Christianity for the Rest of Us -- a Review

In the mail today came my copy of Congregations (Alban Institute), which includes my review of Diana Butler Bass's Christianity for the Rest of Us. Diana's book, which if you read the review shows, is I think a truly remarkable contribution to our conversation about the future of the church in America.

As I announced earlier, the Academy of Parish Clergy has named this their Book of the Year. Although I'm journal editor, and thus a staff member of the Academy, I was not on the committee and did not influence it's selection. Though I'm glad it won! Though it did beat out Mark Toulouse's God in Public -- which I reviewed for Encounter and believe to be an extremely important book in it's own right. If you can get through to the review take a read and then if you've not purchased the book -- well buy one here at Pastor Bob's Bookstore!!!


Rebecca said…

This book was a recommended (but not required) book for a class I'm taking called "Reading Congregations in Context" in seminary. It's wonderful to hear that there's hope for mainline churches who want to try something with more depth and integrity than just copying the latest megachurch "get-em-in-the-door" trend. And I think some (maybe all) of the success of the churches Butler Bass studied were able to let go of the anxiety brought on by the constant focus on numbers (dollars and people in the pews).

One thing that surprised me was how many in my seminary class who read the book pooh-poohed it. Most of them are United Methodists. There is a lot of negativity, I think, among mainline Protestants and we just want to keep believing it. After hearing Robert Wuthnow speak at CTS last year, and reading Butler Bass' book, I refuse to completely accept the eulogizing of the mainline.

Thanks for the post. As a pastor of a mainline congregation -- a Disciples one at that -- I must hold on to hope that things will get better. In many ways all of this is cyclical and so maybe our time is coming again -- but we have to be creative (which is Diana's point).

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