Book Review – Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening by Diana Butler Bass

by Mark Votava

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This is a great book by Diana Butler Bass about a spiritual awakening that is happening in our culture where we can awaken to reform, renew and reimagine Christianity in the twenty-first century.  She stresses that belonging, experiential faith, intentional practice and connecting relationally in community will be important for us as we participate in what the future holds.  Christianity After Religion is a wonderful book of contextualization, authenticity and wisdom.  Anyone who reads this book will have a new imagination for being human.

•  Living in a time of historical change

“We live in a time of momentous historical change that is both exhilarating and frightening. Christianity itself is becoming something different from what it was.”

•  A new fabric of authenticity

“It is up to each one of us to stich a new fabric of authenticity, meaning and purpose.”

•  Everything is connected

“The church, therefore, is not only a community, but it is also ‘communion,’ a ‘set of relationships making up a mode of being.’  In our world these relationships extend beyond other human beings and God.  We are not only related to other people, but we are in community with all of creation, with the animals who share life on the planet as well as forests, rivers, oceans, the earth itself.  Thus, the self is discovered in Christ, with others, through the nature, on the river of change.  Everything is connected.  A spiritual awakening entails experiencing the full range of prepositional relationships in which we live and move and discover our being.”

•  A new vision in the twenty-first century

“Relational community, intentional practice, and experiential belief are forming a new vision for what it means to be Christian in the twenty-first century, a pattern of spiritual awakening that is growing around the world.  We belong to God and to one another, connected to all in a web of relationships, and there we find our truest selves…”

•  The current awakening

“The current awakening is marked by its insistence on connection, networks, relationship, imagination, and story instead of dualism, individualism, autonomy, techniques, and rules.”

•  Actions of mutual creation

“There is no specific technique that can be employed, no set program to follow to start a great awakening.  If you want it to happen, you just have to do it.  You have to perform its wisdom, live into its hope, and ‘act as if’ the awakening is fully realized.  And you have to do it with others in actions of mutual creation.”

•  Participate in making our world more humane, just, and loving

“Every spiritual awakening seeks to make visible, even if only in some incomplete way, God’s dream for creation…  This awakening will not be the last in human history, but it is our awakening.  It is up to us to move with the Spirit instead of against it, to participate in making our world more humane, just, and loving.”

What are your thoughts on Christianity After Religion?