Saturday, February 17, 2007

Dangerous Memories

The message of this portion of the book is that we remember who we are as the people of God. While I originally thought from the title that Exiles referred to people outside of church, Michael uses this term to describe our status as citizens within, but not part of, the host empire of this world. As Robbymac said in the previous comments, "his use of "exiles" to sum up "in the world but not of the world" is brilliant."

Michael acknowledges that many Exiles not only find themselves out of step with the world, but also with religious institutions. My own conclusion would be that we find ourselves out of step with religious institutions because they have adopted the ways of the host empire. A quote from the book:

"We must not be mesmerized by life here in Babylon. Nor must we become content with the values of Babylon or the symbols of temporal earthly might."

Within the dangerous memories, we will find our example of living as exiles within the host empire. The 3 dangerous memories he outlines are as follows:
1. God Will Rescue the Exiled People
2. Jesus Was a Radical and a Subversive
3. Jesus Is Our Standard and Example

Rather than becoming comfortable within the host empire, Michael reminds us that as followers of Jesus, a missional lifestyle is an active pursuit that will bring us into proximity with the marginalized, the outcast, and the suffering.

One of the nuggets from this section is the idea of missional proximity.

"God enters fully into close relational and physical proximity to humanity in the pursuit of reconciliation."

We also need to purposefully live in ways that put us in proximity to those whom God wants to redeem so that our lives intersect closely with the people that Jesus would want us to hang out with.

Michael describes the value of frequenting third places, the places where people go to just relax. He also critiques the way in which churches have become third places for christians, their social network, which actually works to remove them from proximity to people who don't know Jesus. While he adds that homes are no longer seen as third places, I believe that they still can be. Going against our society's tendency toward isolation and privacy, we can choose to open our homes more and make them places of hospitality and intimacy.

I found this section a valuable reminder of who we are as Christ-followers and the mission that we are called to actively live.

5 comments:

molly said...

I've listened to about ten of Mike Frost's podcasts (via Resonate) and he's the author/teacher that most resonates with the cries of my own heart. I find that he often puts my own inner mullings into English words and forms sentances with them.

Reading your thoughts from the book has me drooling over my keyboard. I guess that means I need to fork out the dough for this book now. :)

Trailady said...

Fabulous post, Grace! True.

Jesus even said, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword". The Kingdom truths that He spoke, cut and exposed the roots of religiosity. His teachings divided people, calling them out as they debated & contemplated higher, simpler truths. The religious leaders of their time offered burdens. Jesus offered rest.

Keep following Him! :o)

Anonymous said...

Living missionally means you also will come into close proximity with discomfort, dis-ease, and conflict. That is why the "religious" aren't missional. When Jesus walks in with the marginalized, He steps on toes. Oh this just sings my heart. Thank you!

Pam Hogeweide said...

i am a middle class white woman who for most of my life has had minimal, intimate contact with those who are not middle class and white.

recently my family has decided to attend a church that is small and has an economically diverse group. it is here that i am for the first time having close encounters with people who have been poor their entire lives. it is uncomfortable, stretching, and some of the most difficult relationships i have ever had to navigate ever. being a person of means who rubs elbows with persons who have little to no has created interesting situations for me and at times, unusual crises. It would be far easier for me to only hang out and open my life and my home to other middle class white women.

I think I need to blog about this...

grace said...

Sorry about the slow response here, I'm having kind of a crazy week!

Molly,
I need to listen to some of those podcasts. Everything I've read about them has been positive. A friend of mine went to a conference he did recently and loved it.

trailady,
One thing I really appreciated about this book is that it focused so much on loving the host empire without embracing the value system of the empire.

anonymous,
Thanks for commenting. I want to learn how to purpose my life to intersect more intentionally with the marginalized in my world also.

Pam,
Please do blog about this. I would love to read more specifically what the reality of this has been like for you.