From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. North American Christianity is presently undergoing a change every bit as radical as the Protestant Reformation, possibly even as monumental as its natal break with Judaism. And it's right on schedule. Tickle, author of God-Talk in America
's founding religion editor, observes that Christianity is holding its semimillennial rummage sale of ideas. With an elegance of argument and economy of description, Tickle escorts readers through the centuries of church history leading to this moment and persuasively charts the character of and possibilities for the emerging church. Don't let this book's brevity fool you. It is packed with keen insights about what this great emergence is, how it came to be and where it may be headed. Tickle issues a clear call to acknowledge the inevitability of change, discern the church's new shape and participate responsibly in the transformation. Although Tickle's particular focus excludes the dynamic forces of Asian, African and Central/South American Christianity, this is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the face and future of Christianity. (Oct.)
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*Starred Review* Long an astute observer of religion, Tickle examines a phenomenon she refers to as the Great Emergence, a once-every-500-years trend within Christianity, in which a new and “more vital” form of the religion emerges. She believes such a development is happening now. To make her case, she examines the complex history of Christianity from Copernicus’ heretical idea that the earth circled the sun to the sixteenth-century Great Reformation to the Catholic Counter-Reformation. She also examines the effect on religion of great nineteenth- and twentieth-century cultural and social upheavals including those wrought by Darwin’s Origin of Species; Faraday’s field theory, which became foundational for the technology we all take for granted today; and the theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, and Joseph Campbell. She explores the impact that the rise of the automobile has on Christian worship and church service while also making brief forays into the origins of Pentecostalism, the influence of Karl Marx, Buddhism, Alcoholics Anonymous, recreational drug use, and the changing roles of women and, hence, the notion of the traditional family, in society since World War II. Somehow all these diverse strands come together in a seamless fabric that, at fewer than 200 pages, is small but full of big ideas, a remarkable achievement of synthesis and thoughtful reflections. --June Sawyers