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

By Diana Butler Bass (Author)
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Item Number 56166  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.6" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0060836946  
EAN  9780060836948  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Hardcover $ 23.95 $ 20.36 56166
Paperback $ 15.99 $ 13.59 69108 In Stock
Item Description...
Good news! Despite the hoopla that it's only the conservative, evangelical megachurches that are growing, Bass points to countless instances of small, vital congregations that are making a positive difference in their neighborhoods. Practical how-to advice along with inspiring stories. 272 pages, hardcover. HarperSanFrancisco.

Publishers Description

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.

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More About Diana Butler Bass

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Diana Butler Bass is senior research fellow and director of the Project on Congregations of Intentional Practice, a Lilly Endowment funded research study of vital mainline Protestant churches, at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. From 1995--2000, she wrote a weekly column on American religion for the New York Times Syndicate. She is the author of Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2002.

Diana Butler Bass currently resides in Alexandria, in the state of Virginia. Diana Butler Bass was born in 1959.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good News for the "Mainline" Churches  Jan 9, 2007
In her first book, Diana Butler Bass told us how her personal spiritual pilgrimage coincided with the spiritual journeys of the Episcopal Churches she attended. Apparently, both of those journeys convinced her that the "mainline" churches still have vitality when many (including members of the mainline churches themselves) believed they were dying. Her next books hypothesized about what was contributing to the vitality in those churches and her recommendations for introducing "intentional practices" into those congregations who were struggling. This book is both a broad and an indepth study of what is working in these historic, traditional churches that makes it possible for them to spiritually compete with the megachurches and fundamentalist evangelical churches that are getting all of the attention from the secular press. Her research identifies nine different "intentional practices" of these churches that make it possible for them to be instrumental in the transformation of individuals toward deeper trust in God, faith founded values, and faith driven behavior. (Many of the nine "intentional practices" can be equated with the Natural Church Development categories). As she always has, Bass tells wonderful stories about the things she observed or reports the details of interviews she and others conducted to give anecdotal credance to the big conclusions she draws. Here is a book that will give confidence to the "mainline" pastors and parishioners who are wringing their hands about the future of their congregations. It will help them identify what is going on in their own places of worship that is fulfilling the missions of the Christian Church and point to practices they are not doing that would bring new life to their parishes. The only regret I have is that we needed Ms. Bass' book thirty years ago, but, as she herself points out, it is not too late for a resurgence of Christian Churches whose strength is their roots in the long history of the Church in the West.
Mainline Churches can be renewed  Jan 9, 2007
This is a must-read for layleaders or clergy interested in the renewal and revitalization of mainline churches. Bass gives example after example of churches that have remained true to themselves and have found ways to adapt their ministries to the people and circumstances in which they find themselves in a changing world. Her research is thorough, well-documented, and presented in a compelling manner. This book would be good for discussion groups of laity and clergy.
One of the Best of 2006  Dec 11, 2006
A vitally important study of the vibrant faith that yet remains in the Protestant church in America. I adore the way Diana Butler-Bass writes. As an academically trained sociologist, I also was keenly interested in her methodology as the framework for her participant observation. Frankly, I hope what she chronicles in this book is contagious and infects the Protestatnt church everywhere. The book is written such that it can be enjoyed by all audiences. This is a "journey story," not an antiseptic, academic journal type book. A book written for everyone. Enjoy it! It is definitely the Best Book About American Protestantism I have read in 2006...This is truly a work of art. It will resonate with folks outside the U.S. as well. You go Diana!!!
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE REST OF US is a guide no church leader can ignore.  Dec 11, 2006
For decades the idea has been that America's mainline Protestant churches are increasingly irrelevant, replaced by suburban evangelical mega-churches: now CHRISTIANITY FOR THE REST OF US: HOW THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHURCH IS TRANSFORMING THE FAITH comes from a church expert and former NY Times columnist to maintain there's a revolution taking place within the mainline churches across the country. Modern mainline churchgoers who don't use the evangelical approach are growing - and their views represent a wider community interested in religion and politics alike. Her three-year study, funded by the Lilly Endowment, surveys some fifty such churches across six denominations to chart not a decline, but a revolutionary change in the making. CHRISTIANITY FOR THE REST OF US is a guide no church leader can ignore.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
Read This Book!  Nov 23, 2006
I'll cut straight to the chase: If you are associated with, interested in, a member of, a leader of, responsible for, or curious about the grouping of denominations and church bodies known as "the mainline" you simply must read this book.

It is not an apology for mainline decline and it is not an attack on other faith traditions (such as fundamentalists and evangelical expressions of church); rather, it describes a relatively new development (one little noticed because it is occurring in a context--the neighborhood denominational church--that is not thought worthy of exploration) that moves the church beyond its often dull status quo toward an exciting, transformative future.

How does this happen? Certainly not by attacking or mimicking others. Instead, the churches included in Bass's lively account of her on-the-ground research find their best selves by exploring both their local history and the grand sweep of Christian tradition. She has found a pattern in these explorations that she describes as 10 "signposts of vitality"--such as hospitality, theological reflection, discernment, and justice.

The mainline may not have the numbers it once had, but it is not because of the churches profiled in this book or the others like them. Join them and "the rest of us" in the effort to create churches where head and heart, past and present, and self and community can find life together.

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