Through a series of vignettes and a 32-page photographic essay, Phyllis Tickle, former and founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly, takes readers on a journey through the world of what she calls "emergence Christianity." No stranger to this terrain, Tickle's Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters(Baker) is her fourth installment on "this new thing that God is doing," her own descriptive tag from the preface. Building on her previous books, such as The Great Emergence (2008), this book offers another interim field report.
I for one am grateful for Tickle's work. Getting a handle on the present is no small task, and when that present includes something as amorphous as the "emerging church" phenomenon, the difficulty only increases. As one endorsement of the book notes, Tickle has a way of seeing and making connections among varying pockets of emergence Christianity. She weaves these divergent stories into a larger, unified one. In other words, this book helps us see emergence Christianity. The photographic essay makes that description more than a metaphor.
Tickle's historical discussions of both the distant and more recent past significantly shape her sense of the present. She starts the book by noting that significant changes tend to come every five hundred or so years, including the coming of Christ in the first century, the era of the consolidation of the church under Gregory in the fifth and sixth centuries, the Great Schism of the 11th century, and the Reformation of the 16th century. From this historical trend, Tickle deduces that, here in the 2000s, we're poised for another such seismic change. She also offers ...1