Diana Butler Bass

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Diana Butler Bass
Diana butler bass 4090003.jpg
Diana Hochstedt

(1959-02-19) February 19, 1959 (age 60)
ResidenceAlexandria, Virginia, US
Other namesDiana Hochstedt Butler
Home townScottsdale, Arizona, US
Richard Bass (m. 1997)
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisStanding Against the Whirlwind[1][2] (1991)
Doctoral advisorGeorge Marsden[1]
Academic work
Sub-disciplineHistory of Christianity
Websitedianabutlerbass.com Edit this at Wikidata

Diana Butler Bass[needs IPA] (born 1959) is an American historian of Christianity and a leading voice in progressive Christianity. Bass is currently an independent scholar who writes broadly on American religion and culture. She is the author of eight books, three of which have won research or writing awards. She earned a PhD in religious studies from Duke University in 1991 with an emphasis on American ecclesiastical history. While at Duke she studied under George Marsden. From 1995 to 2000, she wrote a weekly column on religion and culture for the New York Times Syndicate that appeared in more than seventy newspapers nationwide and has since become a popular commentator on American religion for other media outlets. Currently, she is a blogger for the God's Politics blog with Jim Wallis at Beliefnet,[3] as well as On Faith and The Huffington Post. She is associated with Sojourners and the Red-Letter Christian movement.[4]

Early life[edit]

Born on February 19, 1959, in Baltimore, Maryland, as Diana Hochstedt, Bass grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. Raised a United Methodist, she became an evangelical. She attended Westmont College, a Christian college in Santa Barbara, California, and Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary, where she earned a master's degree in ecclesiastical history. Her spiritual memoir, Strength for the Journey, records her growing dissatisfaction with conservative evangelical religion. She is now a member of the Episcopal Church.


For a decade, she worked primarily as a college professor before becoming an independent scholar. During this time she taught at Westmont College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Macalester College, Rhodes College, and Virginia Theological Seminary. In 2002, the Lilly Endowment awarded Bass a major grant to support her research on mainline Protestant churches.[5]

Bass’s books range from a study of nineteenth-century evangelicalism (Standing Against the Whirlwind) to a contemporary ethnography of mainline Protestantism (Christianity for the Rest of Us). Throughout her work, she displays an interest in the role of religion in cultural and social change. She eschews programmatic spirituality and leadership in favor of encouraging Christians to seriously practice their faith as a way to reform American churches and political life.

Two of her books, Strength for the Journey[6] and Christianity for the Rest of Us[7] have been named among the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly. Christianity for the Rest of Us was named Book of the Year by the Academy of Parish Clergy.[8] Standing Against the Whirlwind was awarded the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize by the American Society of Church History.

Her work has been written about by USA Today,[9] US News and World Report,[10] Newsweek,[11] The Washington Post,[12] the Los Angeles Times,[13] and other papers, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.[14] She has also appeared on Religion & Ethics Newsweekly on PBS [15] and is, along with Martin E. Marty, one of two scholars chosen to represent mainline Protestantism in The Life of Meaning: Reflections on Faith, Doubt, and Repairing the World, a book edited by the show's host, Bob Abernethy.

Personal life[edit]

She married Richard Bass on January 18, 1997,[16] and is the mother of a daughter, Emma. Her sister-in-law, Dorothy C. Bass, is a theologian of Christian practice.


  • Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks. HarperCollins. 2018. ISBN 978-0-06-265951-4.
  • Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution. HarperCollins. 2015. ISBN 978-0-06-232857-1.
  • Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. HarperCollins. 2012. ISBN 978-0-06-209828-3.
  • A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story. HarperCollins. 2009. ISBN 978-0-06-144870-6.
  • Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith. HarperCollins. 2006. ISBN 978-0-06-174128-9.
  • From Nomads to Pilgrims: Stories from Practicing Congregations (Alban, 2006), with Joseph Stewart-Sicking
  • The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church (Alban, 2004) (with Brian McLaren)
  • Broken We Kneel: Reflections on Faith and Citizenship Jossey-Bass, 2004. ISBN 9780787972844
  • Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community, Wiley, 2002. ISBN 9780787955786
  • Standing Against the Whirlwind: Evangelical Episcopalians in Nineteenth-Century America (Oxford University Press, 1995) published as "Diana Hochstedt Butler"


  1. ^ a b Dochuk, Darren; Kidd, Thomas S.; Peterson, Kurt W., eds. (2014). "Appendix: George Marsden's Doctoral Students and Their Dissertations". American Evangelism: George Marsden and the State of American Religious History. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 978-0-268-15855-2.
  2. ^ Hochstedt Butler, Diana (1991). Standing Against the Whirlwind: The Evangelical Party in the 19th Century Protestant Episcopal Church (PhD thesis). Durham, North Carolina: Duke University. OCLC 31391686.
  3. ^ "God's Politics". Blog.beliefnet.com. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  4. ^ "Diana Butler Bass | Sojourners: Celebrating 40 Years of Faith in Action for Social Justice". Sojo.net. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  5. ^ "author, Diana Butler Bass About Diana". Dianabutlerbass.com. Archived from the original on September 12, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  6. ^ http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA257022.html
  7. ^ http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6388182.html
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved September 13, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Lynn, Cathy (November 1, 2006). "Some Protestant Churches Feeling 'Mainline' Again". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  10. ^ [1] Archived October 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ [2] Archived September 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Old-Time Religion For Mainline Churches". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  13. ^ "Los Angeles Times: Archives - Religion". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. September 20, 2003. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  14. ^ Rodgers, Ann (June 11, 2007). "She studies what makes churches thrive - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  15. ^ "Diana Butler Bass Extended Interview | July 8, 2005 | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly". PBS. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  16. ^ Bass, Diana Butler (2017). Strength for the Journey: A Pilgrimage of Faith in Community (2nd ed.). New York: Church Publishing. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-89869-082-8.

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