Culture At Large

What Emerges in the Inbetweens of Extremes

Chris Salzman

This post is over a month old, but I just stumbled on it today. Over at Chuck writes about a talk he heard at the Youth Specialities Conference given by Phyllis Tickle (excellent name) about shifts in the Church.

Quoting Chuck paraphrasing Tickle:

It seems that these major upheavals happen every 500 years or so. In 70 AD there was the fall of the temple when Christianity became seen as more than just a sect of Judaism, then there was the decline of Rome between the 400's and the 500's, next there was the Great Schism in 1054 between the East and the West in the church dividing Christianity between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. Next would come the Protestant Reformation beginning in 1517 with Martin Luther. Tickle explained that we are in the beginning stages of one of these great upheavals right now, one she called "The Great Emergence" ... the shift in our culture from the modern to the postmodern and the church's response, largely seen in movements like the emerging church.

Note, not just the Emergent Church, but movements like the Emergent Church. Personally, I would throw in megachurch associations and the decreasing dependence/loyalty to denominations as part of this shift as well.

Here's a visual that Chuck recreated:

And Chuck again:

The corners are the reactionary anti-emergent voice within each tradition. They keep us from from falling off the face of the map into "unity for the sake of unity"-ism. Their critique's may seem harsh and inflexible, and they may call us heretics for embracing (or at least appreciating) what another stream of Christianity has to offer... but they are our roots, that's where we come from and it's important to remember where you come from.

Do you think there's any credence to Tickle's assertion that the church is poised to change? Think the graphic is accurate? Are the traditional categories being bridged by current trends in Christianity? I can't speak to what the rest of the world is like, so any non-U.S.ers want to chime in to what they're seeing in their countries?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church