Eugene Cho

video interview with phyllis tickle

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I had the joy of  having a great chat with Phyllis Tickle recently and she was gracious enough to shoot this video interview with me. Phyllis’ recent book, The Great Emergence, is making the waves amongst many people and it’s also on my ‘To Read’ list for 2009.  She is one sharp amazing lady and I don’t want to spread rumors but I’m pretty sure she’s on steroids too…just like Scot McKnight.  :)

Whether you agree with her premise of ‘The Great Emergence,’ I think it’s pretty obvious that one thing is inevitable:  CHANGE.  

Change happens and and will always happen and according to many, we’re in the midst of a historic change.  But lest we get think too much of ourselves in the ‘Church,’ this historic change isn’t just within christendom but one that encompasses the larger world. 

Here’s the interview with Phyllis and her bio from her website:

PHYLLIS TICKLE, founding editor of the Religion Department of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, the international journal of the book industry, is frequently quoted in sources like USA TODAY, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, NY TIMES, as well as in electronic media like PBS, NPR, THE HALLMARK CHANNEL, etc., Tickle is an authority on religion in America and a much sought after lecturer on the subject.

In addition to lectures and numerous essays, articles, and interviews, Tickle is the author of over two dozen books in religion and spirituality, most notably the Divine Hours series of manuals for observing fixed-hour prayer: The Divine Hours – Prayers for Summertime, The Divine Hours – Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime, The Divine Hours – Prayers for Springtime, Eastertide – Prayers for Lent Through Easter from The Divine Hours, and Christmastide – Prayers for Advent through Epiphany from The Divine Hours (Doubleday); The Night Offices from The Divine Hours, and The Pocket Edition of The Divine Hours (Oxford University Press); and This is What I Pray Today- The Divine Hours- Prayers for Children (Dutton).

Tickle, who was with PUBLISHERS WEEKLY until her retirement in 2004, began her career as a college teacher and, for almost ten years, served as academic dean to the Memphis College of Art before entering full time into writing and publishing. In September 1996 she received the Mays Award, one of the book industry’s most prestigious awards for lifetime achievement in writing and publishing, and specifically in recognition of her work in gaining mainstream media coverage of religion publishing. In 2004, she received the honorary degreee of Doctor of Humane Letters from the Berkeley School of Divinity at Yale University, also in recognition of her work. In 2007, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Christy Awards “In gratitude for a lifetime as an advocate for fiction written to the glory of God.”

Tickle is currently a Senior Fellow of Cathedral College of the Washington National Cathedral. A founding member of The Canterbury Roundtable, she serves now, as she has in the past, 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.

Filed under: christianity, church, culture, emerging church, Jesus, ministry, pastors, religion, ,

12 Responses

  1. chad m says:

    dude, how do you score these interviews?! you the man. glad you were able to have this chat and post this interview. i think you hit the nail on the head when you said, “whether you agree with the Great Emergence or not, one thing is certain, CHANGE.”

    without getting you into trouble, what do you think of the ideas Tickle was sharing at midwinter about the red letter bible and conflation of the gospels into one representing the words of Christ? [that’s obviously my paraphrase] i know there were lots of folks who either misunderstood Tickle, or were angry about what she said that night…i was just a bit confused myself! the message i heard and agreed with was: change is coming, how will we respond? is that fair?

  2. Charles Lee says:

    Love her work and thoughts…some of my friends call her tickle me phyllis🙂 so appreciate her perspective. I heard her speak in Sacramento last year…loved it.

  3. Randall says:

    I love the bit about “the beloved community.” And I’m surprised and encouraged by the part where Tickle talked about Lutherans and Anglicans and other denominations merging.

    We really do need to recognize that all churches who call Jesus lord are a part of the Body of Christ. The church down the road is not our competition, they are a part of our family.

  4. Ric Wild says:

    Phyllis is great. I got to meet her at an east coast conference gathering back in November.

  5. Mark Powell says:

    thanks for sharing this. what an important word she is sharing with the church.

  6. eugenecho says:

    @chad m: honestly, i didn’t think her presentation was as sharp as it could be. she seemed a little scattered and to her defense, maybe it’s because she was trying to cover 2000 years of history in 1 hour.

    jason and leah were w/ us and we had a great 90 minute conversation and brought up some of those questions. i think what was lost in her large group chat was that she believes authority resides and remains in the Scriptures. but nevertheless, it begs the question of how we read, interpret, and apply the scriptures.

  7. chad m says:

    thanks for the response Eugene. i wish i could have had more open conversation with folks after her message. i was a bit overwhelmed/confused afterwards. i have heard nothing but good things about Tickle from those who have read her works and interacted with her, so that’s where my confusion lies. thanks for your response!

  8. […] As my readers know, I’m working through my list of books I want to read this year and his new book, The Monkey and the Fish: Liquid Leadership in a Third Culture Church,is on that list.  I had a chance to sit down with him and ask about leadership, his understanding of social entrepreneurship, ministry and of course, the idea of “Third Culture’ and The Monkey and the Fish.’  You may also be interested in checking out my recent video interviews with Scot McKnight and Phyllis Tickle. […]

  9. I missed this when you posted it, but have just watched the interview. Thanks! I finished “The Great Emergence” a couple of days ago so I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts. (Most of which I recognize from the book, but it was still cool to hear them straight from her.)

  10. d says:

    this book sounds like a must read. but i’m confused as to why this Great Emergence would be “completely neutral”, void of “like and dislike”. how are we then to interpret the actions of Luther?

  11. Scott M. says:

    Phyllis Tickle is anything but amazing. She is (quite simply) a heretic. She preached at Rob Bell’s church (Mars Hill) and claims the Holy Spirit has “feminine qualities”.

    She also reads from a Bible with a very strange translation.

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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