If you read the Episcopal Voice produced by the Diocese of Olympia, this post will look remarkably similar to my column in the most recent February edition. I offer it here to invite into the proposed discussion anyone who might like to enjoy it here. I received a great idea from my colleague the Rev. Hollis Williams. He suggested that I select a book that we might all read and discuss together. He called it the "Bishop's Book for Lent." I actually used to report the books I was reading, when in the parish, and people seemed to like that. I have not done that here and suspect you may not be all that interested anyway, however, I like this idea from Hollis and would like to give it a try. I like this as it will provide a way for us to have some discussion around the book and perhaps the issue the book addresses. I am thinking we might use my blog as a way to hold the discussion. Some of you have also found me on Facebook and we might chat about it there too.
So, I am willing to give this a try, see how it goes, and maybe we will hit on something here, a way for us to center a discussion. The book I would propose it The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why by Phyllis Tickle. I had a chance to read a draft of this book and to discuss it in person with the author before it was published. It has been published and I found it to be very compelling and thought provoking. The basic premise she takes comes from Bishop Mark Dyer who said to understand Christian history you have to understand that about every 500 years or so, the Church has a rummage sale. Tickle's premise is that such a seminal time is being experienced right now.
This article will come out the first week in February. Ash Wednesday is February 25th, so, should you decide to join this experiment you will have time to acquire the book and begin reading it before we enter Lent. What I will try to do is to provoke some discussion, perhaps even parcel out chapters over Lent so we might be able to "read it" together. This is a book you should be able to find at all the usual places. I hope to alert our Episcopal bookstores of this plan so they can stock up a bit as well. If you want to take a sneak preview there is one available at www.thegreatemergence.com On this website you can view a three minute video introduction hosted by Tickle as well as other information about the book. Tickle will be the Clergy Conference speaker in 2010 and hopefully be present in other venues with us then too.
Let's see how it goes!