A former New York Times Syndicate columnist, Diana Butler Bass is currently director of faith formation at Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, and adjunct professor of Virginia Theological Seminary. Baptized in the Methodist Church, she spent many years as an evangelical Christian, attending a conservative Christian college and practicing a religion of certainty and rules, convinced she had the theological truth. For a while, Bass even believed she could renew the mainline churches she attended with her evangelical ardor.

Strength for the Journey is structured around the author's attendance at various Episcopal churches over a period of 20 years. She notes at the outset: "The old mainline is still around and finally stabilizing after the long descent. It is not, however, the same old church. Although diminished in size and prestige, it often possesses an unexpected and underestimated vitality."

Bass's love affair with churchgoing and especially with the Episcopal Church's emphasis upon prayer comes across clearly on these pages. She also reveals how her faith is formed as she works with a spiritual director, attunes herself to the power and passion of worship, and takes in the breadth of resources available to her in church educational programs. She sums up her spiritual journey as a movement from hard lines to circles. Here the idea of "the inclusive reach of God's love" enables her to accept women's ordination and gay clergy.

Near the end of the book, Bass salutes the rise of intentional spiritual communities in mainline Protestant denominations. These are "congregations purposefully remaking their traditions, attempting to create meaningful worship and spiritual practices, engaged in intellectually credible reading of the scriptures, and reaching out to serve the world with near-evangelical style." She regards these pilgrim communities as signs of hope for the future.