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

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,087 Ratings  ·  183 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 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 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 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
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I don’t feel competent to evaluate its claims, I found Phyllis Tickle’s audiobook “The Great Emergence” to be completely fascinating. This book is particularly appropriate during this 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Now (the book was written 5 years ago), according to the author, the church is entering “the great emergence.” It was good to review my Goshen College church history classes, and I loved her sociological description of the last hundred years—eeks, I’ve lived through al ...more
Aug 11, 2011 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
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
Guy Bellerby
Nov 22, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt Root
May 09, 2014 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
Feb 26, 2014 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.
William Burr
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a marvelous, seductive idea, well explained here with brave, sweeping prose - that we are in the midst of another "reformation."

I would just like to see what this means not only for Christianity, but for all the West, and all the world. During the previous reformation most of the West was Christian - but now, a lot of Westerners are atheist or agnostic or "spiritual but not religious." How are they connected to the Great Emergence? What does the Great Emergence mean for them? What does the
F.E. Jr.
On 9/11 2001 the world itself seemed to tilt on it's Axis. What was in terms of stability and clearly defined demarcations between peoples, nations, politics, and cultures suddenly evaporated as we stepped into the shadows of uncertainty.
It was like a bell had been rung announcing that new age had dawned. I knew it then being a 19 year old terrified as I watched the World Trade Centers smolder, the ruins in Pennsylvania, and the gaping hole in our Pentagon.
And that feeling hasn't dissipated. I
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll reread this one. It's a tight little book with some history to explain a great new emergence in the Christian Church, in line with other great changes that seem to occur every 500 years or so. Thus the Great Reformation, the Great Schism, and before that the reforms of Gregory the Great. While I wished for more evidence at times, I was grateful for its succinctness as an introduction to the Emerging Church.

I found it both challenging and encouraging in its observations about "traditional C
Andy Hickman
Feb 28, 2016 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
Matthew Mendenhall
First and foremost, it is just tedious. The tedium comes from Tickle using the pen to predict social movements and structure. It’s simply a futile exercise. I’m at a loss at how Tickle could admit the arrogance of predicting future social structure and continue write predictions.
This book is just far too simplistic for the subject she is writing on, but maybe that is the point. Perhaps the point is that the future of the American Church is something far more tolerant, crowd-sourced, and ubiquito
Concetta Kellough
Phyllis Tickle explains in a clear, concise way how Christianity is going through a change now, which follows a pattern of Christianity's change in the past. Since the beginning of Christianity, the Church goes through a great change every 500 years (the time of Gregory the Great, the Great Schism and the Great Reformation being the 3 between now and the beginning of Christianity). This book is a fascinating look at the changes and how culture, science and politics play a part in why the changes ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was published in 2008 but remains an important read on the evolution of Christianity in today's world - particularly American Christianity. Approximately every 500 years we experience an upheaval and reorganizing of what it means to be a Christian. We are in the midst of one of those upheavals and this is a very interesting account of how that is presenting and what it means for the future. I believe it is important to pay attention to this. And I am looking forward to reading Phyllis ...more
Ephrem Arcement
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful observations of Christian history abound in this reading of the living tradition of Christianity. Yet, one can't but notice simplistic assumptions and generalizations along the way. Nevertheless, Phyllis Tickle gives us a very valuable road map for the future. Much appreciation should be given to the treatment to the past while being most concerned with the present and future. Here's a voice, while far from promoting any form of traditionalism, honors and respects Christian roots and t ...more
Robert Allen
The Great Emergence shows great historical insight on how Christianity changed but I would have appreciated more speculation and support into where Christianity is going. In other words, the payoff lacked. I understand it's impossible to predict the future, but Tickle seemed to have pegged the past, so why not use our current situation to talk about community, religion, and contemplation in length?
David Beck
Somewhat interesting thesis about the cyclical rebirth of Christianity every 500 years, but way to complicated for my taste. I thought most of the charts and examples were not clear, that she attributed change to parties that had little or no relationship to what she described. I remain unconvinced of her premise as she shotguns every possible cause imaginable to describe why the organized church is dwindling in membership.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Opened up more questions about if the church around the world fits into this quadrilateral turned rose describing the influences on the emergent church. I liked this model for the USA (and perhaps even Euro-Ausi) Church, but I think there may be more going on elsewhere between historical influences and finding authentic self expression that may ultimately be more influential to what emerges as Christianity in the next 500 year circle. Lots to think about.
Justin Taylor
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in 2008 and it's only becoming more prophetic. A great read and a great insight into the changing understanding of the Christian and Western world. Although written for American audiences it is actually true of a variety of contexts. Would recommend this especially now in a Trump/Brexit world
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was NOT an easy read, but it is a very important read. It explains that every 500 years God has a yard sale and completely changes the face of Christianity. This is great news for many, many reasons. It's more than time for a change.
Aaron Guest
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Strong overview of issues I’ve been thinking about in isolation. Tickles historical précis and cultural observations tied the strands together nicely and gave me a stronger sense of the land I’m wandering through.

The Quakers. Who knew.
Robb Sutherland
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This is a great place to start asking questions about post modern cultural shifts and how they relate to Christian belief and practice.
Cara Meredith
I’m so glad I waited for the second half of the book. I stuck with it, because: it’s Phyllis, and was so glad I didn’t return it to the library without finishing it.
Laura Wiebe
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
a little difficult to read, but full of fascinating information, and left me with a sense of peace about the bigger picture and a better understanding of what is happening in society and in our churches and why its happening
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
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  • The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier
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Phyllis Natalie Tickle was an American author and lecturer whose work focuses on spirituality and religion issues. After serving as a teacher, professor, and academic dean, Tickle entered the publishing industry, serving as the founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly, before then becoming a popular writer. She is well known as a leading voice in the emergence church movemen ...more
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.” 1 likes
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