanted his disciples and everyone who came after him to remember what they had together. What they made together. What it meant to be together. How the things he wanted them to do could not be done alone. How the things he did could not have been done without them."

In her inimitable style of memoir and personal reflection, Nora Gallagher explores the beauty and mystery of this most fascinating of topics. Whether exploring the history of Christian Communion, taking us inside the workings of a soup kitchen or sharing times of joy and sadness with friends, the author reminds us what it means to partake of and be part of the body of Christ.

"The Ancient Practices" is an eight-book series with staggered releases through February 2010. Though various books have covered some of these spiritual disciplines, there has never been an attempt at a definitive series until now. Immensely compelling and readable, each classic book features a foreword by Phyllis Tickle, the general editor.

Buy Sacred Meal (Ancient Practices) by Gallagher Nora from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780849900921 & 0849900921 upc: 023755026774

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More About Gallagher Nora

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Nora Gallagher s best-selling memoir, Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith, received outstanding reviews. Her essays, book reviews, and journalism have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times Magazine, theWashington Post, DoubleTake, Time, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Village Voice, and Mother Jones. She is also the editor of the award-winning Patagonia: Notes from the Field, a collection of literary essays on the outdoors. She and her husband live in Santa Barbara, California."

Nora Gallagher currently resides in Santa Barbara, in the state of California. Nora Gallagher was born in 1949.

Nora Gallagher has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ancient Practices


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Reviews - What do our customers think?
In Need of More Scripture  Apr 22, 2010
The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher seems to be a book based more on feeling than fact. Tradition and ritual. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with tradition . . . nor am I saying that there is anything wrong with having strong feelings. And rituals practiced in order to remind us of our Savior, I am OK with.

But there was a significant lack of scripture to back up many of her assertions. I supposed one might even accuse me of the same thing in my writings . . . even this review.

There are quotes from Gallagher's book that I value, such as:

* Think of a spiritual practice as Pilates for the spirit.
* Jesus practiced a radical faith: everyone was welcome at his table.

But quotes that didn't necessarily seem biblically based that caused me some concern:

* Holy Communion is a web, a web of people who were being stitched together. And tomorrow, we would need to be stitched together again. Over and over.

I guess I got a little concerned, though at first I agreed, when Nora Gallagher wrote, "I began to see that if you don't act on what you hear in the Gospels every Sunday, then it doesn't stick."

True.

Upon returning to the Episcopal Church after a hiatus, it was the ritual that she loved. And I thought to myself, shouldn't our first love be Jesus? Isn't it the mention of Jesus be what causes us to appreciate and value a church? "Jesus replied, `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-39) Isn't it He who draws us to Himself, even to church? It shouldn't be ritual that keeps us in church.

Then she writes,

"The trouble was, I had trouble connecting it back to my daily life. Church was like a play or a nice concert. I went to the "theater" on Sunday, felt uplifted or moved, but couldn't figure out how to integrate those feelings into my own experience; so gradually they faded as the week wore on. It didn't connect. . . . What I finally understood was that simply going to church doesn't do it, but neither does not going to church."

True.

But Gallagher never tells the reader what keeps a person glowing like Moses did after he spent time with the Lord (Exodus 34: 29-35). It isn't ritual, or serving in a soup kitchen, or communion. The way to feel connected and remain connected is to have a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy 32: 46-47 tells us that the words of the Bible are not just idle words, "they are your life." Spending time daily in prayer and READING your Bible is how one remains connected to the "experience" at church. Like a grape vine or a tree or even grass, the way to grow is to continually stay connected to a source of sustenance . . . that which provides water . . .

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Ritual and tradition won't save you. Feelings won't support your journey to heaven. Only a right relationship with a Savior will.

9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

Romans 10: 9-11



(This book was provided to me for free by my involvement with The BookSneeze, a blogging program sponsored by Thomas Nelson. I do not have to return this book, nor was I paid to write this post. Please know, that my intent was not to stir up strife or divide the church body . . . I only meant to write a review and express my concern over some of the content in this book.)
 
The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher  Apr 9, 2010
The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher

On the back of this book are quotes by a couple well respected people; Brian McLaren, Lauren Winner. McLaren's words I agree with, Nora Gallagher opens up The Table to wide audience in her book The Sacred Meal.

She is a great writer and as you read this book you will sense this and feel as if your sitting along site her, having a conversation about a often misunderstood but incredibly important aspect of the Christian life. She communicated the truth and mystery of the Eucharist in a very accessible and creative way. Which makes this book well worth the read.

Lauren Winner makes the statement, "I know of no contemporary writer whose insights about the Eucharist match hers." I know Winner is smart and well read which is why this statement blows me away. That is a huge claim and one I would not even come close to making. As good of a book as this is I have read many that are better when it comes to Eucharistic theology.

Gallagher opens up the conversation of the Eucharist to all, which is great, but sometime she goes a little to far and leans a little too much into her trade as a novelist. I don't need to agree with everything she says but I thing she stretches her metaphors a bit far at times and fails to simply tell us how to live a Eucharistic life, even though i think this is her aim.

This book is worth the read but go in open minded, ready to agree and disagree, but most importantly be ready to engage in a horribly important topic for today's church, The Eucharist.
 
The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher  Mar 30, 2010
The Sacred Meal is the first book I've read by Nora Gallagher, and like others here, I was somewhat uncomfortable to begin with. As a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene, I was cautious to hear how an Episcopalian priest described communion. But bearing with since I had committed to review the book, I was very pleasantly surprised and enlightened by a different point of view.

Ms. Gallagher and I certainly come from different backgrounds ecclesiastically, as well as theologically, but she offered a number of insights to the meaning of the Eucharist, or the Lord's Supper, or what I typically call Communion that I found very interesting.

She talked about this being a "practice" of the Church designed to draw us together as Christians. But she also pointed out how it's a time of waiting for the Lord to speak to us, then receiving what He has, and afterward, even through what she calls our sense of "jet lag," or the anti-climatic feeling, letting the entire experience "seep in into [our] cells" and let it become a part of us.

The Sacred Meal offers a deeper understanding of the tradition of Communion, and how, as a practice of the Church, it draws us closer to Jesus. I'd definitely recommend it as a place to begin reading if you desire to learn more about this important topic of the faith.
 
Communion becomes more personal.  Mar 25, 2010
This book by Nora Gallagher looked interesting to me for several reasons. It had been a while since I had read anything relating to religion and while I love to read, I wanted something more serious to read. "The Sacred Meal" provided me with some food for thought.

The entire book is about communion and Ms. Gallagher's experiences with communion. While she is not of the same denomination as me and does communion differently, I was still able to take away some good ideas from what she wrote. There are points where I do disagree with the theology being taught, but overall, the book covered communion in such a way that it re-inspired me as to why I take it in the first place. I feel like communion can definitely become a chore if we let it and after reading this book I have a new perspective on communion and what it means to me.
 
Style Over Substance  Feb 23, 2010
Now that I've completed Nora Gallagher's The Sacred Meal, I've read six of the eight titles in Thomas Nelson's Ancient Practices Series. I've enjoyed each volume for different reasons, as the style of each author has brought a unique approach to discussing each of these spiritual practices. This book, in particular, was very unique stylistically. From a technical writing standpoint, Gallagher has written a delightful book. However, from a biblical and theological standpoint, I was left longing for more. Below you will find a few reasons why.

Within this series, it has not been uncommon for me to long for greater depth in biblical, historical, and theological reflection concerning each practice. I recognize that these books have not been written for a scholarly audience, and thus do not contain numerous footnotes or extensive technical discussion common to academic works. However, for the Christian layperson who might explore these books looking for greater insight into each of these spiritual practices, at least some discussion of the relevant biblical texts and an examination of some of the most critical points of theological debate would be incredibly helpful. In this particular book, the narrative prose and the critical self reflection of Gallagher is inviting, engaging, and enjoyable, and at one level it is informative for those who might resonate with her experiences, but with regard to how those experiences might engage with the wider breadth of the Christian tradition, Gallagher only scratches the surface. To summarize this first point of criticism, in reading this volume I hoped for at least a deeper level of historical reflection, but was disappointed.

Secondly, Gallagher's description of the Lord's Meal itself stresses one particular viewpoint concerning the significance of this ritual over others. Gallagher continually notes how the Eucharist is an all inclusive meal, which I will not deny. While stressing the all-inclusiveness of this meal, Gallagher seems to use this practice to lift up and champion a number of social justice causes, and while this interpretation of the meal is no doubt valid and instructive, it is only one particular way in which this meal has been of vital importance for Christian people throughout the ages. In many other traditions, the celebration of Communion reminds those present of the very real cost of salvation, the depth of their own sin, and the great victory which Jesus won on the cross to bring about deliverance from death and the assurance of eternal life. At the very least, a nod toward the fact that the Passover meal Jesus celebrated with his closest followers appeared to lack one of the traditional elements, that of the lamb, only for it later to be reveal that Jesus himself was the True lamb, would've added a much needed dimension to Gallagher's discussion.

Lastly, for all of the insight that is to be gained from hearing another person's story, a resource like this one should include some instruction for how the Eucharist should be approached by the reader. In this respect, Gallagher's contribution in this series differs greatly from Scot McKnight's Fasting, in that McKnight quite helpfully gives his readers much to consider in adopting a new spiritual practice. Gallagher shares her experience as a Communion server, and notes a number of ways that Communion has been deeply meaningful in her Christian journey, but aside from those moments of beauty the reader might see in Gallagher's personal narrative, there is little instruction for someone considering how they might engage in this practice either for the first time, or more deeply after having taken the bread and the cup many times before.

For these reasons, and for other more specific disagreements concerning Gallagher's treatment (or lack thereof) of relevant biblical and theological material, I do not heartily recommend this book. While this volume contains a handful of beautifully written stories, the overall thrust of the narrative disappoints, and left me learning more about Nora Gallagher than the Eucharist, or the Lord who gave us the gift of this meal.
 

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