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Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters Hardcover – September 1, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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, founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly, is the author of more than two dozen books. She is frequently quoted and interviewed in such media outlets as the New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, CNN, C-SPAN, and PBS. A lector and lay eucharistic minister in the Episcopal Church, she holds the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from both Berkeley School of Divinity at Yale University and North Park University. She makes her home on a small farm in Tennessee. For more information, visit www.phyllistickle.com.

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books; First Edition edition (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801013550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801013553
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr Conrade Yap TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book adds to the growing collection of Christian books on new forms of Church and Christianity that use the words, "Emerging," "Emergent," and "Emergence." These words are arguably associated with Eddie Gibbs, Brian McLaren and Phyllis Tickle respectively. Eddie Gibbs use the "Emerging churches" label in a book of the same name, a description of the new forms of churches that call themselves 'emerging.' Next, Brian McLaren is the defacto face of the "Emergent Church" which is essentially described in his book, "A Generous Orthodoxy" that appears to be all forms of Christianity to all Christian. It is more of a celebration of a new kind of Christian in a new kind of Church that is more embracing. Tickle describes such churches as welcoming people to belong first, behave next, and believe finally. This is in contrast to many traditional congregations that work on a "believe/behave/belong" sequence of acceptance.

"Emergence Christianity" is not about the emerging church. It is about an emerging mindset. The author uses three questions to frame her book.

1) What is Emergence Christianity?
2) Where It is Going?
3) Why It Matters?

Tickle makes it clear that "Emergence Christianity" is not a new kind of church, but a movement mentality (North American context) that can shrink or grow, begin or end, far reaching and also potentially impactful. The basic assumption of church is one of people rather than institutional places. It is organized by consensus. It is "open source" that requires appropriate discernment and guidance of ordained clergy. Emergence Christianity is one that is inclusive and diverse in worship. Informal and social, it places a heavy emphasis on community life.
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Format: Hardcover
How does the Church shed its stodgy, antiquated feel while retaining its reverence for 2,000-year-old ritual? How does it jettison denominational pigeonholing and institutionalization while still clinging to Christ?

Answer: Emergence. This seems to be one of the labels that nobody understands; perhaps not even its practitioners. Emergence Christianity is a relatively new worldwide movement in the Christian world, and it's still evolving. It generally transcends such labels as "liberal" or "conservative," stepping sideways to address, instead, issues like social activism. It usually emphasizes the "here and now" over eternal salvation, but beyond that, its decentralized structure can make it very hard to tie the movement down in terms of doctrine. Tickle likes to think of Emergence Christianity as "spiritual Christ-knowing," not as religion. Compared to their secular neighbors, however, Tickle says Emergence Christians are both spiritual and religious.

Maybe it's best to explain by example. Readers of my reviews may recognize radical Christian leader Shane Claiborne and mega-church pastor Rob Bell, who share the face of Emergence Christianity. However, while the increase in mega-churches probably is a result of the same cultural pressures that evoked the Great Emergence, it would be wrong to put Emergence Christianity entirely in the mega-church corner. Most Emergence Christians may still prefer house churches, and an unwritten doctrine seems to be that the "church is a people to be, not a place to go." Says Tickle, "Emergence Christians think of themselves as communal and relational more than sacred or holy."

Still confused? Consider the title of Brian D.
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Somewhat academic, Tickle gives a bird's eye view of Emergence Christianity. She begins by introducing the premise that there is a major shift in Christianity every 500 years, that can easily be observed over the past 2,000 years. Ironically, Brian McLaren refers to this in "A New Kind of Christianity". Today, this shift into a post-modern world and the ideologies that accompany it is called the Great Emergence. Tickle then gives a historical overview of Emergence Christianity, both the good and the bad. Surprisingly, Emerging Christianity is not a new term nor a new ideology, but its genesis can be found in the late 19th century and continues to evolve over a 100+ year timeframe to this day. Tickle then proceeds to define what Emergence Christianity is, what it is not, and the direction it is currently headed. Tickle explains that there is a distinct difference between Emergence and Emerging Christianity which is quite often mistakenly used interchangeably. Emergence is separate from any mainstream (or mother) denominational group. Whereas, Emerging is often still attached to a denominational or mainstream group, but often venturing to the outer edges and embracing some elements of Emergence. The best way that Tickle defined Emergence Christianity is found in the subtitle of Brian McLaren's book, "Generous Orthodoxy" which states: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/Calvinist, Anabaptist/Anglican, Methodist, catholic, green, incarnational, depressed- yet hopeful, emergent, unfinished Christian. This indeed is the confession and manifesto of Emergence Christianity. Finally, Tickle ends the book on her thoughts about the future of Emergence Christianity, including some self-reflective questions.Read more ›
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