About Phyllis Tickle

Phyllis Tickle , founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly, the international journal of the book industry, is frequently quoted in print sources, electronic media, and innumerable blogs and web sites. Tickle is an authority on religion in America and a much sought after lecturer on the subject.

December 2012

PATHEOS – December 2012 November 2012 was about as singular as any month could ever contrive to be. Most certainly it was as portentous as any should ever wish to be. In this country, it saw the election of our first Buddhist senator, our first Hindu congressperson, as well as of our first nontheist one. Almost as thought-evoking is the knowledge that on post-election Saturday, after all the tallies were finally in, Al Mohler, Jr., the highly visible and outspoken p … [Read more...]

A Perfect Duo

 “Let us now praise famous men,” is itself about as famous as any self-respecting phrase could ever hope to be. Certainly, it is more bandied about than is any other of those we have lifted whole-cloth out of the Apocrypha. But every once in a while…in a great, great while, in fact…I still want to change the flow of the words a bit and say instead, “Let us now praise famous books.” Once upon a long time ago, some very gratifying years at Publishers Weekly taught me a lot of … [Read more...]

The Shift into Post-Christendom

Earlier this year, Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and, thereby, formerly the tutelary head of the Anglican communion world-wide, shocked me. Then, I was further shocked by the discovery that I should have not been shocked in the first place…that I was, in fact, one of a fairly limited number of folk who were even surprised by what Lord Carey did.What Lord Carey did, acting from his position as former Archbishop, was to file a written statement to the European Court of Human R … [Read more...]

Of Wasps and Other Things

Wade Tickle is almost eleven years old, and he is terrified of wasps. When he was younger, he was only afraid of them. Now he is paralyzed by the mere possibility of them. Normally, this would not be a problem….a quirk maybe, a source of some parental concern and, unfortunately, of some unkind teasing, but little more than that.  The difficulty lies in the fact that our times [or his, perhaps] are not exactly normal right now.Wade’s dad, who is our son, Wade, Sr., is in the process of buying … [Read more...]

The August after the July To Never Forget

PATHEOS – August 2012July 4th ...any and every July 4th...is firmly engrained in our American consciousness as being forever and always our nation’s major civil holiday. Over the years, we have made such a vociferous celebration of the whole thing, in fact, that much of the non-North American world is almost as aware as we are of “the Fourth” as a day of “the greatest significance.” Given that fact, one has to wonder about the events of July 4, 2012. Was the choice of that day for announcing … [Read more...]

July in an Election Year

One of the few things in this life that I really do try to be careful about is the business of proper citation. When I find an idea worth taking, I am grateful enough not to morph into a ready thief certainly. And usually…at least so far as I know…I also am pretty good at saying thank-you publicly several times over to the giver; but I am about to fail. Thus, a mea culpa of sorts.At some point over the last few months, I read and copied out, but failed to record citation on, what I tho … [Read more...]

An Assessment of Great Worth

Some several weeks ago now, I spent a laughter-filled few days in Tellico Community, in my native East Tennessee hills. While going home again has never been big on my list of to-do things, those few days have given me pause to re-consider.Anyway, be all that as it may, my two or three days in Tellico were to be spent with the staff and people of Tellico Community Church, a very large and, at first blush, traditional church serving what is quite definitely a huge retirement community. As one … [Read more...]

On My Mind These Days

Every single year, one of the great mysteries of Easter for me has to do with Eastertide, and not so much with Easter per se. And every year, as I make my way through the daily propers and the Sabbath texts, I feel the same need to say, “But…..”I never say it, of course, but…But I want to say it here, now, with these pixels. Then maybe I’ll get it out of my system before this time next year.My restiveness [for it is more a matter of restiveness than anything else] is that once we … [Read more...]

7 April 2012

7 April 2012Holy Saturday…...what a strange name for a day. Yet it has always seemed to me to be eerily appropriate in the same way that the striking of the hall clock just at midnight every night seems to me to be strangely holy. There is that quiet, as if the whole house were waiting for the dull, flat striking, the close counting out. And when it is done, one can almost hear the house settling down at last into today; for today was what the house, and we with it, had been waiting … [Read more...]

The Prayers of Lent

PATHEOS – March 2012Just a few days before Lent began this year and in anticipation of it, Doug Pagitt--who somehow always manages to pastor us all, thank God-- set a date for the two of us to engage in a Skyped conversation about Lent. But not about Lent in general, he said. Rather, he wanted us to talk about Lent from my perspective as a liturgical Christian. Since almost nobody ever asks me to speak as a liturgical, I was as much charmed as pleased. [In the South, those are two entirely d … [Read more...]