Learning from the Unaffiliated

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly recently featured Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion (my review), about the religious implications of the rise of the religiously unaffiliated.  While there is diversity within the growing group of religiously unaffiliated, Butler Bass claims, " . . . an awful lot of people who are in the unaffiliated categories - people who are spiritual but not religious or people who consider themselves to maybe to be spiritual and religious are engaging Read More …

Tomorrow’s Church

Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion (read my review),  recently sat down with Chris Yaw (check out my conversation with Yaw on mainline decline) to discuss what the church of tomorrow will look like.  This fifty-five minute conversation is a rich resource for those who care about the church, and want to better understand what the church will look beyond an era dominated by conventional religion. She cites research that shows belief in God has fallen from 99% to 90% over Read More …

Restoring Hope

Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion (my review), recently wrote a piece about hope in the fall 2012 edition of Reflections, a magazine of theological and ethical inquiry produced by Yale Divinity School.  She writes: I wonder if hope and courage will join hands to forge a new sense of the common good. But hope comes not through political campaigns. Rather, lasting hope will spring from a rebirth of courage in faith communities, when God’s people prophetically act on divine Read More …

Review of Living the Questions

Meet the Authors David M. Felten (pictured at right in a black shirt) and Jeff Procter-Murphy (pictured at right holding a tablet) are United Methodist pastors who serve theologically progressive congregations.  Together they created a video resource that brought together some of the "most provocative and authoritative voices" (p.xiii).  Known as Living the Questions, this resource seeks to "help people wrestle with the questions they hear asked in their congregations - questions for which Read More …

12 Marks of Convergence Christianity

Eric Elnes, Senior Minister of Countryside Community Church (UCC) and host of Darkwood Brew, has recently written several blog posts on Convergence Christianity. His latest post features twelve defining characteristics, which are evenly divided into three categories: Love of God, Love of Neighbor, and Love of Self.   Elnes attributes resonate with others, including Brian McLaren, Phyllis Tickle, Frank Schaeffer, and Diana Butler Bass. Love of God They are letting go of the notion that their Read More …

Are You An In Between Christian?

In a recent blog post, Rachel Held Evans included a bit of self-disclosure that warrants consideration by all who seek to lead the church into the future.  After mentioning the recent article by Ross Douthat and response by Diana Butler Bass (something I have written about recently as well), she shares the disheartening reality that many with differing theological perspectives choose to attack the other's position rather than collaborate to craft a brighter future for the church. Notably, she Read More …

Saving Liberal Christianity

Earlier this week, my post "Can Christianity Be Saved" considered Ross Douthat’s July 14, 2102, New York Times editorial  “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?,” and Diana Butler Bass's reply later that same day on the Huffington Post.  During the course of the week I returned to the topic in online and in person conversations.  The most encouraging part of the dialogue was the shared understanding about three interelated matters: There is a real problem; The problem is far larger than the Read More …

Can Christianity Be Saved?

As I read Ross Douthat's latest  New York Times editorial, "Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?," I knew I had to respond.  In short, he suggests that the end could well be near for progressive or liberal Christianity unless something changes rather significantly as a result of decades of decline.  While not proposing that other forms of Christianity have all fared well, he suggests that they have by way of comparison to progressive denominations. (For more on Douthat's perspective, read my Read More …

Future Church – More Begin by Belonging

Church v.2020 - Ten Changes: #5 More Begin by Belonging – Less Begin by Believing When compared with the American church of 2012, the future church (v.2020) will offer a new order to the faith that begins with belonging instead of believing.  Diana Butler Bass rightly recognizes this shift as the one capable of moving the church from "religion-as-institution" to "religio as spiritually vital faith" (Christianity After Religion, 2012:  p.204 -- read my review here). The current preferred Read More …

Review of Christianity After Religion

Meet the Author Diana Butler Bass is "an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture."  Currently she serves as a Chabraja Fellow with the SeaburyNEXT project at Seabury Western Theological Seminary.  Additionally, she has taught at Westmont College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Macalester College, Rhodes College, and the Virginia Theological Seminary. In the early years of this century she was the Project Director of a national Read More …