As I read (again) Phyllis Tickle’s book, Emergence Christianity, I realized that over the past 50 years my personal journey has often overlapped with the journey of the Church she describes in her book – a journey to becoming “Emergence Christianity.” I highly recommend the book (with the knowledge that some people will not react positively to reading it).
Tickle describes a forming of “a new presentation of the faith” in what she calls an “emergence culture.” Many of the formation factors have been an essential part of my own journey, including:
- Opening to the work of the Spirit (pentecostal and charismatic)
- Moving away from the importance of church buildings (including house churches and small groups in the community)
- Changing from hierarchical models of organization and ministry to non-hierarchical (community) models
- Acceptance of mystery and mysticism in our spirituality
- Seeing “kingdom work” as essentially linked to “social” concerns – poverty, equality, fairness, justice
- Opening to new ways of reading and understanding the scriptures (beyond the formal boundaries of doctrine)
These themes are linked directly to how churches are changing today. Understanding them is an essential step toward leading churches through the changes we are experiencing in our lifetime.