As part of my next book, I’m asking for stories, comments, and insights on why people have left Roman Catholicism or conservative evangelical churches (either independent ones or, most especially, the Southern Baptist Convention).  Are you a former Roman Catholic or former conservative evangelical?  Or are you someone who is thinking of leaving one of…

I’m busy working on my next book–it doesn’t yet have a title–on how spirituality and religion are changing in the United States (and mentioning Canada, Aus/NZ, UK as well for comparison).  For instance, did you know that in the last few years nearly every brand-name denomination in North America has experienced numerical decline, including many…

This Politics Daily story, “Vatican Rules Ordaining Women Priests a Crime Like Sex Abuse of Children,” from my friend David Gibson, author of a thoughtful biography on Pope Benedict, and himself a Catholic, left me speechless.  If anyone has a doubt as to why atheism is on the rise, they need look no further than this recent…

My mother died on June 30.   It is hard to write those words, even harder to post them.  But part of dying is the practice of the public memorial, spoken words in eulogies and written ones in obituaries.  After death, words communicate joy and grief, appreciation and contribution.  Words are memory.  And I would…

This week, what is surely one of the most bizarre religion stories of the year came across my email.  No, it wasn’t the story about lightning hitting the giant Jesus statue in Ohio.  Instead, it is the “Mitregate” scandal, part of the continuing saga of Anglican travail. Both the Guardian newspaper in England and Episcopal…

Over the weekend, I spoke to a large group of mainline churchgoers who posed their conference theme as a question: “Who Are You Christians Anyway?”  The question is a good one–and it is a question that people ask me all the time, especially when I travel.  Although the United States remains the country with the largest…

With the World Cup in South Africa, it is appropriate to take note of African religion–for not only are Africans sports-mad, but they are the most religious people in the world.  In 1912, geographer George Kimball quipped, “The darkest thing about Africa has been our ignorance of it.”  For most Americans, not much has changed…

My daughter is finishing sixth grade at a school that teaches world religions to middle schoolers.  This year, they studied Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam.  Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) comes next year.  The program is wonderful, designed by a passionate young teacher who is working on her Ph.D. in religious studies at the University…

June 9 commemorates Columba, the Abbot of Iona (d. 597), who has become a rather unlikely saint-hero to contemporary emergence, liberal, and progressive Christians–as well as postmodern folks who might identify themselves as spiritual but not particularly religious. Born in Donegal, Ireland in 521 with the given name, “Colum,” meaning “dove,” Columba devoted his life…

June 5 is World Environment Day.  Similar to Earth Day, WED celebrates the global movement for environmental activism by commemorating the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, the first such international conference.  June 5 also marks the Feast Day of St. Boniface (672-754).  St. Boniface is remembered as the Apostle of the Germans…

Diana Butler Bass
about

Diana Bass

Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of seven books including A People’s History of Christianity: the Other Side of the Story (HarperOne, 2009) Her best-selling Christianity for the Rest of Us (2006) was named as one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly and Christian Century, won the Book of the Year Award from the Academy of Parish Clergy, and was featured in a cover story in USA TODAY.

Diana regularly consults with religious organizations, leads conferences for religious leaders, and teaches and preaches in a variety of venues. She regularly comments on religion, politics, and culture in the media including USA TODAY, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, CNN, FOX, PBS, and NPR. From 1995-2000, she wrote a weekly column on American religion for the New York Times Syndicate. She has written widely in the religious press, including Sojourners, Christian Century, Clergy Journal, and Congregations.

From 2002 to 2006, she was the Project Director of a national Lilly Endowment funded study of mainline Protestant vitality—a project featured in Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Diana also serves on the board of directors of the Beatitudes Society.

Diana has taught at Westmont College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Macalester College, Rhodes College, and the Virginia Theological Seminary. She has taught church history, American religious history, history of Christian thought, religion and politics, and congregational studies.

She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in downtown Washington, D.C.

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