STRENGTH FOR THE JOURNEY: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community
New York Times syndicated religion columnist Bass delivers the ostensible goods—an account of her life in eight different Episcopal churches—and even if the book stopped there, it would be magnificent. Her parish stories unfold in that riveting, better-than-fiction way that the best sociological case studies always do. Each chapter is more intriguing than the last, and it is a pleasure to see how their titles, such as "Competing Authorities" and "Interim," perfectly label the personal and congregational stories therein. But what strikes the heart is Bass's own journey from conservative evangelicalism to mainline liberalism. A precocious undergraduate who was reading the likes of Luther, Bultmann and Julian of Norwich in her free time, Bass went on to get a seminary degree and a Ph.D. in church history. She joined the Episcopal Church in her early 20s because of her passion for liturgy and the Eucharist, and she initially hoped to "renew" the church, a euphemism for making it more evangelical. Instead, becoming a member made her less evangelical. Each parish story is also the story of her baby steps away from evangelical belief until, finally, the floodgates broke loose and she chose to leave all vestiges of her conservative Christian life behind, including her job and her marriage. This book is more than the chronicle of a baby boomer who stayed in a mainline denomination while most of her peers fled; it records a soul's search for God and communion with God's people. (Feb.)
Forecast:This title has the potential for crossover between ABA and liturgical bookstores, evidenced by strong advance orders from both markets. Jossey-Bass plans a $60,000 marketing budget and a six-city author tour.
Release date: 02/01/2002