The headlines are clear: religion is on the decline in America as many people leave behind traditional religious practices. Diana Butler Bass, leading commentator on religion, politics, and culture, follows up her acclaimed book Christianity After Religion by arguing that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. The distant God of conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us – and that is challenging not only religious institutions but political and social ones as well.
Grounded explores this cultural turn as Bass unpacks how people are finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God everywhere in the world around us—in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in the global commons. Faith is no longer a matter of mountaintop experience or institutional practice; instead, people are connecting with God through the environment in which we live. Grounded guides readers through our contemporary spiritual habitat as it points out and pays attention to the ways in which people experience a God who animates creation and community.
Bass brings her understanding of the latest research and studies and her deep knowledge of history and theology to Grounded. She cites news, trends, data, and pop culture, weaves in spiritual texts and ancient traditions, and pulls it all together through stories of her own and others' spiritual journeys. Grounded observes and reports a radical change in the way many people understand God and how they practice faith. In doing so, Bass invites readers to join this emerging spiritual revolution, find a revitalized expression of faith, and change the world.
In her excellent treatise, Bass (Christianity After Religion) addresses the apparent decline of religious practice in America. In cogent, convincing arguments, she declares the current state of religion as not dying but transforming. Bass juxtaposes the postcard church its static, pristine steeple pointing to heaven above with the energetic church of community-oriented churchgoers across the Earth. "God is with us. Here," she states. In her introduction, Bass explains the chapters that follow, including strengthening her own journey, respecting all faiths, and asking "Where is God?" within each given subject. "Natural Habitat" ponders dirt, water, and sky; "Human Geography" covers roots, home, neighborhood, and commons. Her conclusion comes with the revelation and defense of "an ongoing spiritual evolution." She often quotes fellow religious writers (from Sam Harris to Hildegard) and tells transformative stories (from finding her Quaker roots, to mourning with a man on a plane). Bass's biblical and effusive style, always mixing the personal with the political and scriptural, finds a deeper, more profound register in this latest book. It is a call to arms, sure to inspire Bass's intimate fan base committed to a Christian revolution.