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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2012
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.
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 highlyÃ¢â¬âapparently 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.