BROKEN WE KNEEL: Reflections on Faith and Citizenship

Diana Butler Bass, Author, Jim Wallis, Foreword by . Jossey-Bass $23.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-7879-7284-4

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, American cars, homes and churches were suddenly covered with flags and the phrase "United We Stand." Bass (Strength for the Journey ) gives eloquent expression to the discomfort such patriotism caused among Christians who, like her, find themselves "resident aliens" in an America once again steeped in civil religion. The book's title is Bass's faith-based answer to "United We Stand," and she weaves a series of reflections around her conflicted reactions to the patriotism of her parish at the time: Christ Church of Alexandria, Va., four miles from the Pentagon, heir to a long military tradition and dominated by memorials to both George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Drawing on Augustine, Bass argues that American Christians have become so enamored of "the City of Man" that they have forgotten their true citizenship in the "City of God." She deftly explores the history of "God Bless America" and "Amazing Grace," the two songs that defined post-September 11 religiosity, contending that neither provides adequate guidance for Christian citizenship. Bass's prose is often lyrical, and readers troubled by America's combination of military might and professed faith will find this book refreshing. But Bass displays so little sympathy for her former fellow worshippers at Christ Church, and delves so little into the rich variety of Christian reflection on civic responsibility, that others will be frustrated by her seemingly impermeable idealism. (May 7)

Reviewed on: 03/29/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-470-90749-8
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