Diana Butler Bass, a leading voice in progressive Christianity, will be in Moscow 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 speak 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.

“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 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 in Moscow, 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.

“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 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.

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,” she said. “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’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.

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. Friday 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. to 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 at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 27 with a sermon from Butler Bass.

Cost is $125 for the entire conference,$55 for the Friday banquet only or $80 for Saturday sessions only.

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

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


Tracy Simmons teaches journalism at the University of Idaho and is the founder of Faith and Values Spokane (spokanefavs.com).

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