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    • Diana Butler Bass
    • Diana Butler Bass is the author of seven books on American Protestantism, including Christianity for the Rest of Us, Strength for the Journey, and The Practicing Congregation. She earned her Ph.D. in Church History from Duke University and has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Rhodes College, and Virginia Theological Seminary. From 1995 – 2000 she wrote a weekly column on American Religion for the New York Times syndicate and is a popular speaker at retreats and workshops across the country. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

True Freedom

Many people are confused, angry, and worried about the future — while others feel their longest hoped-for political dreams have become reality. The air is full of tension, even on these sunny summer days, and it seems as if the nation has somehow cracked open.

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The Demons of Empire

Today’s text — commonly referred to as “the Gerasene Demoniac” — is from the Gospel of Luke. The miracle story of the exorcism and the pigs appears in Mark, Luke, and Matthew with some variations.

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Some Things Can’t Be Saved

Maybe my evangelical kin — who believed themselves to be reformers of lukewarm or dead faith — wouldn’t have welcomed a real Reformer in their midst. Because they were already right. They didn’t need reform. They certainly wouldn’t have embraced anyone who challenged their worship, theology, or leaders.

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The Rock That Births You

This isn’t an easy story — it is especially hard to avoid the pitfalls of any Christian preaching about the destruction of the Temple (I pray I didn’t contribute to those anti-Semitic interpretations!). But I think it is one of the most important stories in Mark, a short section of verses that help make sense of the entire gospel.

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The Way

This morning, I preached at Platte Woods United Methodist Church in Kansas City. They’ve been doing a sermon and education series on Freeing Jesus – and they asked me to come and finish up their study of the book.

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Cicadas in the Time of Pandemic

Emergence creates the possibility of song only in community

When I got the vaccine, I thought I’d want to run into the streets singing with joy like a giddy giant cicada. But in recent days, I’m struck by how anxious I feel – far more anxious than any time in the pandemic except at the very beginning.

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Homeland Security?

Faith, patriotism, and exile - and the need for a better spirituality of country

This week is Canada Day and July 4, two celebrations of national life in North America. Both holidays are particularly complicated – even painful – this year as citizens in both Canada and the United States struggle with legacies of colonialism and racism in history and our political lives.

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Why Heal Our Divides?

A number of writers have been quietly working behind the scenes on a project called How to Heal Our Divides — where we’re bringing together practitioners of what Brian McLaren calls “un-division” to share their wisdom and stories.

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The Uproar Over Goodness

When 'original sin' becomes a get-out-of-jail-free card

I’ve been thinking about sin and evil in recent days.

That’s somewhat unusual for me. But it is difficult to avoid the daily news assault of people treating others badly, political treachery and revenge, random and meaningless gun violence, and racial and ethnic hatreds tearing nations apart. Sin and evil are on full display.

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Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence

The award-winning author of “Grateful” goes beyond the culture wars to offer a refreshing take on the comprehensive, multi-faceted nature of Jesus, keeping  his teachings relevant and alive in our daily lives.

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A Slave, a Minister, and a Renegade Doctor

How an unlikely threesome tackled smallpox and changed American history

February 23, 1758 is an infamous date in American history. On that day, 263 years ago, Jonathan Edwards, Puritan minister and new president of Princeton, had his family inoculated against smallpox.

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2021 Looks A Lot Like 2020

The trolls are still here. The barbarians are still at the gates. What now?

A New Year is only magical when we shine light in the darkness, when we choose to bless the world. It isn’t time to wait for miracles to happen, for some ritual to chase away what bedevils us.

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Christmas in Black and White

The historical St Nick and the historical Jesus were real people, born in real places, in real cultures. They were not northern Europeans.

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Talking About Religion and Politics

The Necessary Conversation

I don’t know if we can talk about religion and politics now. The moment to do so productively, openly, and with grace may have passed. There is so much hatred, so much anger, and so much division. We’ve forgotten how to listen. It doesn’t have to be this way. I long for something more, for the beautiful words to guide us to a better America.

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The Importance of “And”

The Forgotten Political Message of Christianity Diana Butler Bass Aug 13

  Religion News Service was quick to point out that Kamala Harris, the newly selected Democratic vice-presidential candidate, is both bi-racial and bi-religious: Harris, who was born in Oakland, California, to a Jamaican immigrant father…and an Indian immigrant …

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More Than God-Talk: A Field Guide to Religion and Politics

We’re midway through back-to-back political conventions – and faith and politics has emerged as a hot topic for both Democrats and Republicans. Some observers were surprised at how much emphasis the Democrats put on religion last week; no one will be surprised when the GOP does the same – or more – in upcoming days. 

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Cultivating Compassion, Freedom and Courage, and Gratitude in Tough Times

It is yet another Monday of what will most likely be a difficult week. There are many issues of concern, much to be worried about with both the pandemic and politics. In recent days, however, I’ve found myself less anxious than in the past, as I’ve leaned on these words from the late Marcus Borg’s final book, “Convictions”

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Pentecost, Prejudice, and Pandemic

I feel like we are being strangled, the life choked from us – disbelief, sorrow, fear, rage. Violence in the streets, jails, and cages at our border, targeting black and brown men, women, and children; a virus stalking us all, turning familiar comforts into threats.

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Diana Butler Bass Meme: The message of the Christian Scripture

The whole message of the Christian Scripture is based in the idea of metanoia,

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Diana Butler Bass Meme: Recognizing Our Humanity

That is precisely when we recognize our common humanity

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State of Our Souls

  As I write, the State of the Union is just about to begin, results from the Iowa caucuses are finally coming in, and the Senate prepares to vote on impeachment. And it is only February. What …

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Making Room for a Savior

“Jesus heals not only us as individuals but a savior has been born, one who will heal the world from all its ills.”

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A Thanksgiving Prayer

God, there are days we do not feel grateful. When we are anxious or angry. When we feel alone. When we see and know injustice. When we do not understand what is happening in the world, or with our neighbors.

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Exiled from Faith

A few weeks ago, I stood on a hill in Edinburgh, Scotland, at sunset. Somewhere on that mound, one of my ancestors was burned as a heretic by the Catholic Church and died as martyr to the new Protestant faith. As the sun fell toward the horizon, the sky turned red – a fitting fiery tribute – and through the blazing clouds a double rainbow formed. A sort of divine apology for whole mess? I couldn’t help but wonder.

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Send Her Back?

Last week, a CNN editor reached out to me and asked if I would write a piece for them regarding the crowd at President Trump’s rally in Greenville, North Carolina, that shouted “Send her back!” in response to his criticism of four Congresswomen. The editor wanted me to reflect on how Christians could justify chanting such a thing. 

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Podcasts with Diana Butler Bass

It is a great time to catch up on podcasts with Diana Butler Bass! Please listen, enjoy, and share with your friends.

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Home is more than a house.

Home is more than a house. It is a sacred location, a place of aspirations and dreams, of learning and habit, of relationships and heart. Home is the geography of our souls.

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Five Weeks and a Holy Week

Are you envious because of my generosity? The question seemed to jump off the page. Far too often, I have felt envious because someone got something I felt I was entitled to – and I realized that I, like the laborers in the vineyard, begrudge God’s generosity. And, of course, envy and entitlement are major impediments when it comes to living a truly grateful life.

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Trees of Life

A few weeks ago, I went on a pilgrimage to a tree. Yes, a tree. A single, extraordinary tree named Pando. I’ve loved trees my entire life – their height, shade, spread, and grandeur, the distinctive beauty of each one. When I was little, I drew hundreds of pictures of trees. Despite their uniqueness, each individual tree looked remarkably like the others – a thick brown stick with a green cloud-like puff at the top. One tree, two trees, three . . . sometimes I would draw an entire forest of these trunks and leaves.

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Christianity did not begin with a confession.

Christianity did not begin with a confession. It began with an invitation into friendship, into creating a new community, into forming relationships based on love and service.

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Sixty to Twenty-One

So, what wisdom will this 60-year old mom share with her 21-year old daughter this coming year?

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A Word of Hope

A couple days ago, I asked my social media friends how they were feeling right now and if they were holding up under the stress of the news. More than 300 people commented. The most often used words were “exhausted,” “angry,” “sad,” “overwhelmed,” and “helpless.”

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Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks

The author of the multiple award-winning “Grounded” and leading trend spotter in contemporary Christianity explores why gratitude is missing as a modern spiritual practice, offers practical suggestions for reclaiming it, and illuminates how the shared practice of gratitude can lead to greater connection with God, our world, and our own souls.

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Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution

Now Available in Paperback!

The headlines are clear: religion is on the decline in America as many people leave behind traditional religious practices. Diana Butler Bass, leading commentator on religion, politics, and culture, follows up her acclaimed book “Christianity After Religion” by arguing that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God.

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Diana Butler Extended Interview- PBS

“I think that people who are leaving church, or people who call themselves spiritual but not religious, are raising really significant questions about faith, about community life and about the future of religion that religious leaders should pay more attention to,” says religion scholar Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. Watch more of our interview with her about the religious implications of the rise of the religiously unaffiliated.

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