From the church's birth to the reign of St. Gregory the great, to the Great Schism and through the Reformation, Phyllis Tickle notes that every 500 years the church has been rocked by massive transitions. Remarkably enough, Tickle suggests to us that we live in such a time right now. The Great Emergence Examines history, social upheaval, and current events, showing how a new form of Christianity is rising within postmodern culture. Anyone interested in the future of the church in America, no matter what their personal affiliation, will find this book a fascinating exploration.
- Another take on changes in Christianity
I have admired the work that Phyllis Tickle has done with fixed hour prayer and other spiritual disciplines for a while. So when I saw another book of hers was free on kindle I snatched it up. (It is no longer free on kindle, free books are usually short term, so pick them up quickly.)
I really was not expecting this style of book from someone that I have come to associate primarily with spiritual disciplines. It is essentially a narrative history of Christianity over the past century or so. It has a clear thesis, that Christianity is changing and the Emerging (and Emergent) church is the next step in the church's reformation process (a process that occurs about once every 500 years according to Tickle).
She mounts an interesting argument, but in the end I did not really buy into the argument. I am of the age and probably of the sociological and tempramental and theological categories to be a part of the emerging church movement, I see much value in the rest of the church, and only limited value within the emerging church. Those within that movement that I respect have been distancing themselves from some of the claims (and even more from the terminology) for several years.
In the end I think that the emerging (or whatever you want to call it) church reaches a particular type of person that will not be reached by many other church expressions. The role of the church is to gather people and lead them to Christ, while being Christ to others. Necessarily churches will look different in order to reach different people. I am glad that the Emerging church exists. I just do not think it is a major departure from the current church.
- This is a good book for...
This is a good book for those that want some insight as to what is being called the "Great Emergence". The book is not especially entertaining, but is very informative for those wishing to be educated on the matter. The book provides a great historical survey of the major shifts in thinking and other major time periods in church history. Tickle ties changes in society and culture to changes in spiritual thought. The movements of the past may provide some clues as to what to expect from the current age. The last 100 years is looked at in more detail as Tickle examines the changes in transportation, technology, and family structure....which ultimately impacts how we receive and interpret information and thus form our spiritual beliefs.
Tickle does not give very many Biblical or Theological opinions. This a book about church history and society's trends not an opinion on spiritual truth or the promotion of what many are calling the "Emergent Church Movement".