Takeaway: Many stories can be told about the changes that have been going on in Christianity.
I have admired the work that Phyllis Tickle has done with fixed hour prayer and other spiritual disciplines for a while. So when I saw another book of hers was free on kindle I snatched it up. (It is no longer free on kindle, free books are usually short term, so pick them up quickly.)
I really was not expecting this style of book from someone that I have come to associate primarily with spiritual disciplines. It is essentially a narrative history of Christianity over the past century or so. It has a clear thesis, that Christianity is changing and the Emerging (and Emergent) church is the next step in the church’s reformation process (a process that occurs about once every 500 years according to Tickle).
She mounts an interesting argument, but in the end I did not really buy into the argument. I am of the age and probably of the sociological and tempramental and theological categories to be a part of the emerging church movement, I see much value in the rest of the church, and only limited value within the emerging church. Those within that movement that I respect have been distancing themselves from some of the claims (and even more from the terminology) for several years.
In the end I think that the emerging (or whatever you want to call it) church reaches a particular type of person that will not be reached by many other church expressions. The role of the church is to gather people and lead them to Christ, while being Christ to others. Necessarily churches will look different in order to reach different people. I am glad that the Emerging church exists. I just do not think it is a major departure from the current church.
I recently purchased a new android phone. I have had a blackberry for the past couple years. (Roughly since the time I first bought a kindle.) I have not been reading much on my blackberry and do not think I have finished any books completely on the blackberry. But with the larger and much better screen of the android phone I finished this book within a few days of first buying the phone. It is a reader that I will continue to use.