Christianity After Religion: The End Of Church And The Birth Of A New Spiritual Awakening

Christianity After Religion: The End Of Church And The Birth Of A New Spiritual Awakening
by Diana Butler Bass

I started this book months ago and only got halfway through it before things got nuts at church and I never picked it up again. I finished it on vacation and I’m so glad I did. Diana Butler Bass talks about the fact that we are going through a spiritual awakening. She addressed the issue of people claiming to be “spiritual but not religious” – this is something a lot of clergy are critical of, but something I have always embraced. She finally affirmed “why” for me.

Everyone says that the church is “dying” and I really don’t think that’s true. I think the church is changing, not dying. Yes, things are going to look a little bit different, but with each new generation the world always looks a little bit different. I love the church that I grew up in, but I’m kind of excited to have the opportunity to explore my faith as the structures around me change. I WANT to think about faith over religion, deepen my own sense of spiritual understanding.

Anyway …

“We live in a time of momentous historical change that is both exhilarating and frightening.”

“To awaken spiritually means that we develop a new awareness of God’s energy in the world in order to discern what is needed to open the possibilities for human flourishing. Discernment leads to new understandings of self, neighbor, and God – a vision of what can and should be. Thus, awakening demands we act upon the new vision. Wake up, discern, imagine, and do. What will make a difference to the future is awakening to a faith that fully communicates God’s love – a love that transforms how we believe, what we do, and who we are in the world.”

“To say that on is ‘spiritual but not religious’ or ‘spiritual and religious’ is often a way of saying, ‘I am dissatisfied with the way things are, and I want to find a new way of connecting with God, my neighbor, and my own life.’ It might not be a thoughtless mantra at a ll – in many cases, it may well be a considered commentary on religious institutions, doctrine, and piety.” <;- AMEN.

“The religious model that once worked so well serving to educate, spiritually enliven, and socially elevate so many does not accomplish those goals as well any longer.”

“We need religion imbued with the spirit of shared humanity and hope, not religions that divide and further fracture the future.”

“To be spiritual and religious is to call for a new wholeness of experience and reason, to restitch experience with human wisdom and to renew reason through an experience of awe. Thus, the path of Christian faith in a postreligious age must be that of experiential belief in which the heart takes the lead in believing.”

“Over the centuries, theologies have argues that the Christian church began with Peter’s confession to Jesus: ‘You are the Messiah’ (Matt. 16:16). After Peter say that Jesus is that long-awaited redeemer, Jesus calls Peter ‘the rock’ and says that upon this ‘rock’ he will build his church. In a very real way, however, the church began long before that confession. It began when Jesus called out, ‘Follow me,’ and his friends and neighbors left their old lives and started a new community. A dozen men and a band of women joined Jesus and one another in a journey of faith and sharing and compassion. Christianity did not begin with a confession. It began with an invitation into friendship, into creating a new community, into forming relationships based on love and service.” <;- Jesus still says, 'Follow me'.

“The Fourth Great Awakening is not a quest to escape the world. Instead, it moves into the heart of the world, facing the challenges head-on to take what is old – failed institutions, scarred landscapes, wearies religions, a wounded planet – and make them workable and humane in the service of global community. No miracles here. God does not heal without human hands. The hard work is in the possibility.” <;- Whoa.

“All the world’s a stage, the theater of God’s divine drama. The more we rehearse, the better we become at our parts.”

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