Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Re-Formation and Resulting Questions

Re-Formation and Resulting Questions

            In the first part of the fifth chapter of Phyllis Tickle’s “The Great Emergence”
the author cites many influences which have brought about change in the 20th century and which resulted in the church experiencing transformation as well. Tickle describes Einstein’s theories of relativity, Heisenberg and his uncertainty principle along with the historical quest of Biblical scholars to look for the real Jesus. Tickle recounts the story of Pentecostalism as a Christian movement entering into the mid stream and its influences within the black and Latino communities. With the advent of the automobile enabling people to travel, the mindset of staying in one place for your entire life was now gone and pursuing interests for oneself grew.
            Tickle continues her discourse and includes other influences which changed the way Christians shared the story of Jesus and especially the ways in which people chose to receive it or not. She cites Marxism as a stabilizing factor like the church for it gave stability and became community centres where the hope of the uniformity of belief was to be shared.
            However ideas of a generic God became a part of the normal ideology and the idea of questioning one’s faith in a God was openly received. And the people questioned who and what they were- and this was in the early 1930’s and 1940’s!
            The world of Christianity was changing and the world itself was soon facing even more difficulties as war loomed. What would this mean for the family? The church? The faith of the people who believed in the authority and wonder of God would be challenged and changed again.
            Tickle’s overview continues—next time! 

Tickles overview sites world history and local church; scientific discoveries and ideological innovation as influences in the ever changing Christian church. As she takes us through this overview, she also reminds us of the emerging thoughts and ideas of Christian churches which did not exist before. Pentecostalism, black-Latino Christian music and the need for authority all influenced Christian churches like never before.
History tells us that the world does change through the innovative thoughts and discoveries of this world. The question one might ask is do these discoveries continue today and where do they lead? Are we being led to something better/ or just different?
What role does God play in all of this for you if God does? How and to what extent?

Our discussion of the overview of the emerging/ changing church offers further background so that we might find out if we are spiritual but not religious- or whether we are the church of today with spiritual depth as received from God.

God of grace and love we praise you for your word to us throughout history. Our world is constantly in motion as people move and grow and are innovative. Help us to realize these ideas and changes so that we may learn. Enable us also to see that the Church is not dying but reinventing itself for your purpose and glory. Call us to be one with each other in your Spirit as we reflect on your love and blessings each day. Amen.

Phyllis Tickle The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books,2008. Chapter 5

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