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The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why (emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,812 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
According to internationally renowned religion expert Phyllis Tickle, this is an accurate summary of the church's massive transitions over time. According to the pattern, we are living in such a time of change right now Tickle calls it "the Great Emergence" - a time of dizzying upheaval and hopeful promise during which various sectors of today's church swirl into a great c ...more
Kindle Edition, 166 pages
Published (first published October 1st 2008)
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***Dave Hill
(Boy, I hate it when GoodReads swallows my review when I go to save it ...)

"The Great Emergence" is a somewhat interesting but ultimately too-shallow book that sets out to tackle epic themes of religious history and predict where modern Christiantiy is going, and instead asserts a somewhat dubious historical pattern and engages in idle (but incomplete) speculation about contemporary faith evolution.

For a book talking about the world-changing phenomenon of the "Great Emergence," Tickle is either
Raima Larter
Apr 05, 2013 Raima Larter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the subtitle of this latest book by Phyllis Tickle is "How Christianity is Changing and Why," the book is about so much more. The book's thesis is that the western Church is going through an upheaval and rearrangement, the likes of which have not been seen for 500 years.

Even more surprising, Tickle argues persuasively that similar transformations have occurred every 500 years, each one leading to huge and fundamental changes in religion, but also in society, culture and the individual p
May 04, 2011 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
I think it's pretty obvious to the unbiased reader of "The Great Emergence" that Tickle's arrangement of history, her beliefs about what is most important and why, and her assessment of where we're at and where we are going are all easily called into question. Since she both defines and applies her own terms as they relate to the monumental shift she describes, and then incorporates virtually everything we can possibly observe into it, it becomes apparent early on that if you don't just relax an ...more
Aug 18, 2010 ShareStories rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle is a sociological study on the history and possible future of Christianity.

This text is unusual for its inclusion of and respect for both Catholicism and Orthodoxy in its 163 pages of exploration on how Christianity has changed, from just prior to the Reformation until today.

Its basic thesis is that society, and as a result, the church, changes drastically every 500 years, beginning with the rise of Monasticism about 500 years after Christ, with the transi
Hansen Wendlandt
Wherever she is, Phyllis Tickle is the smartest person in the room. She has absolutely shaped any understanding of the Christian emergence movement. And when she describes, or one collects, her ideas about the history and future of the church, it could not be more persuasive and impressive. This particular book, however, does not quite fulfill those accolades. The Great Emergence is creative and descriptive, even one of the most important books in the field. For a layperson it might be shocking ...more
Matt Root
May 17, 2014 Matt Root rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who has been familiar with the emergent movement in practice since the late 1990s and intellectually/theologically since 2003, I judge such introductory discussions about it less on the content itself than on the presentation. In this respect, Tickle does a very admirable job in tracing a general trajectory for developments in Christian theology and church structure both in history and today. The author would no doubt agree that this is but one way of exploring these themes (indeed it ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Kyle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More than a bit ambitius, Tickle tackles not only the history of Christendom (from a Protestant perspective) but the major players in post-renaissance science, politics, psychology, and sociology.

Tickle's thesis is that every 500 years, the Christian faith has a great "rummage sale" in which they re-orient themselves. While this 500 year division is too neat and tidy (she says as much) and it's presumptious to say we're experiencing one now (time will tell on that front), this is an excellent re
Guy Bellerby
Dec 08, 2010 Guy Bellerby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M Christopher
My reaction to the first two parts of this book was, "Oh, great, another book I'm reading 5 years too late!" Phyllis Tickle travels what has become well-worn ground in the first three-quarters of this review of sociology and theology related to the "Great Emergence," both in the Church and in broader society. She gives what is now the standard understanding of the five-hundred and two-thousand year cycles operative in both fields as well as the "Rummage Sale" image of the five-hundred-year cycle ...more
Jun 06, 2009 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Impressive book from Phyllis Tickle about the Emergent Church and how history brought us to the changes currently taking place. It is a short book of ~150 pages. The theme being that every 500 years or so the Christian church "evolves" itself with a giant rummage sale of sorts. Great Schism, Great Reformation, etc... and guess what, you may not know it but we're in the latest evolution. The middle hundred pages of this book details church history and are fascinating as she describes how science ...more
Streed's  Reads
Feb 06, 2016 Streed's Reads rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pastors, sociologists, historians, religion scholars and students
When I started reading the "forward" and first section of chapter one, my thoughts were that the author had a flowery writing style and took too long to make her point(s).

I was wrong. Phyllis Tickle wrote methodically in a style that built momentum in making her points about where Christians seem to be "today". It is "The Great Emergence": a timeframe in which people align themselves with megachurches that "welcome all" and focus on the wants of the people in a hybrid version of Christianity th
Feb 26, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Christianity.
Recommended to Richard by: Several people who recently heard her at a pastor's conference.
Excellent summary of Christianity from the first century until somewhere in the future with special emphasis on North American churches and practices crammed into about 150 small pages.

After raising several children on a Tennessee farm and a great career as a woman of letters in New York and D.C. she is still on the road at 80+ years old.
Too pomo for me. Gave up, lost interest, frustrated with the meandering. Plus what she considers to be "central questions" I...don't. And find rather boring by comparison to some other questions.
Janet Daniels
Great overview of the history of the Judeo-Christian tradition. However, I want more information about where the church is going and how it is being transformed.
Andy Hickman
Feb 28, 2016 Andy Hickman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phyllis Tickle, “The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why”, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008)

“... about every five hundred years the Church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale.
Any usable discussion of the Great Emergence and what is happening in Christianity today must commence with yesterday and a discussion of history. Only history can expose the patterns and flow of our own times and occupy them more faithfully.” (p16)
“... about every five hundred years the empowered s
Nov 15, 2016 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helpful and hopeful for me to see changes in Christianity since its inception as portrayed by Phyllis Tickle. On my list to reread and reflect upon!
Oct 26, 2016 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
I like the concept and the history piece held my interest, but I was hoping for a really thoughtful, prophetic analysis of where we are and where we're going that just wasn't there.
Jeff Bjorgan
Phyllis Tickle is a great writer. Her style reminds me of Margaret Atwood's non-fiction writing like "Payback." Her ability in "The Great Emergence" to show how the church is emerging in both Protestant and Catholic circles is impressive. There is lots about the emerging movement I like, such as its particular emphasis on theology, and it's desire for a more organic and liturgical expression.

The book, though well researched and well written, still leaves many questions regarding emergence Chris
Nov 12, 2009 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm rating this book 3 stars because I thought it had a lot of very useful information, but I'm not sure my paradigm changed as a result of reading it, nor did I find the reading experience overwhelmingly satisfying. That being said, it was a nice book, very informative, probably groundbreaking for those who may not be as familiar with cycles in religious history, or the trajectory of philosophical/theological ideology and practice.

The basic purpose of the book is to trace movements in socio-rel
Joshua Casey
Phyllis Tickle here undertakes a herculean task: to identify and explain the large seismic shifts within the Church since its inception in order to forecast what might be on the horizon in the oncoming decades.

The good parts of this book are very good. Tickle is a gifted writer and manages to weave many beautiful or witty thoughts in the midst of a largely informative book. If you are developing an interest in Church history (and, more specifically, why it matters for today's Christian to have a
Jan Rice
Jul 24, 2011 Jan Rice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, religion
My main gripe during the bulk of this book was that Phyllis Tickle collapsed the distinction between Americans and Christians, with comments such as, "The average American, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic...." She also collapse the distinction between history and Christian history. She was distressed at the history (or future possibility) of Christians harming other Christians, but passed lightly over Christians harming other people while simultaneously starry-eyed at the spread of Christia ...more
Robert Justice
A book about Christianity from a secular perspective, I found this little tome very interesting. According to Tickle, a leading Religion Professor, the layout of Christian History over the last 2000 years has followed a somewhat predictable flow.
The entire book centers on Tickle's argument that every 500 years, the corporate Christian Church has what she refers to as a "rummage sale", and begins to reevaluate what it teaches and values. She mentions the split between Catholicism and Eastern Or
Sep 17, 2016 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, theology
A wonderful, enlightening look at our world and the 20th and 21st centuries. Stuff I never thought about before.
Kathryn Johnston
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 04, 2013 Ethan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, christianity
An investigation into the many changes in and influencing Christianity over the past few generations in terms of a 500 year cycle.

The author seeks to understand the many great changes going on throughout Christianity over the past few generations in terms of a 500 year cycle in which Christianity and society at large go through great tempestuous changes and come out with a new consensus, the first as the first century, then around 500-600 with the shift from the Roman Empire to medievalism and t
Ruth Ann
Feb 25, 2016 Ruth Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This rather brief book, (about 160 pages), summarizes the Judeo-Christian tradition by focusing on times of transition every 500 years. The Great Emergence is our current state, another time of transition which is resulting in wide-spread changes in the Christian church.
I liked revisiting history, from an integrated view of politics, culture, sociology, and religion because it seems to me impossible to separate the influence that one had on another.

The one idea that stuck with me was the questio
Dec 30, 2015 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard about this book for so long. If you already know a good bit about church history, psychology, or even basic psychics; you can skip the first half of the book. The real meet starts at Page 119 to the end of the book, when she begins to write about the actual emerging church, as opposed to the history preceding/causing it. Book is worth a read; yet if you have read John Piper, Richard J. Foster, Shane Claiborne, Brian McLaren, Jim Henderson, Donald Miller, Fancis Chan, or Rob Bell - you pr ...more
Mar 02, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Other folks have said it in their own reviews - there sure is a lot of history to chew on in this book. I find that what is said regarding that historical perspective could probably have been said more simply and easily. Simplicity and succinctness might have made this book a little more accessible to the average joe.

While I think something is happening within Christianity I must confess a bit of skeptism to the whole notion that we can "know" or identify that we are in the midst of another refo
Dean P.
Nov 28, 2009 Dean P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Tickle's thesis here is that we are in the midst of a recurring 500-year restructuring of Christianity, reflected historically around the years 500, 1000, and 1500. Using the "rummage sale" analogy, Tickle traces the changes in each of the previous periods and looks ahead to project what this period of restructuring and emergence might bring forth in the church.

There are some things Tickle does well in this book. She shows her strengths while reflecting on 2000 years of church development in the
Sep 12, 2009 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phyllis Tickle, who is the editor of the Religion Department of Publisher's Weekly, has written a thin, but information packed, book dealing with the evolution of religion in America and projecting its future development. Using the thesis that there is a great religious upheaval about every 500 years (we are about 500 years from the Protestant Reformation, 1,000 years from the Great Schism, 1,500 years from Gregory the Great, and 2,000 years from the emergence Christianity), she argues that Chri ...more
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PHYLLIS TICKLE, founding editor of the Religion Department of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, the international journal of the book industry, is frequently quoted in sources like USA TODAY, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, NY TIMES, as well as in electronic media like PBS, NPR, THE HALLMARK CHANNEL, etc., Tickle is an authority on religion in America and a much sought after lecturer on the subj
More about Phyllis A. Tickle...

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“about every five hundred years the Church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale. And, he goes on to say, we are living in and through one of those five-hundred-year sales.” 0 likes
“51, 152 indulgences, 58 inerrancy, 82 information, 15, 52, 106 inherited church, 136, 140, 141 Inquisition, 59 interdenominational churches, 144n3 Internet, 53, 70, 106, 135, 152 iPod, 105 Islam, 30, 47, 48, 49 James, William, 92 Jaspers, Karl, 30 Jesuits, 58 Jesus Christ, life, death, and resurrection, 26 Jesus scholarship, 81 Joachim of Fiore, 164n8 John Cassian, 27 John of the Cross, 58 John XXIII, 44 Jones, Tony, 163n1 Judaism, 29, 75n2, 120, 161 Jung, Carl, 67, 70 Keats, John, 150 Kepler, Johannes, 54 Kevorkian,” 0 likes
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