MAX ZAMBRANO – STAFF WRITER
Closing the 2021 Interfaith Lecture Series at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25 in the Amphitheater is author, speaker and preacher Diana Butler Bass.
Her lecture, titled “Get Up and Go On — Together,” will also close the Interfaith Series’ take on Week Nine’s theme, “Resilience.”
“Bass is a global thinker from both her head and her heart,” said Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno.
Bass has authored 11 books, her most recent being Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence, published this past March. In it, Bass depicts her evolving perspective of Jesus.
“Freeing Jesus explores the many images of Jesus we encounter and embrace through a lifetime — and how we make theology from the text of our lives in conversation with scripture and tradition,” reads the book’s synopsis. “Freeing Jesus invites us to liberate Jesus and free ourselves when it comes to the ever-compelling and yet often-elusive figure at the center of Christian faith.”
Publishers Weekly has named two of her books, Strength for the Journey (2002) and Christianity for the Rest of Us (2006) among the best books of the respective year. Her book Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks (2018) earned the Wilbur Award for best nonfiction book of the year from the Religion Communicators Council, as did Grounded: Finding God in the World (2015). Grounded was also named book of the year by the Religion Newswriters Association.
“(Bass) writes and speaks with great insight, with acuity, with intelligence and with depth of compassion and caring,” Rovegno said. “Hers is the perfect voice to bring this week’s conversation, not to closure, but to a breadth of motivated understanding for the going forward of our days and years.”
Bass has had bylines for several national media outlets including The New York Times and The Washington Post, and she has made appearances on numerous outlets like CBS, CNN, PBS and NPR.
“Diana’s passion is sharing great ideas to change lives and the world,” says her website, “a passion that ranges from informing the public about spiritual trends, challenging conventional narratives about religious practice, entering the fray of social media with spiritual wisdom and smart theology and writing books to help reader see themselves, their place in history and God differently.”
Bass has visited Chautauqua before for the Interfaith Lecture Series. In 2016, she spoke about cosmopolis amid globalization and a new understanding of God beyond tradition. Two years later, she discussed the intersection of sports and spirituality.
As the 2021 Summer Assembly draws to a close, Rovegno reflected on the season “with great gratitude that our work in planning has borne such abundant fruit. The goal is always to present new ideas to our Chautauqua family, with an emphasis on ‘new.’ We never want to present what our intelligent and caring audiences already know.”
Rovegno said this year’s speakers added insightful perspectives every week, each being an “angle of vision” to the Chautauqua Lecture Series.
“I like to quote the famous Mr. T from ‘The A-Team,’ ” Rovegno said. “I love it when a plan comes together!”