Recorded Aug 8/2016 at the Chautauqua Institution.
Diana Butler Bass moves from her latest book Grounded‘s focus on nature to examine the sacredness of the city. Bass explores the theological images that appear in scripture that help us to think in new ways about the urban environments of our day. Seeking transformative images to usurp our tendency toward building empires toward a vision of the “urban cosmos” that empowers its inhabitants to live with justice, love, and humility, Bass paints a seductive vision of a universal city on a hill; a dwelling place of peace. In contrast to the system of globalization which seeks market control in the service of empire, Bass points to cosmopolitanism, a world view based upon our shared common humanity.
For those who were not able to attend our Pub Night, here’s the video that kicked off our conversations. Diana Butler Bass, speaking at All Saints’ in Pasadena in December of 2015 introduces her book Grounded: Finding God in the World, A Spiritual Revolution. The struggle between the conventional images of God and the emerging images of God sparked some interesting conversation!
Re-reading Diana Butler Bass’ latest tome while on sabbatical in Vancouver allows me the luxury of time to delve deeply into her keen insights with regard to the current state of Christianity in North America.
Bass offers hope to those of us who remain in the institutional church toiling away at the hard work of renewal. While the powers that be within the institution struggle to hold on to what used to be, by tinkering with doctrines and structures in order to maintain the status quo, Bass sees a “New Spiritual Awakening” happening among the “spiritual but not religious” crowd who seek a more direct experience of God. Rather than choosing between spirituality and religion, Bass calls for a more spirtual religion; one that enables us to become more fully human.
Take the time to watch Bass describe her book in her own words. For those of you who have already read the book, I would encourage you to listen to the story at the end of the lecture which Bass did not include in the book that captures the flavour of the “New Spiritual Awakening” she sees taking place in the most unlikely of places among the most unlikely participants.