Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Re-Formation and Resulting Questions

Re-Formation and Resulting Questions

            Phyllis Tickle’s “The Great Emergence” offers us a historical
overview of what has led to a resurgence or refocus of our Christian faith at this time in the 21st century. From Darwin, Freud and the Power of Myth Tickle suggests that science and scientific discoveries of the 19th century have gradually led us to the day when we as people can choose to believe in what is being presented or not, by simply turning off media. She states that years ago there was little choice in what people could and did believe. Today, with a flick of a button or switch we can turn to or away from information that goes against or challenges our thinking, our ideals, our faith.
            From Faraday to Freud the term scientist was developed to include those who studied chemistry, biology and medicine, and the unconscious. In just over 100 years science has led people to a new conscious and yet the question most raised is that of ‘self”.
            Tickle states that the questions are endless as are the media sources willing and able to broadcast them, unanswered into every North American life. But the question that is central is the same as it was years before, “Where now is the authority? Where now is our authority? She states, “Religion empowers the answers by sanctifying them; but it is itself not so much defined by those answers as it is characterized by them. It is the authority answer which defines.” (p. 73)
            The two questions of the Great Emergence Tickle offers are: 1)What is human consciousness and/ or the humanness of the human? And 2) What is the relation of all religions to one another… how can we live responsibly as devout and faithful adherents of one religion in a world of many religions?

Tickle takes us through history based upon discovery by learned people who were not afraid to question and seek answers. Their nature in itself could not be slowed down and it was subsequent leaders that offered to us a different world because of their passion to understand what was going on around them.
Do we have this passion today? Do you have this passion to find out more? Emerging Christians are the immediate products of the twentieth century. What they see what they do and the materials with which they work were all shaped by a particular place in time and space. Do you agree/ disagree with this? Why? What causes us to be who we are today?

Holy One we praise you for those blessings you bestowed on researchers and those who questioned what they read and saw around them,. Through them we have learned so much about your creation that we cannot fully understand. Yet we know that we are still searching for answers and looking to you or a better place in this world for us and for future generations. Held us in your hand and guide us to where you want us to go. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Phyllis Tickle The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books,2008. Chapter 4

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