Dan's Reviews > Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith
by Diana Butler Bass
If you are looking for a prescription for vital Christianity based on a study of Scripture, you will be disappointed in Christianity for the Rest of Us. This book is the result of a study, or pilgrimage as the author calls it, to refute critics who say that only conservative churches can grow. She knew that "other" Christians existed and set out to discover them and learn the characteristics of those mainline Protestant churches that are thriving. The study was a serious, three-year study, the numerical results of which are tabulated in an appendix that would be expected in an academic study. It included additional visits to churches to verify her initial conclusions.
She found ten characteristics in these vital churches, which she has termed hospitality, discernment, healing, contemplation, testimony, diversity, justice, worship, reflection, and beauty. She devotes a chapter to each of these characteristics, explaining their meaning by giving examples of what she found in specific churches. Not all of the vital churches demonstrated all ten characteristics. The churches themselves presented a diversity. All of the churches exhibited "the same spiritual triad: connection to tradition, commitment to Christian practices, and concern to live God's dream. Together, tradition, practice, and wisdom embody the Christian life."