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Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters Hardcover – September 1, 2012
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From the Inside Flap
Welcome to the story that's still being written . . .
Whatever else one might say about Emergence Christianity, one must agree it is shifting and reconfiguring itself in such a prodigious way as to defy any final assessments or absolute pronouncements. Yet in Emergence Christianity, Phyllis Tickle gathers the tangled threads of history and weaves the story of this fascinating movement into a beautiful and understandable whole.
Through her careful study and culture-watching, Tickle invites you to join this investigation and conversation as an open-minded explorer. You will discover fascinating insights into the concerns, organizational patterns, theology, and most pressing questions facing the church today. And you'll get a tantalizing glimpse of the future.|Phyllis Tickle (1934-2015) was founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly. One of the most respected authorities and popular speakers on religion in America today, she was the author of more than two dozen books, including The Great Emergence and Emergence Christianity.
From the Back Cover
Praise for Emergence Christianity
"You will find many wonderful things between the covers of this book: provocative questions and astute observations about sacred space, hierarchy, authority. Tickle's insights will help the church reflect on a larger question: How can we best serve the kingdom of God right now?"-- Lauren F. Winner, author of Mudhouse Sabbath and Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
"Phyllis Tickle is in a unique position by reason of experience, education, and personal courage to say things that many cannot say--or cannot see. Here she does it very well--once again. Christianity is emerging with or without Phyllis Tickle, but she is sure helping the rest of us to emerge along with it!"--Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
"Finally someone has put the emergence conversation in the wider historical context it deserves--showing how what is now emerging owes so much to contributors over the last century. Phyllis Tickle gets it right and conveys it beautifully, so more and more readers can be a part of it . . . with a clearer understanding of what 'it' is!"--Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/networker
"What a fascinating read! A page turner! I read through each story with anticipation as I eagerly awaited the next set of connections Phyllis Tickle would make between seemingly unrelated people, movements, faith, and culture. Never in one volume have I seen such a diverse set of Christian movements not only listed but analyzed for their meaning as it related to the bigger picture. As we have come to expect, Tickle has done her homework, and the result is a unique contribution to the conversation about what Christianity has and will become in the twenty-first century."--Ryan Bolger, associate professor, Church in Contemporary Culture,
Fuller Theological Seminary
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Overall, this is an excellent book. Tickle tries to remain objective throughout this book to which she does a terrific job. But, she did take license in labeling some things as being "Emergent" where I am not so sure they are in fact "Emergent" (i.e. Azusa St., Pentecostalism). She also believes the rise of New Calvinism in recent years is a pushback or resistance to the rise of Emergence Christianity, which I too am not convinced is the case. Nevertheless, this book is an outstanding overview of Emergence Christianity and I highly recommend it to all who want to know what exactly it is and where it is going.
This is Tickle's fourth book, and the third that takes an explicitly historical perspective on the history of religion; the first one was centered on spirituality in the America of the 1990s. It is her second book on the Emerging/Emergence/Emergent phenomena, written only four years after the first one. Those four years were busy ones in the movement, however, and it was not too soon for a further treatment. But what is valuable about this book is that it is self-contained, and puts the movement into the perspective not only of our own present time, but in the two-thousand year history of the larger Christian church, the church universal. Without being ponderous or technical Tickle lays out a very interesting fact about Western Christianity, which is that from its founding, it has experienced a great crisis every five hundred years, almost like clockwork, preceded by about a century and a half of turmoil making way for some great change.
This book covers a lot of ground, and does it well. That doesn't mean its full of easy answers, but it does try to illuminate the way toward tentative answers. We're lucky that someone with such a good grasp of what Christianity is and has been over the ages has written this book, and anyone who reads this book attentively will have a better understanding themselves. And that's true of a range of issues, from the meaning and meanings of those competing terms "emergent," "emergence," and "emerging,"; the rise of the phenomena and movements associated with the fundamentalists, pentecostals, and charismatics; the phenomena of the "hyphenateds"; and the larger issue of Eastern versus Western Christianity seen through the competing prisms of "apophatic" versus "kataphatic" theology!
Because of the cultural baggage of American Christians, Tickle does focus on the church in North America and mostly the United States in this book, while of course connecting North America to the larger and wider currents of Christianity. In this case, I applaud that closer focus. I'm hoping it will help those North Americans who need it to realize they are not as special as they tend to think, especially in the grand scheme of things.
I really like the section "Emergence Christianity: The Photographic Report." It shows the diversity of Emergence communities, and highlights not only color but joy. And it doesn't hurt that it features among others Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, and one of the coolest posters I've seen in a long time for their "Blessing of the Bicycles."
If you were only going to read one book on Emergence Christianity--and I've read several--this would not be a bad choice for the one. But I have a feeling anyone who reads this book will want to look into the articles, books, and lectures available on the internet of many of the women and men mentioned in this great book. I agree with Phyllis Tickle that Emergence Christianity does matter.
And as the title also implies, it is an evolving community on a journey, important, yes, but also and at the same time, just plain interesting.