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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One Day’s Wages

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Morning walk with the queen. In pursuit of 10,001 steps. #SelfCare #TryingToGetFit #CantFitInMyClothes F A M I L Y. So grateful to be creating memories.

Confession time: I sucked in my belly like it's the end of the world because of the full solar eclipse and then stopped breathing until this photo was taken. Which is probably why my wife looks like she's punching me on the side. But...mission accomplished. #OldManTricks These are crazy, turbulent times. Fight the good fight. Run the race set before us.

But we also need you for the long haul. Don't burn out. Discipleship and justice work is a marathon. Learn to take care of yourself. Don't play the victim. It's far too tempting to blame others. Be rooted in prayer, Scripture, and community. It's okay to pause, critical to rest and retreat, and godly to practice Sabbath.

#NoteToSelf Everyone loves the idea of  reconciliation...until it involves truthtelling, confessing, repenting, dismantling, forgiving, and peacemaking. Charlottesville. So heartbreaking and infuriating. We weep and mourn over the hatred in the hearts of these white nationalists. We weep and mourn but we can't be defeated.

As I stare at this photo that's making its round on the internet, I'm reminded of the utter importance of showing up. I'm grateful for the news media, law enforcement, clergy, and peaceful protesters that are currently there to report, protect, pray, and protest.

And this is an invitation to us. May we not be mere bystanders. May we keep pressing forward. Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly. Commit to truth-telling, justice, reconciliation, peacemaking. Follow the ways of Christ. Every day. And it's important to note that we don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. In fact, it's more important that we do this exactly where we're at. May we live out the call to reconciliation in our churches, workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, and around our dining tables. Lord, may it be so... We don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. We have to do this wherever were called to be.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. /// Thanks to those who let me know that the photo wasn't actually from today but rather from last month in Charlottesville. - https://www.facebook.com/FrankSomervilleKTVU/posts/1551137301616258:0 Grateful for a spontaneous, last minute trip with Minhee to my old stomping grounds - San Francisco. 48 hours of visiting this special city that I called home for so many years.

Pic 1: Went to the Cliff House restaurant where we got engaged about 21 years ago to make out. Oops, sorry, I meant...to reflect on God's faithfulness over these many years.

Pic 2: Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge because it's such an iconic place - with some of the most incredible views.

Pic 3: Enjoyed a glass of some Cabernet Sauvignon and pretended to be wine connoisseurs at a vineyard.

Pic 4: Had lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Sam Tung, which boasts some of the best chicken in the country. And of course, we ate at In-n-out.

Pic 5: And finally, celebrated with the good folks at @thefreedomstory where @onedayswages received their annual Freedom Award. What an honor.

Grateful. Thankful for this sabbatical.

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