I have spent the first half of my career
as a pastor of the church, and the second half as a teacher in the university and the church. I experience much satisfaction working in both worlds. As I engage in ongoing research to support my third activity which is writing, I am constantly finding many interesting items on the net and from friends which I edit and share on my Colleagues List. That way, you too might enjoy information from the worlds
of religion and culture. As of April 2020, this profile has received 2,500 hits.
Thanks for your interest!
Now "Quicklinks" are included
with many items. Otherwise, scroll
down to find your selection in the
body of the blog, as in the past.
Colleagues List is back!
I am a bit tardy getting this issue out
to you this weekend, however, because
Marlene and I spent two days in Banff,
celebrating the tenth anniversary since
We hoped you would not mind.
This week I introduce to you the latest
book by colleague Phyllis Tickle on
"Emergence Christianity." www.phyllistickle.com
Also, I share the final draft of my
review of "After Imperialism" which should
appear in an upcoming edition of Missiology,
the official journal of the American
Society of Missiology. This review continues
to reflect my interest in the church in China.
Colleague Contributions this week
are provided by:
"The Lion's World" - Rowan Williams
writes about Narnia in an article
I saved from last summer (The Tablet, UK) http://tinyurl.com/9gctbaz
"Weathering the Storm" - an article
on American politics and the terrible
weather there (The Tablet, UK) http://tinyurl.com/bdqscvk
"Our Mormon Neighbours" - the LDS have
just completed a beautiful new temple
in Calgary. We read daily about a Mormon
presidential candidate. Mormons are in
the news (The Christian Century) http://tinyurl.com/9npfqqd
"Is Google Making Us Stupid?" - an
interesting article on the cheapening
of doing research (The Atlantic Online) http://tinyurl.com/8jpvknb
"Former Irish VP Blasts Rome" - the
former Irish Vice President is in Rome
studying for a doctorate in canon law.
This does not prevent her from expressing
her views about her hosts, it seems
(Uca News) http://tinyurl.com/apuhxrx
"From Crystal to Catholic Cathedral" -
the original 'big box' church remains
a church, as it has been sold to
the Catholics of Orange County, CA
(America Magazine) http://tinyurl.com/c2pqct3
"Peruvian University Battles Vatican" -
Liberation theology continues to be a
vexing problem for the Roman Church
(The Guardian) http://tinyurl.com/9u4ob7o
"Hutterites Decry National Geographic Show"
- I held this article from the summer as
evidence of continuing intrustion on people
who have traditionally remained isolated
from mainstream culture - except for
agricultural trade (The Christian Century) http://tinyurl.com/chpbmqo
"Happy 500th Anniversary to Sistine Chapel!"
- one of the most beautiful sites in Rome
with majestic paintings by Michelangelo
celebrates half a millennium this weekend.
(National Catholic Reporter) http://tinyurl.com/bcst82j
"What the Church Offers When Disaster Strikes"
- an Anglican bishop from New Zealand speaks
about what Christians can do when bad times
hit (The Anglican Journal) http://tinyurl.com/amvcqog
Global Faith Potpourri:
Daily reports have been suspended due to
a lack of funding, but hopefully, this is
Wisdom of the Week:
Provided by Sojourners Online -
Martin Luther, John Milton, Robin Meyers,
Martin Luther King, Jr., G.K. Chesterton,
Bryan McLaren, and Ralph Waldo Emerson
share this insights with us this week.
This collection of study resources represents
more than a decade of Monday Night Studies at
St. David's, plus extra courses too!
You are welcome to use our course outlines,
class notes and resource pages in your personal
and group reflections.
New Book by Colleague Phyllis Tickle:
Baker Books, 2012. $18 CAD
Released September 2012
Whatever else one might say about Emergence
Christianity, says Phyllis Tickle, one must
agree it is shifting and re-configuring itself
in such a prodigious way as to defy any final
assessments or absolute pronouncements. Yet
the insightful and well-read Tickle offers
us a dispatch from the field to keep us
informed of where Emergence Christianity
now stands, where it may be going, and how
it is aligning itself with other parts of
God's church. Through her careful study and
culture-watching, Tickle invites readers to
join this investigation and conversation as
open-minded explorers rather than fearful
As readers join Tickle down the winding
stream of Emergence Christianity, they
will discover fascinating insights into
concerns, organizational patterns, theology,
and most pressing questions. Anyone involved
in an emergence church or a traditional one
will find here a thorough and well-written
account of where things are--and where they
This is now the fourth time I have spoken in
book form about what is happening to us as
North American Christians in the twenty-
first century. (There has been a strong desire
to know more about what is happening in
religion, and why.)
My most recent book was "The Great Emergence:
How Christianity is Changing, and Why" (2008)
(Colleagues List presented this book to readers
in November, 2010 at the time that Ms. Tickle
gave presentations in Calgary based on it.)
The time has come to file yet another report -
not a final one in any sense of the word, but
merely an interim one.
Whatever else one may say of Emergence
Christianity, one must also say that it is
growing and shifting and reconfiguring itself
in such a prodigeous way as to still defy any
final assessments and absolute pronouncements.
(We have another opportunity to read a
'dispatch from the field'... and to enter
prayerfully into this new thing that God
As we do this, we need to heed what Rowan
Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury has said:
"We are not to read and study and discuss
Emergence Christianity in order that we
might save the Anglican Church, or any other
such institution. Rather... that we may
discern how best to serve the Kingdom of
God in whatever form God is presenting it.
"Emergence Christianity" is a kind of 'update'
to "The Great Emergence" by the same author
which appeared on the subject four years ago.
Writing in my November 13th, 2010 Colleagues
List http://tinyurl.com/d2r2wfz I said:
"This book is a sweeping commentary on
contemporary Christian transformation in
a North American setting.
"The author has a focused capacity to name
and clarify the pivotal factors influencing
the shifts of religion in our time, and to
see this in light of the past as well
as what she perceives to be the future
Now, her new book covers some of the same
territory as the previous one. That should
be helpful to those who have not read her
previous efforts on the subject. But this
book, it seems to me, goes deeper and broader;
and is a more mature take on what is actually
happening today. She does this by combining
her vast knowledge of published material with
visits to 'the front' - that is, to where she
thinks significant things are happening
Tickle reflects four more years of experience
with the movement and this time she writes
with a broader ecumenical and global perspective
as well as a fuller grasp of church history.
I like her helpful summary of how her last
two books have described Emergence:
"... Of the general characteristics that the
Great Emergence and Emergence Christianity
hold in common, these of deinstitutionalisation;
non-hierarchical organization; a comfortable
and informed interface with physical science;
dialogical and contextual habits of thought;
almost universal technological savvy; triple
citizenship with its triple loyalties and
obligations; a deeply embedded commitment to
social justice with an accompanying, though
largely unpremeditated, assumption of all
forms of human diversity as the norm; and
a vocation toward greenness - these are
undoubtedly among the most characterizing."
I will not attempt to unpack all this, but
that gives me good reason to encourage you
to read he book to learn how it plays out.
Tickle revisits such divergent events in
church history such as Vatican II and the
development of Pentecostalism to suggest
what these seemingly very different forces
have in common.
She shows how there is a stretching forward
into the future as well as a stretching
backward into the past. We see how modern
technology and Orthodox liturgical practice,
for example need not be divorced from each
She concluded that the future of the
Emergence movement will continue to reflect
a deep sense of concern for authority.
The primacy of Scripture and of story
continue to be pivotal grounding for many
and that holds true across the spectrum
"The question then is not where will
authority rest," she writes, "and by whom
it will be effected, as what will animate
the union of those two, and make of them
a sacred authority." (page 206)
If you are at all interested in updating
your perspective on past, present and
future Christianity, this book will be
of considerable help to you.
Christian Identity in China
and the Global Evangelical Movement
Edited by Richard R. Cook/David W. Pao.
Pickwick Publications. Wipf and Stock,
2011. $25.66. ISBN #976-1-60899-336-9.
This collection of essays was developed
with the belief that evangelicalism continues
to possess assets with explanatory power to
address key theological and cultural issues
arising out of the churches of the global south.
In May of 2008 over a dozen evangelical
scholars from the United States, Hong Kong
and Taiwan, met to address issues of Christian
and evangelical concern under the theme "Beyond
Our Past: Bible, Cultural Identity, and the
Global Evangelical Movement."
The conference papers contained in this book
reflect a careful balancing of the social
sciences with thorough biblical inquiry.
They are addressed from the disciplines of
history, biblical studies, systematic theology
The editors selected papers offering a Chinese
perspective on the historical background to the
introduction of Protestant Christianity into
China during the era of western imperialism
and spell out long term consequences when
missions and imperialism were linked.
The second part of the book focuses on
the Bible and its ramifications for the
churchesof the global south. The third and
final sections include three case studies
of contextual theology co-relating fidelity
to the Bible and an appropriate use of the
One contributor, David Lee, finds help
from Chinese wisdom in avoiding the narrow
understanding of Christ that has typified
western theology. Chinese evangelicals in
the future can help lead the way in showing
how to contextualize the faith without
domesticating and repeating the sins of
The appearance of a quality study such as
this one is an encouraging sign that a
younger generation of evangelical scholars
from east and west are not content to ignore
the world outside their spiritual communities,
but are open to engage and use the tools of
modern scholarship beyond biblical studies to
deal with thorny problems arising from history,
politics and culture.
At the same time, the evangelical gift of
strongly affirming and advocating scripture
to the world is strongly evident.
Most of the scholars whose work is presented
here are 'post-colonial' in terms of their
experience. They can more honestly assess
the realities of imperialism without having
to defend or deny the church's past missionary
activity in China during that era of mixed
blessings. They bring a refreshing honesty
and clarity to the discussion.
A book like this anticipates the emergence
of a new force for the future - Chinese
Christian theology. Most of the contributors
were educated in the west. But - with the
emergence of the indigenous church in China -
we are going to hear from theologians with
strong, eastern philosophical groundings.
For several generations we have seen
parallels in African, Latin American,
as well as other Asian theologies that
have been influencing our thinking in the
west. Now, Chinese theology Â– influenced
by ancient wisdom and culture Â– joins
this new "Christian blend."
New York, NY
November 5th, 2012
"Las Casas' Discovery"
What the 'Protector of the Indians
Found in America
Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part;
Do thou but thine.
- John Milton
Indeed, a quick glance around this broken
world makes it painfully obvious that we
don't need more arguments on behalf of God;
we need more people who live as if they are
in covenant with Unconditional Love, which
is our best definition of God.
- Robin R. Meyers, from
"Saving Jesus from the Church"
"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst
for freedom by drinking from the cup
of bitterness and hatred."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I would maintain that thanks are
the highest form of thought, and
that gratitude is happiness doubled
- G.K. Chesterton
"We must never underestimate our power
to be wrong when talking about God, when
thinking about God, when imagining God,
whether in prose or in poetry."
- Brian McLaren, from
"A Generous Orthodoxy"
"Peace cannot be achieved through
violence, it can only be attained
"It is no longer I who live, but
Christ who lives within me...
And we, with our unveiled faces
reflecting like mirrors the glory
of God, all grow brighter and
brighter as we are turned into
the image that we reflect.
Comment by Matthew Fox:
In surrendering to his experience
of the Christ, Paul believes that
Christ has taken over his person.
Have you had an experience like that?
Has God, or Christ or the Buddha or
another presence taken over your
person so that he or she seems to
be living within you?
We are not just born this way;
we become "brighter and brighter"
as we develop, mature and grow
spiritually into greater God-likeness.