Phyllis Tickle: The Professor X of Emergence

TickleXavierIf my spiritual tribe was the X-Men, Phyllis Tickle would be our Professor X.  Phyllis turns 80 today, and here are some of the impossible things she’s done for me:

1. She convinced me that historical cycles were scientifically worth paying attention to.

2. She showed me that fixed-hour prayer can be a wonderful and life-giving spiritual practice.

3. She made me look forward to getting white hair, because it will make me look a little more like her.

Happy birthday, Phyllis!  We think you’re neat.


More happy birthday wishes for Phyllis at Tony Jones’ blog


And while we’re at it: Who is the Wolverine of Emergence Christianity The Jean Grey?  The Magneto?


  1. Magneto: started on the same team, all seemingly with the same good intentions, and then went in a completely different direction to become the sworn enemy. Mark Driscoll?

    Wolverine: rash and stubborn that his own way is right, sometimes causing harm but ultimately doing a lot more good and proving to an invaluable member of the team. I’m thinking Tony Jones?

    I’m not sure on Jean Grey yet. I should think on that one. I’m not an X-Men expert but this is a fun exercise.

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing about Driscoll, but was trying to keep my mouth shut. 🙂

      I was trying to figure out where to put Brian McLaren. Professor X would have been a good fit for him, what with the baldness and all. Maybe he’s the blue “Beast” guy?

      I was thinking of Tony Jones as Cyclops — but mainly because of his glasses and haircut.

      Maybe Nadia Bolz-Weber is our Jean Grey, and Rachel Held Evans is Rogue. Or maybe t’other way ’round?

      1. I can see McLaren as Beast. He’s the peacemaker, firm but gentle despite significant power.

        Rogue for Nadia would fit as the resident bad-ass. Actually compassionate but has the tough exterior and isn’t prone to following the rules.

        How about Storm for Rachel? Very calm and composed on the surface but can create sheer chaos in an instant (through her followers). I guess the same could be said for Jean.

        1. Rachel is Storm. No more need be said about that!

  2. Maybe Doug Pagitt is our Wolverine. He does have that kinda crazy look in his eyes.

Leave a Reply