Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening
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Number of Pages: 304
Publication Date: 2012
|Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)|
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.
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The data is clear: religious affiliation is plummeting across the breadth of Christian denominations. And yet interest in "spirituality" is on the rise. So what is behind the sea change in American religion? With the same comprehensive research and insider reporting that made Christianity for the Rest of Us an indispensable guide to cultivating thriving churches, Diana Butler Bass offers a fresh interpretation of the "spiritual but not religious" trend.
Bass—who has spent her career teaching the history, culture, and politics of religion, and engaging church communities across the nation—brings forth her deep knowledge of the latest national studies and polls, along with her own groundbreaking analysis, as she seeks to fully comprehend the decline in Christian attendance and affiliation that started decades ago—and has increased exponentially in recent years.
Some contend that we're undergoing yet another evangelical revival; others suggest that Christian belief and practice is eroding entirely as traditional forms of faith are replaced by new ethical, and areligious, choices. But Bass argues compellingly that we are, instead, at a critical stage in a completely new spiritual awakening, a vast interreligious progression toward individual and cultural transformation, and a wholly new kind of postreligious faith.
Offering direction and hope to individuals and churches, Christianity After Religion is Bass's call to approach faith with a newfound freedom that is both life-giving and service driven. And it is a hope-filled plea to see and participate in creating a fresh, vital, contemporary way of faith that stays true to the real message of Jesus.
Diana Butler Bass is the author of eight books on American religion, including Christianity After Religion, Christianity for the Rest of Us, and A People's History of Christianity. She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Duke University, has taught at the college and graduate level, and is currently an independent scholar. She was a columnist for the New York Times Syndicate, and blogs for the Huffington Post and the Washington Post on issues of religion, spirituality, and culture. Bass is a popular speaker at conferences, colleges and universities, and churches across North America. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband, daughter, and dog. Her website is dianabutlerbass.com and she can be followed on Twitter at @dianabutlerbass.
“Refreshing, evocative, well informed and original.”
“Bass explains how experience, connection, and service are replacing theology as keys to the next Great Awakening. It’s a fascinating story.”
“Interesting, insightful, impressive and important.”
“…an important and life-giving book, written by … one of our finest religious writers.”
“Join Bass in rebuilding religion from the bottom up!”
“It is one blockbuster of an analysis that is also a delight to read.”
“Diana reminds us here that, before every great awakening, folks say it is impossible... and after every great awakening, folks say it was inevitable.”
“Of Bass’s many excellent books, this is the most substantive, provocative, and inspiring yet. . . . it leads to a powerful finale of sage guidance for the future.”
“Bass ably analyzes the struggle for awareness and change that defines spiritual awakening.”
PlesionGender: male1 Stars Out Of 5Cotton Candy Soap Bubble SpiritualityAugust 27, 2012PlesionGender: maleQuality: 1Value: 1Meets Expectations: 2Cotton candy tastes good, and if you eat enough of it, you get a sugar high - briefly. It isn't nourishing, and you sure can't thrive and grow on it. That is what this book is: spiritual cotton candy for those who are spiritually immature. It is one of the many insubstantial books catering to the "spiritual but not religious" types, the sort who would define "spirituality" as "I think about God once in a while."
The tiresome phrase "Spiritual but not religious" passes for deep wisdom in what is called the "emergent" church. That church (maybe "anti-church" would be more apropos) consists mostly of peevish ex-evangelicals who decided that the religion they grew up with cramps their style, that they prefer thinking and behaving like their cool Politically Correct friends but still want to hang on to some slender threat of "spirituality." The solution: talk a lot about love, tolerance, the environment, and now and then drop the name Jesus, who (so this type says) approves of everything you do. Have your cake and eat it too - be cool, modern, nonjudgmental, and "spiritual" to boot. I don't know what this is, but it isn't Christianity.
I notice all these "spiritual" authors quote Harvey Cox, the theological "class clown" of the 1970s. That is a bad sign, quoting (and approving) this superficial goofball who should have been forgotten long ago, except that his silly notion of "secular Christianity" still appeals to the weak-minded who can't handle full-strength Christianity. I notice that one of the cover blurbs is by Cox, who praises the book highlyâ€”apparently a case of "You quote me in your book and I'll tell the world it's great!" (Some might say this is a bit unethical . . .)
Aside from having about as much substance as a soap bubble, Diane Bass's book is terribly edited. On the very first page she refers to "Saltine" crackers (it's not a brand name, so it isn't capitalized) and to the New American Standard Version (it's always called the New American Standard Bible, NASB, and anyone with a background in Christianity should know that). These may sound nitpicky, but unfortunately the sloppy, careless writing goes along with sloppy, careless thinking.
Just a suggestion: if you have issues with church (and most people do, since no church is perfect), instead of turning to such silly, fatuous books as this, spend an hour or two actually reading one of the Gospels in the New Testament. There is a lot of "meat and potatoes" in the Bible, and it has a long history of transforming people's lives, and it is ten thousand times more nourishing than Diane Bass's cotton candy religion. I think it will still be read long after such books as this end up in the bargain rack at the local Books-a-Million.