But an incredible new energy is stirring as new communities emerge to live out the old story.
In this interview the brilliant Phyllis Tickle, religion expert and author of many books including The Great Emergence, sketches out the present and future landscape of the Church we’re living into. (Photo: Teresa Hopper)
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Relax, says Phyllis Tickle, Christianity’s doing just fine, it’s growing in many places, even the U-S. However the institutional church… that’s another story. People looking to preserve memories and traditions had better get out of the way of the Spirit who is breathing life, big time, into unexpected places. Here’s where the new energy’s leading:
We Want to Learn Something
Sermons that used to be brief, esoteric, and philosophical are no longer cutting it – the next generation wants to be able to take it home. Teaching is in, and so is making room for questions and debate.
Music is Participatory
Concerts are great, but we’re made to move. Phyllis says we’re no longer to be wary of tunes and beats that stir the soul and move our feet. It’s an art form meant to usher us in to a higher presence.
Alternative Worship Must Come from the People
The ditches beside the road to renewal are littered with clergy good ideas. Stop thinking about what people might like and let them dream it up and do it. Phyllis says there are too many clergy today, bi-vocational work will get more common, and smaller communities mean more involvement from everyone.
About Phyllis Tickle
Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the Religion Department of Publisher’s Weekly, the international journal of the book industry, is frequently quoted in print sources like USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, as well as in electronic media like PBS, NPR, and innumerable blogs and web sites. Tickle is an authority on religion in America and a much sought after lecturer on the subject. Tickle is the author of over two dozen books in religion and spirituality including The Words of Jesus, A Gospel of the Sayings of Our Lord. She serves on a number of advisory and corporate boards. A lay eucharistic minister and lector in the Episcopal Church, she is the mother of seven children and, with her physician-husband, makes her home on a small farm in Lucy, Tennessee.