This past weekend was the The Great Emergence one-day seminar in Winnipeg with Phyllis Tickle, sponsored by FaithForum (and others). Clearly, the event centered around Ms. Tickle’s book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. A few of us (Jamie Howison, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Lesley Harrison, and yours truly) were invited to participate in a panel discussion and present a workshop, leaving two plenary sessions for Ms. Tickle, the last of which included a good Q&A session.
Friday evening before the event, the organizers — Christine Longhurst, Kara Mandryk, and Michael Boyce — invited us to join them with Phyllis Tickle for dinner, and we landed in a little Laotian place well-recommended by Jamie Howison. We found Ms. Tickle to be warm, witty, and approachable, which was reinforced during her plenary sessions, in which she was not only intelligent and widely conversant with her topic, but also downright funny at times. And she’s got a delightful accent.
I quite enjoyed the panel discussion, as I always enjoy participating in those formats. Memorable question of the day: Kara Mandryk (who chaired the panel) asking us to fill in the blank: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for ______ tells me so.” Well done — and this on the heels of the plenary in which we heard about the shift we’re in asking once again, “where now is our authority.” The last shift answered with sola scriptura, but it’s likely this shift will answer somewhat differently, though not to the exclusion of scripture.
As for my workshop, I confess I got off to a rough start. I was speaking from a manuscript rather than from point-form notes, which is what I much prefer. Once I had gotten past my weak introduction, I think I hit my stride and the remainder of the session went much better. Despite catching the dreaded after-lunch timeslot and being situated in a very warm room, I think most people stayed awake, so that has to be a good sign. I’ll post some version of that material here later in the week.
For now, it looks like I got a bit of extra billing during the event. Jamie Howison has posted his workshop material already: A Modest Proposal: resisting relevance. In his presentation, Jamie refers to an article that he and I wrote together a little over a year ago, riffing on some of the themes in Phyllis Tickle’s book. He quotes me a couple of times on the futility of chasing relevance, but of course his whole presentation is worth a good read.