Grace and peace to you …
Phyllis Tickle died this past week at the age of 81. She was known for her teaching on emerging Christianity and dedication to marked hour prayer. The image of Phyllis is taken with another well-known Christian thinker, Nadia Bolz-Weber who is often called the tattoo-loving Lutheran pastor. What I love about this image is that it shows two leaders from different generations embracing the beauty of the other. There is a sense that what these two women did to cross their generational and experiential divides is prophecy for the Church at large today.
God is always turning a page in every generation and our work is to be listening for the direction God is moving, so that our way does not get lost from the way that God is giving birth to in the new. When the hinges of history turn in communities of faith, the door opens with the work that begins on our knees in prayer and unfolds through a journey that shapes the next course of human history. It is exciting stuff!
Many of those who shared comments about Phyllis in celebrating her life named that she lived with hope always believing that the Holy Spirit was up to something just around the corner. I believe this too! Around every corner is an opportunity for us to witness a beautiful expression of the love of God alive in the world.
Before Phyllis died, I was in the midst of reading the Mystic way of evangelism by Elaine Heath. She and Phyllis are similar thinkers. They are both strong believers in the practice of prayer and both understand the Church to be most alive when it engages in community and is at work on the margins. Heath communicates an understanding of the Church being in what she describes as the dark night of the soul. She argues that what is needed are leaders who can lead their congregations like the Mystics of old to re-imagine the present and future for the Church.
There is a sense that the Holy Spirit is doing something new in the life of the Church at large as well as in the life of Central Methodist Mission. I know this without a doubt because the Holy Spirit is always stirring up something new. There is a rich history connected to this place that is the DNA — the dust in the ground that God will draw from with anything new born along the way. As a community, we have an opportunity coming up in October to gather as a church family, listen to some of the stories from the past, and allow space for what God might be speaking to us today. Phyllis Tickle was also described to have eyes that danced. May we find our eyes dancing with dreams of all God is calling this community to in the days ahead!
With you on the journey, Michelle.