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Famed Christian Author Diana Butler Bass Coming to Moscow Church

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By Tracy Simmons

Diana Butler Bass, a leading voice in progressive Christianity, will be in Moscow, Idaho this month to lead a conference on gratitude.

The author, known for her texts on American religion and the “spiritual but not religious” movement, will be speaking about her newest book, “Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.”

In the book she breaks away from addressing religious trends and instead shares her personal struggle with gratefulness.

Gratitude Changed Her Life

“I never expected writing a book on gratitude would change my life, but it has made a huge difference on how I treat others and how I respond to challenges,” she said. 

She’s gone from being a self-proclaimed gratitude skeptic to an “apostle of thanksgiving.”

“It has been a good change. And I love inviting people into this gracious path,” Butler Bass said.

Kas Dumroese, a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, which is organizing the conference, said the church hosted a similar event a few years ago and the congregation felt it was time to do it again.

Easy To Forget

“Our congregation is always trying to remind people how truly blessed they are and I think it’s really easy sometimes to get trapped and start thinking that we have too much student debt, or, the list can be endless. We tend to focus on that instead of the flip side, which is everything we’ve been blessed with,” he said. 

He said he hopes the conference weekend will be an “aha moment” for attendees.

The Rev. David Daugs of Emmanuel said at the conference people will learn practical ways to live a grateful life.

“The key thing is that people will be be presented with a host of ways in which they can practice living a life that’s grateful, but a life that isn’t expecting anything in return from the gratefulness they receive or the gratefulness they give away,” he said.

The Right Time To Be Thankful

Butler Bass added that gratitude is a big and timely subject.

“Lots of us don’t feel very grateful right now — so much anger and division, worry about the future, and all the changes so many Americans don’t know how to manage or never anticipated. Thankfulness is a path toward appreciation, toward seeing one another and the world with new eyes, and encountering the grace of ‘enough’,” she said.

She said she’ll be discussing how developing a grateful spirit opens people to both a personal and communal transformation.

“I touch on science and sociology, the spirituality and structure of gratitude, and biblical and theological dimensions of gratefulness,” Butler Bass said.

Conference Details

Those interested in attending the conference can register for the whole weekend, or for certain events. 

Butler Bass will deliver a keynote at 6 p.m. Oct. 25 at the 1912 Center, 412 E. Third St. Her talk is titled, “But I Don’t Feel Grateful! What Gratitude Is and What It Isn’t.” Then, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Oct. 26 Butler Bass and others from Emmanuel Lutheran will lead a series of break-out sessions. The event will conclude Sunday, Oct. 27 at 9:30 a.m. with a sermon from Butler Bass.

Price is $125 for the entire conference or $55 for the banquet, $80 for Saturday sessions. 

Proceeds of the event will go to Family Promise of the Palouse and Sojourners Alliance.

For details on the conference visit  http://www.emmanuelmoscow.org/ or call (208) 882-3915.

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Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. She serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service. She is also a Lecturer of Strategic Communication at University of Idaho.

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