DIANA BUTLER BASS l Christianity After Religion
Co-sponsored by First Congregational Church of Berkeley
and Berkeley Arts & Letters,
and hosted by Patricia De Jong
Diana Butler Bass reveals a new vision for believing, behaving, and belonging in the 21st century.
"American religious life is clearly changing, and fast. Diana Butler 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 Eearth and founder of 360.org
In 2009, 48 percent of Americans claimed they had a mystical encounter with the divine, an increase of more than 25 percent since the early 60s. Interestingly, these experiences of God are reported by people of all faiths, and many are not Christian. In her new book, Christianity After Religion, Diana Butler Bass examines how in the past few decades American faith has undergone a profound and extensive reorientation away from externalized religion and toward internalized spiritual experience.
Drawing on rigorous research, including visits with hundreds of strong Christian communities, polling information, and conversations with pastors, Bass points out that what started in the seventies as the stirrings of a new spiritual awakening has evolved into a vast interreligious movement of individual social and cultural transformation significantly altering the religious landscape in America.
In fact, these days more and more Americans are discontent with religion, and instead turn to spirituality to reconnect with God, themselves, and others. This is because traditional Christianity focuses on the prescriptions What to believe, How to behave, and Who you are. With spirituality, on the other hand, people experience a connection to the divine directly and through community, and are moved to change and serve others, and ultimately discover what they believe.
Bass urges readers to ask spiritual questions like "How do I believe," which places the focus on meaning and purpose, and "Whom do I believe," which leads to authority through connection, personal investment and communal accountability. The result is religion unhinged from the notions of believing versus not believing, truth versus untruth, and us versus them.
Diana Butler Bass is the author of eight books, including Christianity for the Rest of Us and A People's History of Christianity. She earned her Ph.D. in Church History from Duke University and has served on the faculty at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Rhodes College, and Virginia Theological Seminary. Bass lives in Alexandria, VA.
"She's done it again! Diana Butler Bass has this unique ability to articulate clearly and compellingly what you've previously experienced as an intuition, a sense, a nudge. Many of us are aware of the massive shifts going on all around us, and here Diana gives us the gift of naming it, explaining it, and presenting the evidence. She's spot on-prophetic, compelling, and most importantly, hopeful."
Rob Bell, author of Love Wins
"Interesting, insightful, impressive and important, this gracefully written book establishes Bass as one of our foremost commentators on 21st century Christianity." -- Marcus Borg, author of Speaking Christian
Tuesday, May 1 at 7:30 PM
First Congregational Church of Berkeley (Dana between Channing and Durant)
Tickets $12 ($6 students) in advance only at Brown Paper Tickets online or 800-838-3006; $15 at the door
First Congregational Church Berkeley (View)
2345 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
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