Elsewhere, Phyllis says: "The Reformation was about five hundred years ago. Five hundred before that you hit the Great Schism. Five hundred more was the fall of Rome and the beginning of monasticism. Five hundred before that you hit the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, and five hundred before that was the end of the age of judges and the beginning of the dynasty."
She argues that three things happen during these times of change:
ii. dominant Christianity is reconstituted as a response
iii. both forms lead to the spread and growth of Christianity
Her presentation and analysis of the current era of change, labelled The Great Emergence, is largely historical, reflecting on an analogous period of change (The Reformation) in order to understand the possible trajectory of the contemporary climate within Christianity. Her projections for the future are, as Tall Skinny Kiwi also notes, hopefully more predictive than prescriptive. Here, however, her thoughts on the development of Christianity within The Great Emergence fit neatly with Brian McLaren's notion of a Generous Orthodoxy.
Phyllis talks about "the gathering center" in which the old quadrillaterals of church historians and theologians (divided into Charismatic Pentecostalism, Evangelicalism, Mainline or Social Justice Christians, and Liturgicals) are going through a transformation through the centripetal force of which: 1) a new center is forming in which old distinctions between denominations become blurred through interaction and conversation; and 2) the reconstitution of the four quadrants reacting against the pull of the center, which she refers to as the "backlash."
From the perspective of my research in the UK emerging church milieu, I'm interested that, while Phyllis explores orthodoxy (correct belief) and orthopraxy (correct action) in relation to those that remain within the framework of the old quadrillaterals, she does not address orthodoxy and orthopraxy as they relate to the emerging center. Of course, this is good for me as I explore Brian McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy and my own A/theistic Orthodoxy.
Also good for me is this quote, which I can leak without worrying I'll get in trouble, cos Tall Skinny Kiwi already quoted it(!):
"...emergence in the UK was clearly active, discernible and describable at least twenty years before it was nearly so visible and coherent in this country, making observation of what is happening in Britain, Ireland and Wales (sic) a very useful and sometimes predictive exercise for North American observers."