Reading this pair of veteran authors is like being invited as a freshman into the office of an admired professor and then being brought up to speed like a colleague. Tickle (The Great Emergence) and Sweeney (The Pope Who Quit) embrace the reader of this book, third in a series about the emergent church movement: they use “we” and never patronize. The back story from early Christian history, comprising enigmas and heresies, confusions and creeds, and “Breath, Bread and Beards,” covers the greater part of the text. The front story is today’s emergent church, based in the spiritual more than the religious, the holy more than the hierarchy, and in the image of “God as an activity more than as an entity” and the Holy Spirit as “like unto fire.” With poetic prose, Tickle and Sweeney mix known words (“trinity”) and new (“nescient”); they stir in big ideas, sweeping summaries, and don’t-miss footnotes, in laying the intellectual foundation for their analysis. (Jan.)


The Age of the Spirit is available at many fine bookstores including . . .



In preparing for my retirement from public life, I am no longer accepting new speaking engagements. All contracts that were in place on 1 March 2013, along with those that were in negotiation at that time, will be fulfilled.

I recognize, with a heart full of gratitude, that it has been a thing of both privilege and joy for me to speak in public forums about what I believe as well as about what I believe I am supposed to speak. There is, however, a time to be silent, to listen again, and then to speak whatever is still to be said in the more universal and broadly accessible format of writing and electronic media. I shall move to that now, with every hope that our mutual prayers will govern and inform whatever any one of us does over the coming…and pivotally important…next few years.

Phyllis Tickle

Evangelist of the Future


PHYLLIS TICKLE, founding editor of the Religion Department of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, is frequently quoted in print sources like USA TODAY, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, and innumerable blogs and web sites.  read more