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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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“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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Insightful. Excellent read for anyone one wondering about how culture of church is changing.Published 19 days ago by Andrea Wight
Do not be fooled by this simply because it has "Christianity" in the title. It is quite literally a wolf in sheep's clothing. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mojo321
Excellent review of the current turmoil now in our religious institutions. Well worth reading.Published 6 months ago by Tim Keating
Very very interesting. Not offensive of religion. Appreciate the clearly presented research.Published 9 months ago by Bernice M. Hatch
Diana Butler Bass, one of many Christian writers, like so many, quotes other such writers to fill out an essentially meaningless book as part of a book insustry. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gene A Elliott
Fairly writes of the changing church and of necessary new approachesPublished 10 months ago by O. W. Bartland