Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Re-defining "church" and "Church"

A note and some questions from Phyllis Tickle to you . . .

"Apparently and for some not-very-clear reason, it is incumbent upon the faithful in every new epoch or changing era of Christian history to re-define what we mean when we use the words “church” and/or “Church.” But even if some strenuous re-thinking and re-stating had not been required during history’s previous turning points, it none the less would be required for emergence Christianity. There is no question about the fact that this time around everything—whether sacred or secular and with no holds barred—is up for scrutiny and that most of everything, once scrutinized, is up for re-defining, including “church” and/or “Church.”

For quite some time now, analysts and pastors and observant Christian laity alike have known and said that church is not a place, nor is it a thing. Historically, church was probably conceived of in the popular imagination as a thing several centuries before that same shared imagination began to think of it as a place. Of those two, the notion of place as definition is probably the more debilitating, but unquestionably it had also come to be the more dominant of the two during the last century. But as a conceptual definition, neither place nor thing alone is strong enough to support much vitality beyond loyalty to itself."

Finish the next few paragraphs ->


Phyllis Tickle is one of the most highly respected authorities and popular speakers on religion in America today.

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