Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters  -     By: Phyllis Tickle
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Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters

Baker Books / 2012 / Hardcover

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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.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0801013550
ISBN-13: 9780801013553
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Whatever else one might say about Emergence Christianity, says Phyllis Tickle, one must agree it is shifting and re-configuring itself in such a prodigious way as to defy any final assessments or absolute pronouncements. Yet the insightful and well-read Tickle offers us a dispatch from the field to keep us informed of where Emergence Christianity now stands, where it may be going, and how it is aligning itself with other parts of God's church. Through her careful study and culture-watching, Tickle invites readers to join this investigation and conversation as open-minded explorers rather than fearful opponents.

As readers join Tickle down the winding stream of Emergence Christianity, they will discover fascinating insights into concerns, organizational patterns, theology, and most pressing questions. Anyone involved in an emergence church or a traditional one will find here a thorough and well-written account of where things are--and where they are going.

Author Bio

Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly, is the author of more than two dozen books on the subject. 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 from North Park University. She makes her home on a small farm in Tennessee. For more information, go to www.phyllistickle.com or www.thegreatemergence.com.

Endorsements

You will find many wonderful things between the covers of this book: provocative questions and astute observations about sacred space, hierarchy, authority. Scattered throughout are fascinating history lessons--who knew that a musical decision made in a Seattle church in 1956 is still reverberating in early-twenty-first-century house churches? Finally, 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, from Walter Raushenbusch to Johann Baptist Metz, from Dorothy Day to Mary and Gordon Cosby, from Azusa Street to Taizé and Iona to Buenos Aires. 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

Take a heart practiced in faith and trust in God. Add the mind of a finely trained historian and the eye of a keen observer of religion. Add gifted writing, unfailing bluntness, and deep wisdom, and you get Phyllis Tickle. These pages offer you nothing less than the future of the church, chronicled by an author who welcomes this 'great emergence' without an ounce of fear. It's a story you can't afford to miss.
-Philip Clayton,
dean, Claremont School of Theology

The communities of Emergence Christianity form an often confusing and tangled mess of theology, culture, and technology. Phyllis steps into all of this with a keen and discerning eye that is part art critic, part historian, and part local bartender: In her latest book she lifts up the beautiful and the hopeful. She teaches with expert authority and a clear, simple style, all while serving up an eclectic mix of the most fascinating people, communities, and practices of twenty-first-century Christianity.
-Neal Locke,
1st Presbyterian Church of Second Life

The elegance of Phyllis Tickle's writing provides beautiful context for the comprehensiveness of her analysis: she has a bird's-eye view of what's happening to, in, and through a new kind of Christianity. She helps us integrate in our minds what God has already integrated in the world: a way of being Christian that transcends sacred-secular constructs, challenges unearned privilege, and does not refuse light from any quarter. Emergence Christianity lets us into a secret that could do with being shouted from rooftops: we are all one, we need each other, and no matter the stream of Christianity you happen to feel most distance from, there's a gift waiting to be revealed when human beings open themselves to change. If you want to know how the old and the new fit together, look no further.
-Gareth Higgins,
executive director, Wild Goose Festival

Emergence Christianity is a loving yet fierce survey of Christianity in postmodernity. Tickle manages to tell the truth about who the church was, is, and is becoming with great affection and clarity.
-Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber,
founding pastor, House for All Sinners and Saints, Denver, Colorado

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  1. Robin Wallace
    Florida
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Nothing New Under the Sun
    October 9, 2012
    Robin Wallace
    Florida
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 2
    Emergence Christianity

    Phyllis Tickle

    Book Summary: 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.

    Review: There is a number of confusion, by the author, related to the many ideas stimulated in this book. To say one does not have a dogma is a dogma. This was one of many themes and contradictions in this book. That emergence as a new movement or isolated is thin since Universalists are not that different in their beliefs, i.e., everyone's beliefs are equal to the extent that they need them to be. That is relativism at its best, despite being popular. The only ‘new' idea they have is a building. However, there is a ministry named ‘church without walls' so I am going to have to say again there is nothing new under the sun. I would like to agree that the author restrained from projecting her own beliefs into the book, but again there was little mistaking that she was a follower of this. I once heard it said you can be very sincere, but sincerity does not make one right and this sums up the entire book. I am afraid that even her account or understanding of the Reformation was poor and limited. I am sorry to say that as the book continued many of the ideas or rhetoric in the book was silly. There is no other way to explain so many of the contradictions. The author brings up 2/3rd into the book that there has never been a split in Emergence and yet quickly contradicts this by explaining the difference now between Emergence Christianity and Emerging Christianity and how they are no longer interchangeable titles. That I made it through this book was a chore. The best part of the book was that it ended.

    I would like to thank Net Galley and Baker Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
  2. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    great intro to the current state of the church
    October 7, 2012
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "We are in a time of transition," Tickle writes, "and that transition is not a casual or passing one. _ We are citizens living within the Great Emergence, and as Christians of whatever stripe, we are watching the formation of a new presentation of faith. We are attending upon the birth and early growth of Emergence Christianity." (28)

    She helps us understand the context of this movement by giving the origin of the Emergence Theory. She selectively reviews the currents and events in ecclesial and theological history that were formative of Emergence Christianity over the last century and a half. (I found this historical section to be very insightful.)

    Tickle comments on the interconnectedness we now experience by way of the Net. She sees a strong emphasis on social justice and ecological concerns. Emergence Christians live in urban neighborhoods, not gated communities. They consider themselves more relational than holy.

    I learned much from her review of the pivotal year of 2010, when Emerging and Emergent became no longer interchangeable. Her discussion of "missional" is enlightening.

    She contemplates the future. "...Protestantism will not cease to be as a result of the Great Emergence. It will, however, have to reconfigure and adapt." (182) A recent Barna Group study suggests that by 2020 "40 percent of all church-attending Christians will be worshipping God outside the parameters of a traditional congregational context." (183)

    One area the church will need to address is the question, "Where is out authority?" (191)

    Anyone desiring to understand the current state of Christianity and its possible future will benefit from reading this book.
  3. EVLytle
    Florida
    Gender: male
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    High verbosity, and some theological issues
    September 25, 2012
    EVLytle
    Florida
    Gender: male
    Quality: 2
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    What is "post-modern" Christianity like, and where is it headed? I gather this book was intended to answer those questions, and perhaps it does, but getting to the answers is a long wade through a lot of verbiage. The prose in this book is, to put it mildly, inflated—using 20 words when 5 would suffice. I find church history fascinating (I call it "Acts 29," a continuation of the Christian story told in Acts 1-28 in the New Testament), but plodding through this author's prose requires patience, as in her account of Episcopal pastor Dennis Bennett becoming a charismatic -certainly an interesting story and a crucial moment in 20th-century Christianity, but it's a story she takes forever to tell. She writes of a church she admires, "To be a member-part of the Church of the Savior was to accept a call to a radically amorphous and fluid life of faith"—this is the kind of writing that badly needs footnotes (or Cliff Notes), for surely not even the "member-parts" of that church have a clue what a "radically amorphous and fluid life of faith" might be. (Be leary of religious writing that tosses "radical" into every third sentence. This is the adult equivalent of using "like" constantly as 14-year-olds do.) Words like "peri-Emergence" and "mono-focus" and "meta-narrative" get dropped into paragraphs willy-nilly, and at times the book reads like an owner's manual that was outsourced to someone who barely knew English. It takes her several paragraphs to express the simple thought "Every religion is to some degree the product of its culture."

    When I did understand her meaning, what I encountered was often jarring: "All of the world's major religions are more or less identical in their morality, behavioral precepts, and social principles." Is she kidding? Islam allows a man to have four wives at once and encourages Muslims to conquer and kill infidels. Does she think that is "more or less identical" with the Christian teaching on monogamy and on love of enemies? For hundreds of years Hindus have practiced suttee, the burning of a wife on her husband's funeral pyre, and of keeping themselves from having any contact with the despised class known as "untouchables." Is that "more or less identical" with Christianity? In the world of Political Correctness, everything and everyone may be equal, but out in the real world, religions are glaringly different.

    The writer refers to the Holy Spirit as "It," even though the New Testament (not just the translations, but the original Greek) consistently use the masculine pronoun "He" to refer to the Spirit. Like the Father and the Son, the Spirit is a Person, not a Thing, so "It" is almost blasphemous. (Try calling a friend "It" and watch the reaction.) When she quotes from New Testament passages about the Spirit, she coyly leaves out verses where the masculine pronouns are used. (This is a bow to feminism and its obsession with "inclusive" language—they figure that since the Father and Son are "He," they can at least refer to the Spirit as "It.") She refers to "the Spirit in Its Parts," and gives no clue what she means. Toward the end of the book she says she is glad Christians have moved past the "feared" Father and now cling to "It," the Spirit—which doesn't exactly fit with any orthodox teaching on the Trinity. The secular culture buys the idea that the Father is the "mean" God of the Old Testament, and that Jesus taught a different, more loving God. Non-Christians can be excused for such errors, but in a book that purports to be Christian, this is absurd. I don't "fear" the Father and have no intention of "getting past" Him.

    I fear most readers will finish this book without having a clue what "emergence" Christianity really is. A more concise writer could compress the book this way:

    1) Lots of churches today are different from the churches of fifty years ago.

    2) The world changes. Churches change. We're not sure how they'll change in the future.

    The end.
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