5.0 out of 5 stars Authenitc: describes the funny and REAL challenges of church
Frankly, and without embellishment, one of the most sincere and important books I've ever read on churchgoing. I was desperate for an entertaining and accessible-yet-astute account of the history of American churchgoing, told without the usual tilted, pejorative, all-others-will-burn dogma. Butler Bass writes compassionately about her personal journey -- she went from a...
Published on March 12 2004 by D. Findley
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an Evangelical or "Low Church Protestant" Episcopalian
As the daughter of a retired Episcopal priest and a "cradle Episcopalian," I was glad to see the term "Protestant" jettisoned along the way during my spiritual development in the Episcopal Church (when it was called the Protestant Episcopal Church until my late adolesence.) While not leaning to the "high church" (Roman Catholic format) of...
Published on April 11 2003
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5.0 out of 5 stars Authenitc: describes the funny and REAL challenges of church,
Frankly, and without embellishment, one of the most sincere and important books I've ever read on churchgoing. I was desperate for an entertaining and accessible-yet-astute account of the history of American churchgoing, told without the usual tilted, pejorative, all-others-will-burn dogma. Butler Bass writes compassionately about her personal journey -- she went from a narrower mindset to a more inclusive spiritual practice. This book might leave you as invigorated and hopeful as it did me.
5.0 out of 5 stars Strength comes from many places,
Diana Butler Bass is a church goer. Always has been. Always will be. However her faith journey has been long and sometimes difficult. This is a very personal and compelling recounting of one woman's travels in the faith and also an interesting and thought provoking discourse on the condition of the Episcopal Church. Her church attendance has spanned the country. From Massachusetts to California and several places in between. She brings to the recounting of it, not only her description of her faith journey, but a scholar's understanding of the dynamics of the Faith. It is personal, it is uplifting and it is instructive. This is a wonderful book to read and reread.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Faith Well Written,
Diana Butler Bass has done a wonderful job of describing her faith journey. It is witty, intelligently written, well documented, and compelling. It probably helps to be an Episcopalian to enjoy it and to see one's self in parts of the book. Bass is a churchgoer. Always has been. Always will be. I understand where she is coming from. However, her education and experience at eight different parish churches from Massachusetts to California makes very entertaining reading as well as giving the reader much to reflect on and ponder. There is nothing flip about this book. It is serious stuff and it is also uplifting. Her path in the church does not mirror mine, but that just makes the twists and turns in her faith life more interesting. It also explains why the Episcopal Church can be so frustrating to many and misunderstood by others. It is a journey worth reading about and who knows, you may find strength for yours there also.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an Evangelical or "Low Church Protestant" Episcopalian,
By A Customer
As the daughter of a retired Episcopal priest and a "cradle Episcopalian," I was glad to see the term "Protestant" jettisoned along the way during my spiritual development in the Episcopal Church (when it was called the Protestant Episcopal Church until my late adolesence.) While not leaning to the "high church" (Roman Catholic format) of some Episcopal parishes, my father wasn't "low church," (Protestant) either--which to me is nearly synonomous with "evangelical". I saw him as one who leaned more toward the "catholic" side of the Episcopal church than the "protestant." He served in areas (i.e. towns and cities) very much influenced by protestant religious majorities, as well as where Roman Catholicism was the predominant religion, but retained his views throughout. He wore a clerical collar, not a coat and tie, at work. In some towns, my father was also my primary Episcopal priest, which can give an interesting perspective, as any clergy child can tell. Relocating to various areas of the country with him gave me a wide view of the Episcopal Church, including my father's attendance at an Episcopal seminary when I was an elementary school child. I was looking for a similar broad view in Bass' book, and it seems she rebelled for a very long time against anything but Evangelical worship practices which I found frustrating about her book. But to each his/her own in terms of what they like or don't like about the Episcopal Church. I miss the 1928 prayebook liturgy now as a forty-something year old, though I initially liked the modern language of the current prayerbook. Looking at the modern language now makes me miss the beautiful Elizabethan/Shakespearean language of the former liturgy.
Bass' book was an OK overview of how broad the spectrum individual congregations of the Episcopal Church can be, but I'd recommend Nora Gallagher's two books over this one.
4.0 out of 5 stars Pilgrims who went Before,
I commend Diana Butler Bass for sharing the story of her own transformation and growth in the context of growth and change in the Episcopal Church. My sense is that the hearts of many will sing as they read words that they feel they might themselves have written.
My purpose is to set the record straight for I was there in relationships and in places where she was not. I took this book from the shelf at our local bookstore because of the title, Strength for the Journey. I first heard and then used those words as curate and then associate at All Saints, Pasadena where every Sunday without fail George Regas would proclaim, "Wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith, you are welcome." George Regas was carrying on the long standing tradition of welcoming and empowering a diverse and gifted household of faith. Ed Bacon has gracefully and effectively continued to do so. So also, did Gethin Hughes carry on according to his gifts the ministry of nourishing and empowering the household of faith called All Saints by the Sea after the retirement of George Hall. But the changes Diana describes did not come out of the air. They came from seeds planted in those very eras which Diana criticizes. The eras when George Regas and George Hall served.
Diana never met "George and Sally" and has no idea of the breadth of their ministry to others not only those who attended All Saints but those in the community beyond who simply were in need. I know because I am blessed to be their daughter as well as an Episcopal priest. A recent obituary of George Hall features a photograph in which he is holding one of the more than 1,000 babies he baptized. Not one of those babies was baptized on one of the "tony" estates the author describes. I quote from that same obituary, "Although (the Reverend George Hall) was officially rector at All Saints by the Sea for 32 years, his ministry, community involvement and love for his fellow men and women led him into many other activities and organizations in Santa Barbara and the surrounding area. The list is staggering: He was on the founding boards of the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation, the Children's Home Society, the Alcohol Information Services...Casa Nuestra, etc..He always worked to help the homeless and those who battled drug and alcohol abuse, and he supported education at all levels..." He and his wife, Sally, walked the walk. I remember George Hall proclaiming at the end of services, "Go forth and be the Church."
The more than 400 people who gathered to celebrate George Hall's life were far more diverse in age, economic status, race and religion than one might expect if one only read about him through Diana Butler Bass's book. But she never knew him. I pray that we all might continue to be blessed by the God who teaches and transforms us from generation to generation.
The Reverend Frances Hall Kieschnick
Palo Alto, California
5.0 out of 5 stars 'the human being fully alive',
Spiritual autobiography in the best sense, this rather spare account continually is a continual surprise and a quiet delight, avoiding cliche and the temptation to be too personally confessional. The itinerary inverts the tale common to the post-war generation; the author's early conversion to dogmatic religion and to ritualism gradually yields, against her will, to a more flexible and at the same time more rigorous faith, quite different from the caricature of 'liberalism' inculcated by dogmatic churches. It is full of insight into the interaction between the personal seeker and the social realities of a church-going life, and a remarkable courtesy for the conservative Christians whose company she ultimately departs. The balance between deep feeling and deep reflection is fully achieved, and the story of this 20th century Pilgrim is moving as it is compelling.
5.0 out of 5 stars How one woman chose to stay and discovered a renewed meaning,
The news likes to focus on how many churches are losing members and refusing to change in response to community needs: Strength For The Journey tells how one woman chose to stay and discovered a renewed meaning in her faith. Her title recounts the emergence of a healthier set of Protestant mainline churches which are enjoying a new vitality from its membership, and comes from the unusual perspective of an ongoing participant in church activities who never left her circle and thus was able to observe the changes.
5.0 out of 5 stars On my Top-10-Ever list,
Frankly, and without embellishment, one of the most sincere and important books I've ever read. I was desperate for an entertaining and accessible-yet-astute account of the history of American churchgoing, told without the usual tilted, pejorative, all-others-will-burn dogma. Butler Bass writes compassionately about her personal journey from a narrower mindset to a more inclusive spiritual practice. This book might leave you as invigorated and hopeful as it did me.
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for the Mind and Heart,
Having journeyed thorugh my own myriad religious background and experiences, I found this book in a way reflecting my own story. But more than that, the author sets the personal story in the context of a community of faith's story - and further extends the story into the context of American culture and political system. She exhibits a breath of knowledge of the various tensions at work within in the church, which is never far away from being what it is:"in the world."
I was facinated with her personal story of moving from an evangelical - fairly rigid religious orientation as a teenager and college student - to confronting the questions and paradoxes that life brings. In the midst of that honesty with her own life she allows us to listen to her own struggle with faith questions, which are truly interwoven into life decisions and choices.
There seems to be a dialogue that forms with the reader as the author becomes open to her changing religious reference points: where the rites, riuals, forms, textures, tastes, smells and sounds of spiritual life become alive within a community of people. The hunger for spiritual nurishment is never quite satiated...but as the author indicates in her title: she is given strength for the journey.
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful,
By A Customer
This is a wonderful book, artfully conceived and well written. Her description of her journey through several churches and denominations should speak to many baby boomers. I have wrestled with many of the same issues, and gained a greater understanding of my own spiritual journey, both negative and positive elements of it, with the help of Bass's scholarly perspective as well as her insightful analysis of her own trials and tribulations in embracing various elements of faith. I really recommend this book to any spiritual seeker, Christian and non.
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Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community by Diana Butler Bass (Paperback - Oct. 12 2004)
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