Tag Archives: the great emergence

the great emergence

The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why, by phyllis tickle.

in a recent video post by doug pagitt, he talks about the relationship between the terms “emergence”, “emerging church”, and “emergent” (or emergent village). the emerging church, as many have come to use the term, is a subset of a greater shift that has been happening in our culture for the last couple hundred years. the emerging church is, one might say, the ecclesiological implications (or at least the discussion of those implications) of the grander shift taking place in our broader mindset, both in academia and in the popular conscience.

phyllis tickle engages this discussion at both levels — giving us much of the historical reasons for, and milemarkers of, this greater emergence. she weaves a discussion of the emerging church throughout. but this is not a book about emergent village; and, to be fair, tickle writes about the emerging church in the broadest terms possible, including vineyard churches and calvary chapels as indicative of the shift.

i heard phyllis give a talk on this content at one of our national youth workers conventions last fall. it was stunning. it blew people away, to the extent that she received a long and loud standing ovation that showed a level of respect for both who she is and what she said. of course, she really ticked a few people off also, which one should expect from any hearty discussion of change in front of a large and diverse audience. but for me, and many others present, it was one of the most memorable talks i’ve heard in years, and has shaped my thinking and discussions since. knowing that this book was coming, i’ve been extremely eager to read it, and was thrilled to get my hands on a pre-pub copy of the manuscript (the book releases in october, though amazon seems to have it in stock already).

tickle is a recovering academic, and this is no lightweight book of observations and anecdotes: it’s a sweeping analysis of sociological, cultural and religious shifts. tickle contends that the church seems to transition through massive changes about every 500 years, as a result of changing worldviews in the culture at large. she posits that we’re a good ways into one of these epochal hinge-points; and following the language of “the great schism” and “the great reformation” for the last two hinge-points, uses “the great emergence” for this shift (though the term is not, as she acknowledges, hers).

because the book is a cultural analysis, and not a theological treatise, there’s not much to anger anti-emergent people in this book. they might not agree with the cultural analysis, i suppose; and tickle’s pro-emergence leaning (clearly, she sees this shift as positive, not neutral or negative) isn’t masked. so some might choose to be dismissive on that count (we all have our biases). but the case is well made — we’re clearly not a part of the same worldviews that existed prior to darwin, scientific discoveries of relativity, postmodern language deconstruction, and a variety of other factors that have (in tickles language) so severely pocked the cable of meaning that connects our religious thought and practice to its mooring.

truly, the great emergence is one of the most important books written, to date, on the shifts happening in the american (and worldwide) church — particularly protestantism, but all of christianity also. it’s must-reading for anyone who desires to be an active participant in the shaping of the church today, whether at a local level, or at broader levels of discussion and practice.

i’m smarter because of this book. i understand more. i am better equipped to both enter into dialogue about the church today, as well as to live out my calling as a practitioner of the church of jesus christ in the real world.

related posts:
reaction to phyllis tickle’s talk at the nywc
terry mattingly writes about phyllis tickle’s nywc talk

monday morning update

the weekend that was: ys spanish convention, in mendoza, argentina. i did a super seminar (2 1/2 hours long — which i found out i was doing the night before i flew here!), a general session, and a regular seminar. i did various version of youth ministry 3.0 in each of the settings. the super seminar was on rethinking our assumptions about youth ministry; the general session was on belonging; and the seminar was the closest to the content of the book, on how youth ministry needs to change in light of changes in youth culture. i ate enormous steaks (argentina has this cut of beef called ‘bife de chorizo’ that is the most amazing thing ever to come from a cow) and wonderful malbecs. i spent time with friends i only see once or twice a year. and i enjoyed the beauty of western argentina — i have a stunning panoramic view of the snow-capped andes from my hotel room.

where i am at the moment: still in argentina, but flying to buenos aires this morning. i’ll spend today and tomorrow in BA, visiting our office there, debriefing the convention with lucas (our spanish vp), and shopping for some gifts for my family. i fly home overnight on tuesday.

on my to-do list this week: oof, hard week, once i’m home. we’re in a bit of a financial crunch at ys, and i have three execs from zondervan flying in for all day meetings on thursday (i arrive home wednesday). i’m hopeful about what we can accomplish, but it will be long and challenging. friday is a catch up day, with a bunch of meetings. saturday is walk their walk, the walkathon my family is a part of to try to raise money for clean water wells in zambia.

procrastinating about: i finished the CORE re-writes i had on my plate while in argentina. so now i’m truly back to procrastinating about the middle school ministry book scott rubin and i are supposed to be writing. we got our deadline moved from late august to the beginning of january, but i really have to start carving out time to work on it. wish it could write itself!

book i’m in the midst of: after a few weeks of not reading, i finished phyllis tickle’s amazing book, the great emergence, which comes out in october. i’ll post a review in the next week or two. i’m now reading rob bell’s next book, jesus wants to save christians.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: listened to john legend a lot this past weekend. great music to write and work to. nice grooves.

next trip: i fly to nyc next week for a gathering of business leaders and ministry peeps who want to learn and stategize about the disparity between the educational realities of urban kids and suburban kids. could be interesting.

how i’m feeling about this week: stressed.

monday morning update, august 25, 2008

the weekend that was: busy weekend. we had a birthday party to go to friday night for dave palmer (vp of marketing at ys), which was fun — nice dinner and conversation. then, saturday, ten of us from the ys CORE team presented the second draft of next year’s CORE to a very small group at a church here in san diego. i rewrote and presented the first session: “The Word is more than Words” (our theme this year is on helping students engage the bible). after all four session were presented, the team stuck around for another 5 hours and critiqued, re-wrote, pushed and pulled. sunday morning, jeannie and i went to the wedding of the daughter of my church’s preaching pastor (he was also my boss in youth ministry in a church in omaha about 20 years ago, and we knew his daughter when she was 5). then, sunday afternoon, our home church came over and helped us pack, then we had a pool party. oh, and i had to spend 5 hours saturday night doing an online traffic school due to running a stop sign while house-hunting a month ago. good times.

where i am at the moment: home. i’m taking this week off to move!

on my to-do list this week: MOVE! i also have a handful of phone appointments and other ys stuff i didn’t cancel, so i’ll do a bit of work from home.

moving update: can’t believe it’s here so quickly. the sale of our house closes wednesday, and we have ’til friday at 5pm to be out. the purchase of our new house closes thursday, and we officially get the keys at 5pm. but the owner is letting us start to move in a few hours early, and we have a handful of people helping us move all our boxes thursday afternoon. friday morning, movers come to move all our furniture. by friday night, we’ll be living in our new home!

procrastinating about: i have no time to procrastinate about anything right now. i feel like i’m managing a swarm of crises — both good and not-so-good. i worked 12 – 16 hours every day last week, often going into the office at 5:30am, and not leaving until 8:30 two nights. i think i actually stopped for lunch one day the whole week.

book i’m in the midst of: i haven’t read a word this week. so i’m still reading phyllis tickle’s manuscript of the great emergence.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: in the name of love: africa celebrates u2. what an amazing collection of songs done by a wide variety of african artists.

next trip: a week from wednesday i leave for argentina.

how i’m feeling about this week: excited, but massively stressed.

monday morning update, august 18, 2008

the weekend that was: mostly packing for our move. we finished unpacking from our vacation, and made the turn. max had a pool part sunday afternoon and evening with 8 buddies from school and their families, so that took much of that day. of course, i watched a bit of michael phelps and other olympic goodness here and there also.

where i am at the moment: home, for almost three more weeks. i’m planning on working this week, then taking much of next week off for our move.

on my to-do list this week: meetings, catching up, re-writing the opening session for next year’s CORE, which we’re testing in san diego on saturday. we also have a ys staff bowling tourney on tuesday afternoon (should be a kick), and a leadership team morning away on wednesday to do some fall planning.

moving update: everything’s on track. i listed a wad of stuff on craig’s list this past weekend and sold a bunch and gave a bunch away. still have a dozen other items i’m hoping to get rid of, so i don’t have to move them myself (even if that means moving them to some donation center).

procrastinating about: i suppose i’ve been procrastinating about this CORE session re-write i have to do. but no more — i have to do it this week!

book i’m in the midst of: the great emergence, by phyllis tickle

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: coldplay, elvis costello, b-52s, beastie boys

next trip: argentina, the first week of september.

how i’m feeling about this week: i picked up a really nasty head cold this weekend, which massively sucks. i’m taking liquid echinacea, vitamin c, airborne, dayquil, and zicam, trying to fight the mutha off; but it’s winning right now, and has me physically worn out. unless i can kick it’s butt, it will really influence this week.

monday morning update

the weekend that was: ahhhhhhhh, vacation. we got to radium hot springs, in the canadian rockies, on friday. and we’ve been chillin’ ever since. watching the olympics. reading. eating. sleeping. laughing with our friends from seattle who are with us. sunday we drove to the little ski resort of panorama and walked around a bit. nothing noteworthy, really – just rest and family enjoyment. it’s good. deeply good.

where i am at the moment: yup, radium hot spring, in british columbia, canada.

on my to-do list this week: now through thursday morning, very little. we’re going to take a little river raft trip, go miniature golfing, go on a hike or two, and we think we might rent a boat and tube one day. thursday we fly home, and friday i’m in the office.

moving update: everything is on track now. we had the appraisal on the new house, and the inspection. the new mortgage is moving forward. nothing massive to report this week.

procrastinating about: i’m not thinking about what i might be procrastinating about this week, because i’m on vacation!

book i’m in the midst of: the great emergence, by phyllis tickle, and under the banner of heaven, by jon krakauer.

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: my family has been singing coldplay songs all week. and, today, we sang bohemian rhapsody together.

next trip: home, on thursday. then, nothing ’til after we move. i think my next trip is the first week of september, to argentina, for our convention there.

how i’m feeling about this week: ah, so, so good.

monday morning update, august 4, 2008

the weekend that was: mostly packing for the move, and some running kids around. liesl had 7 friends over for a pool party saturday night, and i hosted that also.

where i am at the moment: at my desk, for one day this week.

on my to-do list this week: today is a crunch day. a couple key projects to work on, and a handful of meetings. but mostly, this week will be about family and rest, as we’re leaving on a 9-day vacation tomorrow.

moving update: thanks to all of you who prayed. things seem to be back on track. the buyers asked the appraiser if he could raise the appraisal at all, and he raised it 3 grand. our realtor kicked in an additional 3 grand. the owner of the home we’re buying can only drop the price at all if the appraisal on that one comes in lower than our price, so we’re having that appraisal done in the next day or two and hoping we can eek out another few grand. but i think we’re back and track and moving forward either way. i worked on a new mortgage the other day, and was happy with what i found. and i packed about 25 boxes this weekend. we’re going through the new house tomorrow (before we fly to our vacation) with a measuring tape, to get detailed info about each room, so we can make decisions about what’s going where. move date: august 28/29.

procrastinating about: everything except moving stuff!

book i’m in the midst of: i took a break from the book of general ignorance to read scot mcknight’s upcoming release, the blue parakeet (which was great, and which i’ll review soon). i’m just starting an edited manuscript of phyllis tickle’s upcoming release, the great emergence (which i’m really looking forward to reading, ever since i heard her give a talk at our convention last fall based on the book).

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: mostly had itunes on party shuffle this week. but, yesterday, i took a couple hundred cds into music trader, and came home with a few:
beck: modern guilt
sheryl crow: detours
elvis costello: momofuku
b-52s: funplex
rolling stones: live licks
system of a down: system of a down
beastie boys: to the 5 boroughs

next trip: my family flies to calgary tomorrow, for a 9-day vacation. we’ll spend the first two nights at the fairmont banff springs (a hotel i could never afford, but which wants our canadian business, and is comp’ing me a room!). then we’ll drive to radium hot springs, and spend 7 days in the condo of the parents of a gracious friend. some good friends from seattle are driving over and staying with us. should be a wonderful time.

how i’m feeling about this week: fantastic. can’t wait to chill. when we return, we’ll have two weeks ’til the move date, and it will be serious crunch time.