Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Christianity After Religion" - book review

Posted at Amazon

A review of Christianity after Religion by Diana Butler Bass.
By Tom Eggebeen

Two words come to mind: honest and hopeful.

Diana Butler Bass is an honest writer - no punches pulled on her descriptions of the changing times in which Christianity finds itself, and her descriptions of the many deformities of the Christian Church in the West, and especially in America with its sense of "exceptionalism" (an inordinate pride in our religious landscape) and no punches pulled, either, on the dangers confronting the Spiritual Awakening emerging in these times.

If any reader here wishes to get some handles on the monumental changes occurring throughout the world, in all religions, no better place to begin than with this book.

But let me move to the next word: hopeful.

While the author's comments on Jonathan Edwards are most helpful - i.e. human beings, fervent and faithful, cannot, of themselves, bring about Spiritual Awakening. That belongs only to God. Yet, there is one thing the faithful, the hopeful, can do, and that's to pray!

And adopt a variety of other behaviors, disciplines, described in detail, to engage the world with eyes that see and ears that hear and hands that do.

The author reflects upon her own efforts to see and hear the world with an appreciative, loving, heart. To see people, hear them, and walk with them.

Will this bring about the Awakening?

In one sense, the Awakening is already upon us ... the world as we knew it is disappearing, and though various nativist groups and ideologies seek to return us to the past, the world moves in only one direction, and that's forward.

The character of the Awakening is known to us - much of the book offers detailed analysis of it - and even if we lament what is lost, we can join hands with those who seek a better world.

And honest book full of solid, scholarly, analysis, and, as well, a hopeful book, outlining ways and means that we can embrace right now and the emergent Awakening.

This book deserves the widest possible reading - by those who love the church and those who have rejected it, often times for very good reasons. Religion plays an enormous role in human history, for good and for ill, and to understand religion a bit more can only help all of us.

Thanks to Diana Butler Bass for this remarkable contribution.