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Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith | [Diana Butler Bass]

Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith

For decades the accepted wisdom has been that America's mainline Protestant churches are in decline, eclipsed by evangelical mega-churches. Church and religion expert Diana Butler Bass wondered if this was true, and this book is the result of her extensive, three-year study of centrist and progressive churches across the country. Her surprising findings reveal just the opposite - that many of the churches are flourishing, and they are doing so without resorting to mimicking the mega-church, evangelical style. Christianity for the Rest of Us describes this phenomenon....
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Publisher's Summary

For decades the accepted wisdom has been that America's mainline Protestant churches are in decline, eclipsed by evangelical mega-churches. Church and religion expert Diana Butler Bass wondered if this was true, and this book is the result of her extensive, three-year study of centrist and progressive churches across the country. Her surprising findings reveal just the opposite - that many of the churches are flourishing, and they are doing so without resorting to mimicking the mega-church, evangelical style.

Christianity for the Rest of Us describes this phenomenon and offers a how-to approach for Protestants eager to remain faithful to their tradition while becoming a vital spiritual community. As Butler Bass delved into the rich spiritual life of various Episcopal, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and Lutheran churches, certain consistent practice - such as hospitality, contemplation, diversity, justice, discernment, and worship - emerged as core expressions of congregations seeking to rediscover authentic Christian faith and witness today.

This hopeful book, which includes a study guide for groups and individuals, reveals the practical steps that leaders and laypeople alike are taking to proclaim an alternative message about an emerging Christianity that strives for greater spiritual depth and proactively engages the needs of the world.

©2006 Diana Butler Bass (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

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  •  
    Catriona Oakland, CA, United States 02-02-12
    Catriona Oakland, CA, United States 02-02-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Do you have any narrators for Grown Ups?"

    I'm about halfway through this book right now and honestly, I'm not sure if it's horribly written or just read that way. The Narrator runs the full range from Barbie to Disney Princess, and when she attempts to do Latino accents I feel like I'm stuck in some horrible fifties film.

    Butler Bass's discussion of transformation within mainline Christian churches is at times engaging, facile, enlightening, smug, and rose-colored. I had read a lot of reviews of the print book and many seemed to be from non-Mainline Christians reacting to the implied criticism of fundamentalism. So I expected it to be smart, critical, and pointed. Instead it's bland Americana. So far there is one hopeful moment when she refers to the African American church, but then she veered of on Desmond Tutu. She's doing case studies of different congregation, but it's less like participant-observer scholarship and more like postcards from a road trip. In the diversity section she raves about the diversity of several of the churches only to follow up by saying that the only area in which they are not diverse is racially.

    Again, if it weren't for the narrator's tone I could perhaps be more generous, but it's just so spunky it seems totally out of place dealing with serious subjects.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynnwood Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States 03-25-13
    Lynnwood Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Hope Springs Eternal for Mainliners"

    This is a terrific study of what mainline churches are doing to confront and promote a deeper and more meaningful approach to Christianity and to increase their relevancy in today's culture and state of social evolution. The true Way of Jesus is much clearer to the churches she writes about than too many of the mainline and fundamentalist churches of today. Religious and social evolution is slow and sometimes painful, but like evolution of the species, we gradually see an improvement in the way things are in spite of the tendency of so many to resist change.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin W. Eldred Eagle River, AK United States 05-21-12
    Martin W. Eldred Eagle River, AK United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Inspiring, Challenging, Hopeful"
    What made the experience of listening to Christianity for the Rest of Us the most enjoyable?

    For decades the accepted wisdom has been that America's mainline Protestant churches are in decline, eclipsed by evangelical mega-churches. Church and religion expert Diana Butler Bass wondered if this was true, and this book is the result of her extensive, three-year study of centrist and progressive churches across the country. Her surprising findings reveal just the opposite--that many of the churches are flourishing, and they are doing so without resorting to mimicking the mega-church, evangelical style.

    "Christianity for the Rest of Us" describes this phenomenon and offers a how-to approach for Protestants eager to remain faithful to their tradition while becoming a vital spiritual community. As Butler Bass delved into the rich spiritual life of various Episcopal, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and Lutheran churches, certain consistent practices--such as hospitality, contemplation, diversity, justice, discernment, and worship--emerged as core expressions of congregations seeking to rediscover authentic Christian faith and witness today.

    This hopeful book, which includes a study guide for groups and individuals, reveals the practical steps that leaders and laypeople alike are taking to proclaim an alternative message about an emerging Christianity that strives for greater spiritual depth and proactively engages the needs of the world.

    A word about the Narrator, Karen Saltus. Overall, I enjoyed her voice and reading style. At times I was put off by her pronunciations of certain "church" words, ("theologians comes to mind, where she consistently elongates and emphasizes the "i") and her choice to affect the accents of some of the interviewees.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Bass does a great job of exploring and dispelling the myths behind the reported demise of the Mainstream Protestants.


    If you could give Christianity for the Rest of Us a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Ancient Future Christian Spirituality and the Hope for Future


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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