Phyllis Tickle

LENTEN MEDITATION: Final Sanity by Phyllis Tickle

March 14, 2017

From: Wisdom in the Waiting: Spring’s Sacred Days The forty penitential weekdays and six Sundays that follow Mardi Gras and precede Easter are the days of greatest calm in the church’s year.  Since by long centuries of custom the date of Easter is annually determined from the first Sunday after the full moon on or after March 21, the intertwining of physical and spiritual seasons is virtually inevitable.  The resulting union of deep winter and holy preparation makes reflection, even penitence, a natural activity. One night years ago, toward the end of winter, there was a storm, a cold front shifting suddenly and dropping onto us with ferocity and winds that bent down the pine trees along the fence line.  Sometime after I [...]

THE PARACLETE: The Great Enigma And Our Grandest Heresy, by Phyllis Tickle

September 22, 2014

From The Age of the Spirit It was not until 375 CE that the first book or treatise devoted solely and specifically to discussing the nature of the Holy Spirit appeared on the scene.  It was written by a bishop in Cappadocia (part of modern Turkey) named Basil, and known to us as Basil of Caesarea or Basil the Great.  Basil’s little book was titled succinctly, abruptly even, On the Holy Spirit.  Chapters 1–8 explain the nature of the deity of Christ, after which Basil moves on to argue that the Spirit is equal in the Godhead – clearly, a not yet widely accepted notion: We must proceed, now, to attack our opponents as they endeavor to advance opinions which are derived from false knowledge.  It is not possible, they say, for [...]

THE HOLY SPIRIT: Breath, Bread, and Beards, by Phyllis Tickle

July 31, 2014

From The Age of the Spirit One of the central and more fundamental of the differences between West and East was what we today might simply call a variance of the imagination.  We have already seen several examples of how the Greek mind and language differ from that of the latinized West.  One of those, in particular, is worthy of being re-mentioned just here. The Hebrew word ruach (meaning both “breath” and “spirit”), which occurs throughout the Hebrew Scriptures for God, was translated into the Greek of the New Testament as pneuma, which also means “breath” and sometimes “spirit” or sometimes as hagion pneuma, “holy breath” or “holy spirit.”  Greek [...]

PRAYER: Praise Every Three Hours by Phyllis Tickle

February 25, 2013

(Phyllis Tickle, the Lucy, Tennessee, editor and writer, has been keeping the ancient “divine office” for more than forty years.  She has an alarm on her wristwatch that she sets to go off every three hours, every day, and when it rings, she stops whatever she is doing to go to a quiet place and read, often out loud, the Psalms and prayers designated by religious leaders for that hour.  Once, such fixed-hour prayer was required primarily for Catholic monks and priests.  Now, Tickle says, it is becoming common enough to have created a market for her revisions of the traditional breviary, the three-volume Divine Hours and The Night Offices.) The divine office is a set of prayers, almost always ones of praise, based on the [...]

GOD 101: The Meaning of Mud, by Phyllis Tickle

February 7, 2013

As an author, editor, lecturer, and authority on religious books, Phyllis Tickle spends nearly half her time on the road, far beyond her backcountry home.  But her sense of life and purpose radiates from the place she nicknamed, “Lucy Goose Farm,” where she lives, plants, feeds, bakes, sews, and grows in Lucy, Tennessee.  We came here twenty years ago from downtown Memphis – not to escape the city, but because we felt that we were the last generation to really know how to live on the land.  We have seven children, and we watched those kids try to understand life in terms of Little League and car pools, and everything was brick and concrete and asphalt in their lives.  So we came out here, and all our friends thought we were [...]