I think I saw this book mentioned on an interesting blog I’m reading at the moment, John Vest’s blog, a youth pastor who is currently moderator of Chicago Presbytery.  It had been mentioned a couple of times.  As the Hewitson Library had displayed a copy I made the point of flagging it for my own reading.

It’s a good argument.  I’m not sure I’m convinced.  Bass’s thesis seems to be that the conservative Evangelical resurgence in American politics and culture has faltered.  The old mainstream church is having its own crises, an unattractive alternative that is fading away.  Belief is in such a free-fall that free-thinking critics of religion may know more doctrine than those who actually subscribe to it.  The progressives are sidelined out of the churches.  They have become identified as spiritual without being religious.

There’s an spiritual awakening that is untapped by organised religion.  I’m skeptical of the conviction that we are in an axial age.  I’m not seeing the evidence.  I see too much civilised darkness out there and to say that the spiritual awakening will herald in a new age of global community is mechanistic.

Bass recognises that the revived dream offered by Obama has given rise to a reactionary religio-political movement.  Indeed Obama in presidential office may be part of the backlash.  The conflict exists between the doctrinaire and the innovators.  However America is still a generation behind the rest of the western nations in the withering Christendom.  The result has been most people have taken the post-Christian option to the extent that any religious identity is suspicious and suspect.

In the end what holds organised religion together may be that someone has to keep paying for the pension.

Bass looks forward to a belief that includes emotional response.  Give up on orthodoxy and return to just living.  I always think that ‘just’ should be stressed.  It is not deprecatory; it is Living Justly.  We don’t seek pantheism, we seek to live in god.  Maybe we can a new word: entheism, for living in god.  If the Resurrection is not a historic event that does not stop us from living it out in our lives.  Pray to be discontent, so we may want more more in our lives; and live so that the filling of the absence of god may become real in our lives.