Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle

Tickle, after a career in academics, publishing and writing, became the founding editor of the religion department for Publisher's Weekly. That last role has given her a unique view of the changing face of Christianity. Tickle says that what is happening in Christianity now is a "rummage sale", something that happens about every 500 years. Old concepts are thrown out and Christianity emerges anew. Events that precipitated the current Great Emergence include Darwin's theory, Faraday's setting down the laws of electromagnetism, the works of Freud, Jung and Joseph Campbell, and the theories of Einstein and Uncertainty Principle of Heisenberg. Various cultural shifts Tickle notes include the use of the automobile, the introduction of eastern religions to the west, the rise of women's equality and the use of drugs. The bitterest battle, Tickle says, is gay rights, challenging the authority of the Bible. Tickle attempts to describe the Great Emergence and predict where it will lead Christianity. She predicts that when it is all over and the dust has settled, Christianity will have readjusted, grown and spread. I highly recommend this book for a great understanding of the current state of Christianity.

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