At the Associated Church Press conference two weeks ago in Ft. Worth, Texas, I heard Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the religion department at Publishers Weekly, speak about Christianity's every-500-years growth spurts. In her talk (and forthcoming book The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why), Tickle emphasized that Christianity is going through one of these "spurts" right now.
Tickle calls our present historical moment (read: the last 100 years) "Emerging Christianity." (This is not precisely the same thing as the self-identified "emergent church" networks, but there may be similar characteristics.) Historically, these great emergences are sometimes symbolized by a rose blooming forth from the rubble.
"Emerging or emergent Christianity is the new form of Christianity that will serve the whole of the Great Emergence in the same way that Protestantism served the Great Reformation," she said.
Emerging Christianity, posits Tickle, brings together