Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community

Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community

by Diana Butler Bass
     
 

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In Strength for the Journey, Diana Butler Bass illustrates the dynamic strength and persistence of mainline Protestantism. While many baby boomers left the church, only to come back later in life, Bass was a "stayer" who witnessed the struggles and changes and found much there that was meaningful. Offering thought-provoking portraits of eight parishes she

Overview

In Strength for the Journey, Diana Butler Bass illustrates the dynamic strength and persistence of mainline Protestantism. While many baby boomers left the church, only to come back later in life, Bass was a "stayer" who witnessed the struggles and changes and found much there that was meaningful. Offering thought-provoking portraits of eight parishes she attended over two decades, she explores the major issues that have confronted mainline denominations, congregations, and parishioners during those years—from debates over women clergy to conflicts about diversity and community to scrimmages between tradition and innovation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
New York Times syndicated religion columnist Bass delivers the ostensible goods-an account of her life in eight different Episcopal churches-and even if the book stopped there, it would be magnificent. Her parish stories unfold in that riveting, better-than-fiction way that the best sociological case studies always do. Each chapter is more intriguing than the last, and it is a pleasure to see how their titles, such as "Competing Authorities" and "Interim," perfectly label the personal and congregational stories therein. But what strikes the heart is Bass's own journey from conservative evangelicalism to mainline liberalism. A precocious undergraduate who was reading the likes of Luther, Bultmann and Julian of Norwich in her free time, Bass went on to get a seminary degree and a Ph.D. in church history. She joined the Episcopal Church in her early 2Os because of her passion for liturgy and the Eucharist, and she initially hoped to "renew" the church, a euphemism for making it more evangelical. Instead, becoming a member made her less evangelical. Each parish story is also the story of her baby steps away from evangelical belief until, finally, the floodgates broke loose and she chose to leave all vestiges of her conservative Christian life behind, including her job and her marriage. This book is more than the chronicle of a baby boomer who stayed in a mainline denomination while most of her peers fled; it records a soul's search for God and communion with God's people. (Feb.) (Publishers Weekly, January 14, 2002)

"...if you want to protect your rock-solid opinions, you should not read this book. If you think the mainstream churches are apostate, you should not read this book. But, if you want to share one woman's multifaceted experience with God in a mainstream church, you will find this book both facinating and challenging." (CrossPoint, Winter 2003)

Publishers Weekly
New York Times syndicated religion columnist Bass delivers the ostensible goods an account of her life in eight different Episcopal churches and even if the book stopped there, it would be magnificent. Her parish stories unfold in that riveting, better-than-fiction way that the best sociological case studies always do. Each chapter is more intriguing than the last, and it is a pleasure to see how their titles, such as "Competing Authorities" and "Interim," perfectly label the personal and congregational stories therein. But what strikes the heart is Bass's own journey from conservative evangelicalism to mainline liberalism. A precocious undergraduate who was reading the likes of Luther, Bultmann and Julian of Norwich in her free time, Bass went on to get a seminary degree and a Ph.D. in church history. She joined the Episcopal Church in her early 20s because of her passion for liturgy and the Eucharist, and she initially hoped to "renew" the church, a euphemism for making it more evangelical. Instead, becoming a member made her less evangelical. Each parish story is also the story of her baby steps away from evangelical belief until, finally, the floodgates broke loose and she chose to leave all vestiges of her conservative Christian life behind, including her job and her marriage. This book is more than the chronicle of a baby boomer who stayed in a mainline denomination while most of her peers fled; it records a soul's search for God and communion with God's people. (Feb.) Forecast: This title has the potential for crossover between ABA and liturgical bookstores, evidenced by strong advance orders from both markets. Jossey-Bass plans a $60,000 marketing budget and a six-city author tour. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a longtime religion instructor, Bass is now a religion columnist for the New York Times syndicate. Although raised as an evangelical Christian in Baltimore in the late 1960s, she found a home in the Episcopalian tradition as she entered adulthood. In this spiritual, journalistic autobiography, Bass traces her faith journey from her undergraduate years at Westmont College to lay leadership at several troubled congregations in California and the South during the last three decades. Informed readers will find her "insider" analyses of congregational conflict to be an astute, if painful, reflection of troubled times. With a refreshingly straightforward style, she offers a constructive perspective of American churchgoing in mainline traditions. An additional purchase for public, Protestant church, and seminary libraries. Joyce Smothers, M.L.S. student, Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780787955786
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
01/01/1902
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.43(h) x 1.24(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The book you are holding in your hands is as much an amazement as a book. Though it may be—and is—gentle and unassuming, the tale told on these pages spreads in one's soul over time like a powerful music heard or a rich brandy well savored.... Strength for the Journey is a sui generis, a thing unto itself, a one-of-a-kind book." (From the foreword by Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours and The Shaping of a Life)

"Diana Bass is an astute, acute, and articulate commentator on the religious scene, with a knack for detecting the resonances between her own story and the larger story of religion and culture. A clear and witty voice, laced with humor." (Patrick Henry, executive director Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research)

"With the insights of a mystic, Diana Butler Bass recounts her spiritual pilgrimage from Methodism to evangelicalism to the benumbing diversity of the Episcopal Church, where she found a spiritual home. Along the way, she offers a guided tour of the crises and the controversies afflicting mainline Protestantism over the past several decades. For anyone looking for evidence that the glass of mainline Protestantism is half full rather than half empty, Strength for the Journey offers a persuasive case." (Randall Balmer Author of Growing Pains: Learning to Love My Father's Faith)

"A compelling intertwining of a personal spiritual journey and the recent history of Protestantism. Diana Butler-Bass makes the case that Baby Boom seekers are drawing the Church into a new, more authentic Christianity." (Nora Gallagher Author of Things Seen and Unseen: A Year Lived in Faith)

Meet the Author

Diana Butler Bass writes a weekly newspaper column on contemporary religion as New York Times syndicate columnist. In addition to being a popular speaker, retreat leader, and seminary professor, this scholar of American religion serves as director of faith formation at Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

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