GCU Offers Spiritual Saturday Morning Book Club

GCU invites the public to a meeting of the Saturday Morning Book Club on Feb. 16. Diana Butler Bass’s "Christianity after Religion" will be discussed.

Looking for a way to further your faith through discussion with others? Mary-Paula Cancienne, RSM, Ph.D., Georgian Court University assistant professor of religious studies/theology, and the GCU Department of Theology and Religious Studies invite the public to a meeting of the Saturday Morning Book Club on February 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Diana Butler Bass’s Christianity after Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (2012) will be read and discussed by the group in the Gavan Student Lounge.

Bass’s book takes a look at the “spiritual but not religious” trend in the United States, using the latest national studies and polls, along with the author’s own analysis of the decline in Christian attendance and affiliation that started decades ago—and has only increased in recent years. Bass—who has spent her career teaching the history, culture, and politics of religion, and engaging church communities across the nation—offers direction and hope to individuals and churches, as well as a hope-filled plea to see and participate in creating a fresh, vital, contemporary way of faith.

“Bass explains how experience, connection, and service are replacing theology as keys to the next Great Awakening. It’s a fascinating story,” says Bill McKibben, author of Earth and founder of 360.org.

GCU’s book club, which began two years ago, has discussed such books as Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle; Faith Maps: Ten Religious Explorers from Newman to Joseph Ratzinger by Michael Paul Gallagher; and Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection by Benedict XVI.

“The book club came about because some of our alumni said that they missed getting together and talking about theology and spirituality,” says Sister Mary-Paula. “They missed the rich dialogue they had experienced in our M.A. in Theology program, so it seemed a natural step to start a book club.”

Though the club began with graduates of GCU’s graduate theology program, the club is open to everyone, says Sister Mary-Paula.

“We invite any who are interested in growing in their faith, are willing to jump into reading authors who will nourish our faith as well as challenge us to think critically and deeply, and are willing to participate in sharing with a few fellow souls on the journey.”

Participation in the book club is free, but reservations are required by contacting the GCU Office of Conferences and Special Events at 732.987.2263 or specialevents@georgian.edu.

The book club will meet again on Saturday, May 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and will focus on a discussion of Patrick T. McCormick’s God’s Beauty: A Call to Justice (2012).

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