Christianity after Religion: The End of the Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening

By Compier, Don H. | Anglican and Episcopal History, June 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Christianity after Religion: The End of the Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening


Compier, Don H., Anglican and Episcopal History


Christianity After Religion: The End of the Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. By Diana Buder Bass. (New York: HarperOne, 2012, Pp. 287. $25.00.)

I fear diat many of die persons that would be most interested in this book will be put off by its misleading tide. Given current economic realities, we cannot blame publishers for wishing to reach die broadest possible reading public, and as Diana Butler Bass knows, many persons today are deeply suspicious of the church. The author, however, neither predicts nor wishes for the end of the church. Instead, her lively, accessible prose is interested in ecclesial reform. I commend this book to all ministers, lay and ordained, who wish to engage in serious consideration of the vast shifts in the mission fields of the United States. Those primarily interested in church history should consider how she uses narratives of the Christian past to argue that we find ourselves in the midst of the Fourth Great Awakening.

Though Bass has taught and published in the field of church history, her focus is on contemporary practical realities. To cite Michel Foucault, we might say that she is writing a "history of the present," with all the difficulties and uncertainties that fluid and incomplete data pose. I am no expert on the previous three Great Awakenings (according to Bass, ca. 1730-60, ca. 1800-30, and ca. 1890-1920). I am suspicious of the way typologies promote over-generalizations, fitting the messinese and uniqueness of historical moments into pre-conceived conceptual boxes. My studies in the sixteenth century made me cringe when she claims that "Teresa [of Avila] concluded that the self was basically good and [John] Calvin that it was basically bad" (174). Still, I am hesitant to pass judgment on the general accuracy of her citations of historical precedents. In any case, dwelling on that matter would distort the author's main intent. This faithful Episcopalian seeks to provide hopeful future orientation in a time when Christian churches are in crisis.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Christianity after Religion: The End of the Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?