Religion News

January 1, 2022

Don’t let the simple cover art of Norman Rockwell’s “Saying Grace” deceive you. It does not depict the elocution of Phyllis A. Tickle as she writes of theology and religion and spirituality.

In the same breath, she seems both to question and endorse the ideas of Joseph Campbell, who wrote of “universal ideas,” suggesting that “the myths and art of other cultures are the moral equals of Greco-Judeo-Christian culture.”

She concedes, assuming most of us agree with her, that “the operative distinction between myth and sacred texts may be related to one’s point of view.”

Tickle writes of the failure of formal theology and institutionalized religion in this country; indeed, she concludes that such “failures” have spiced up America’s god-talk the last 40 years.

The book is rife with references and polls, studies and analyses. Tickle’ asserts that “religion is a notion we can all sink our teeth into and do, even those of us who don`t have much truck with it.”

Some readers will be disturbed at the lower-case “g” approach: example: “…even though theories of god (or theories of god’s absence, which is an equally valid position in this context) may be what informs religion and morality and spirituality.”

But the author’s motives seem pure enough, for she explains the word “theology” as being from the old Greek words for god theos, and logos for word: thus, the study of or conversation about God/god being “theology.” Thus: “god-talk.”

Even so, not a few will be uncomfortable with her casual eagerness to include Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Baha is as Arnerica’s contemporary god-talkers.

The reader-will certainly get the idea that equality among religions is trendy: “that is, of one-god-sought-through-many-means-but-one-and-the-same-once-found.”

Tickle takes the reader on an inner journey to help them identify themselves: where they came from spiritually and why they think the way they do. And she gives the stats to support that a high percentage of people polled at least have a nebulous faith in some higher power. Thus, Tickle insists. today’s god-talkers in America – from the Builders and the Boomers and the Busters – are singing “a folk medley of hope in America.”

We would love for you to receive our newsletter and update emails. Please subscribe here.