Broken We Kneel

Reflections on Faith and Citizenship

Diana Butler Bass

Oct/2019, 176 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640651012



America’s unique and often fractious relationship between church and state is, if anything, more relevant to who we are as a nation than when Diana Butler Bass’ examination of it in Broken We Kneel was first published 16 years ago. This second edition contains a new foreword and introduction, as well as a new conclusion outlining her vision for the future.

Born in the tumultuous aftermath of 9/11 and now a spiritual classic, the book draws on both her personal experience and her knowledge of religious history. Bass looks at Christian identity, patriotism, citizenship, and congregational life in an attempt to answer the central question that so many are struggling with today: “To whom do Christians owe deepest allegiance? God or country?” In writing both impassioned and historically informed, Bass reflects on current events, personal experiences, and political questions that have sharpened the tensions between serious faith and national imperatives. The book incorporates the author’s own experience of faith, as writer, teacher, wife, mother, and churchgoer into a larger conversation about Christian practice and contemporary political issues. Broken We Kneel is a call to remember that the core of Christian identity is not always compatible with national political policies.

Richard Bass is a consulting editor with Church Publishing Inc. He was the director of publishing for the Alban Institute from 2002-2014. He is the editor of "Leadership in Congregations" (Alban, 2007) and "Resources for Congregational Vitality" (Alban, 2004).

“Whether through her down-to-earth stories about her daughter Emma, her insightful contrast of chapel and church or security and shalom, her reevaluations on Constantine and St. Francis, or her exploration of empire and its relation to the gospel of Jesus, Diana Butler Bass educates, inspires, corrects, and stimulates.”—Brian McLaren, author

“Amid the cacophony of voices responding to 9/11, this book offers a distinctive voice that combines the passion of faith with a hands-on cherishing of life. The summons of Broken We Kneel is that we forego macho national pride in a moment of brokenness and return to the most elemental truth of suffering love and buoyant faith. Butler Bass’s references stretch from a ‘Constantinian hangover’ to her little daughter Emma who knows how to be generous. The reader will find here a sane, grounded invitation to humanness that is broken, but not driven to despair.”—Walter Brueggemann, author

Broken We Kneel makes a compelling argument to restore the church to what surely its founders intended: that it be a community of people who practice the discipline of peacemaking. Diana Butler Bass has refused to accept the dangerous association of church with militaristic state and instead argues that, in these saber-rattling times, the church must stand with Jesus in his brokenness and courage. Butler Bass is a real patriot.”—Nora Gallagher, author

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