Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks

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If gratitude is good, why is it so hard to do? In Grateful, Diana Butler Bass untangles our conflicting understandings of gratitude and sets the table for a renewed practice of giving thanks.

We know that gratitude is good, but many of us find it hard to sustain a meaningful life of gratefulness. Four out of five Americans report feeling gratitude on a regular basis, but those private feelings seem disconnected from larger concerns of our public lives. In Grateful, cultural observer and theologian Diana Butler Bass takes on this “gratitude gap” and offers up surprising, relevant, and powerful insights to practice gratitude.

Bass, author of the award-winning Grounded and ten other books on spirituality and culture, explores the transformative, subversive power of gratitude for our personal lives and in communities. Using her trademark blend of historical research, spiritual insights, and timely cultural observation, she shows how we can overcome this gap and make change in our own lives and in the world.

With honest stories and heartrending examples from history and her own life, Bass reclaims gratitude as a path to greater connection with god, with others, with the world, and even with our own souls. It’s time to embrace a more radical practice of gratitude—the virtue that heals us and helps us thrive.

 

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About the author

Diana Butler Bass is the author of eight books on American religion, including Christianity After Religion, Christianity for the Rest of Us, and A People's History of Christianity. She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Duke University, has taught at the college and graduate level, and is currently an independent scholar. She was a columnist for the New York Times Syndicate, and blogs for the Huffington Post and the Washington Post on issues of religion, spirituality, and culture. Bass is a popular speaker at conferences, colleges and universities, and churches across North America. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband, daughter, and dog. Her website is dianabutlerbass.com and she can be followed on Twitter at @dianabutlerbass.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins
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Published on
Apr 3, 2018
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780062659514
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christian Life / Personal Growth
Religion / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
Social Science / Sociology of Religion
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The headlines are clear: religion is on the decline in America as many people leave behind traditional religious practices. Diana Butler Bass, leading commentator on religion, politics, and culture, follows up her acclaimed book Christianity After Religion by arguing that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. The distant God of conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us – and that is challenging not only religious institutions but political and social ones as well.

Grounded explores this cultural turn as Bass unpacks how people are finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God everywhere in the world around us—in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in the global commons. Faith is no longer a matter of mountaintop experience or institutional practice; instead, people are connecting with God through the environment in which we live. Grounded guides readers through our contemporary spiritual habitat as it points out and pays attention to the ways in which people experience a God who animates creation and community.

Bass brings her understanding of the latest research and studies and her deep knowledge of history and theology to Grounded. She cites news, trends, data, and pop culture, weaves in spiritual texts and ancient traditions, and pulls it all together through stories of her own and others' spiritual journeys. Grounded observes and reports a radical change in the way many people understand God and how they practice faith. In doing so, Bass invites readers to join this emerging spiritual revolution, find a revitalized expression of faith, and change the world.

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