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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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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