Christianity After Religion
The selection for the Fall 2012 Pastor’s Reading Group is Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. (To learn more about the book and the author, click here.) Rev. Dwayne met the author, Diana Butler Bass, at an MCC Clergy Retreat facilitated by the MCC Office of Formation and Leadership Development. At the time, she was writing this book and shared some of her preliminary insights.
Bass believes that during this time of “cultural anxiety, economic near collapse, terrorist fear, political violence, environmental crisis, and partisan anger” we are also in the midst of a spiritual awakening unlike any that we’ve experienced previously. It is different from previous “great awakenings” because it is an awakening beyond traditional religious structures. She sees this spiritual shifting and awakening as part of the anxiety. Yet she also sees opportunity for transformation and hope. She writes, “This transformation is what some hope will be a “Great Turning” toward a global community based on shared human connection, dedicated to the care of our planet, committed to justice and equality, that seeks to raise hundreds of millions from poverty, violence, and oppression.”
If Bass is correct in her assessment then what are the implications for MCCDC? How do we need to “re-think church” in order to better serve our community and world? How do we participate in the awakening? In fact, she writes: “it is exceedingly wise for faithful people to intentionally engage emerging religious questions in order to reform, renew, and reimagine ancient traditions in ways that make sense to contemporary people.” She balances this view by also stating “let me be perfectly clear. I do not think it is wise to adapt religions to contemporary tastes willy-nilly.”
The book, recently published, is available both electronically and in print.
Plan now to read the book
Discussion 1: “The End of Religion”
Discussion 2: “A New Vision”
-Held on Tuesday November 27, 2012
Discussion 3: “Awakening”
-Tuesday December 18, 2012, 7pm