Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening

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.

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 FaithHarvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith 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 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)

About the Author

Diana Butler Bass is a blogger for The Huffington Post and a regular commentator on religion, politics, and culture for such media as USA TodayTimeNewsweekThe Washington Post, CNN, FOX, PBS, and NPR. Her previous books include A People’s History of Christianity and Christianity for the Rest of Us. Bass holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and has served on the faculty at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Rhodes College, and is a fellow at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. She speaks regularly at churches, retreats, and workshops across the country and lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

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