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Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening Hardcover – February 14, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Later prt. edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062003739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062003737
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Bass has done it again! She’s spot on-prophetic, compelling, and most importantly, hopeful.” (Rob Bell, author of Love Wins)

“Refreshing, evocative, well informed and original.” (Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith)

“Bass explains how experience, connection, and service are replacing theology as keys to the next Great Awakening. It’s a fascinating story.” (Bill McKibben, author of Earth and founder of 360.org)

“Interesting, insightful, impressive and important.” (Marcus Borg, author of Speaking Christian)

“…an important and life-giving book, written by … one of our finest religious writers.” (Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak)

“Join Bass in rebuilding religion from the bottom up!” (Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation and author of Falling Upward)

“It is one blockbuster of an analysis that is also a delight to read.” (Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence)

“Diana reminds us here that, before every great awakening, folks say it is impossible... and after every great awakening, folks say it was inevitable.” (Shane Claiborne, author and activist)

“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.” (Brian D. McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity)

“Bass ably analyzes the struggle for awareness and change that defines spiritual awakening.” (Publishers Weekly Religion Bookline (starred review))

From the Back Cover

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.


More About the Author

Diana Butler Bass was born in Baltimore, Maryland and grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. For as long as she can remember, she's been interested in religion, history, and politics--the passions she intertwines in her books and writing. She holds a Ph.D. in American religious history from Duke University. After a dozen years teaching undergraduates, she became a full-time writer, independent researcher, educator, and consultant. Her work has been cited in the national media, including TIME Magazine, USA TODAY, and the Washington Post, and she has appeared on CNN, FOX, PBS, and on NPR. For five years, she wrote a weekly feature on American religion for the New York Times syndicate. She currently blogs for Huffington Post and Washington Post OnFaith and is a contributing editor at Sojourners magazine.

Customer Reviews

Ms. Bass presents a very interesting thesis in this book.
wardicus
Well thought out reflection regarding the future of the Christian Church in post-modern culture.
Barb McRae
I would recommend this book to most anyone who is interested in the church today.
Merrilee A. Swinehart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 190 people found the following review helpful By Greg Smith (aka sowhatfaith) on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most Americans are aware that recent decades have been a time of change in religious belief, behaving, and belonging. Most who read this blog have some knowledge of varying aspects of these shifts. Few people understand how the many trends are linked and fewer still grasp how this looks within the context of church history. Diana Butler Bass draws on her rich experiences as a researcher, consultant, subject matter expert, and perpetual student of the topic to craft a book that is sure to become the starting point for conversation in the academy, the church, and even in the many communities that together comprise our culture.

Christianity After Religion is a three part story that is designed to be read sequentially:

*Part 1, "The End of Religion," considers the changes within the framework of decline of traditional measures, primarily focusing on the last decade. Rather than simply recounting polls and popular opinion, Diana Butler Bass explores the deeper issues they suggest. (Readers will identify with their own life experiences while simultaneously better understanding the religious world in which they live.)

*Part 2, "A New Vision," captures the many and varied efforts to reshape Christianity for the future. These efforts have been underway for decades yet clarity, much less unity, remains elusive. Butler Bass proposes that new visions must end the centuries old approach of believing, behaving, and belonging in favor of the more ancient order: belonging, behaving, and believing.

*Part 3, "Awakening," moves from possibility to practice by arguing that the current experiences are a Fourth Great Awakening.
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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Jones on February 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If I didn't have a sermon to write I would have finished this one in one sitting. I've liked all of Diana's book, but this one takes her to new territory and explores issues that are at the heart of what I'm about in ministry. The historical framework about awakenings she uses provides a helpful perspective on what is going on in the world today. It presents an incredible challenge to those of us, like myself, who have spent their lives in the church, but see the need now for something far different from what we have been and been about. It's in no way a "how-to" book, but it is ultimately an extremely practical book - one that will provide the insight and perspective needed to work on the how-to's in whatever setting we find ourselves.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By James C. Schultz on May 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this book a 5 star rating even though I would recommend skipping the Eight Chapter if you are not of a liberal persuasion. The information presented in the book and the author's presentation of it is excellent. My problems with Chapter 8 are strictly personal in that I would have preferred a deeper analysis of the tanking of the spiritual revival of the 60 & 70's than the superficial political treatment it received and I believe that the Author is too optimistic about the current spiritual state of the Country. Again this is strictly my opinion based on my own understanding of the world we live in and in no way is meant to detract from the wonderful job the author does in explaining the situation the modern church finds itself in. I am amazed that she is welcome in mainline denominational churches considering her message.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone trying to attract people to their church with the one caveat that they should probably skip Chapter 8. This is a must read for anyone in Church leadership and differences in theology should be put aside to obtain the benefit of hearing what God is saying to us through Mrs. Bass.
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59 of 75 people found the following review helpful By yoshieslunchbox on January 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This author makes several interesting points about the recent shifts in American religious affiliation, but quickly devolves into a hypocritical tirade against conservative Christians, and conservatives in general. I'm neither politically or religiously conservative (I'm not even Christian), but I expect a little intellectual integrity from an author of Mrs. Bass' standing.

On several occasions she lampoons the religious right for their mixing of religious and political beliefs, but then goes on to do the same with her own beliefs and holds the result up as something completely different. Apparently we are supposed to accept that Christ identifies with modern, elitist liberalism while being offended that conservative evangelicals claim Christ's blessing upon their narrow dogmatism.

It's strange that so much of the book revolves around politics. The author seems incapable of separating them from the religious sphere - so much so that she calls the Tea Party a religious movement. Again, I'm not a conservative. I don't like the Tea Party's brand of social conservatism. At the same time, I'm willing to state my differences of opinion with their policy choices without blatantly inventing nonsense about them. What shocked me most was where on page 251 Mrs. Bass equates the Tea Party (who have never, as far as I know, committed violence) with terrorists, African religious fundamentalists who kill homosexuals and torture children, and religious dictators, among others. You can disagree with somebody as much as you want, but such accusations are truly absurd.

She also goes on to quote a friend as saying that "This is the worst version of religious and political hatred in American history for at least one hundred and fifty years.
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