Thursday, February 15, 2007

Exercising Through Exiles

I read the book Exiles by Michael Frost over the last month during my time at the gym. Over the lunch hour, I grab my book and head to the gym.

Aside from the fact that highlighting is difficult on both the elliptical and the treadmill, I love reading while I exercise. If the book is good, it makes the time go fast.

I usually have expectations for a book, hopeful of what I think it might contain. Some books fall short of those expectations and some books far surpass them. I probably had unfairly high expectations for Exiles based on the subtitle "living missionally," certain there would be answers to my latest questions.

My good friend ;) Alan Hirsch recommended that I read Shaping of Things to Come first, but I was so anxious to crack open Exiles, that I read it first. I also have the same high expectations for The Forgotten Way, so it will be read next. (However, now I'm in the middle of Permission Granted and absolutely loving it!)

Back to Exiles, I don't plan on giving a formal review, but rather just sharing a few thoughts over the next couple of posts. The outline of the book is based on four disciplines for exiles described by Walter Brueggeman - dangerous memories, dangerous promises, dangerous critique, and dangerous songs.

My impression (personal opinion only, your mileage may vary) is that the heart of Michael's message is in the first half of the book. It seemed to me that the rest of the book was written to simply fill in the outline. Perhaps I felt that way because the first half of the book was most applicable to my situation.

Today, I'll just give you a couple of great quotes from the second chapter:

"The degree to which we adopt a tame and insipid picture of Jesus is the degree to which we avoid the mission to which he has called us."

"We then are free to follow Jesus' example as he models for us the profound power of sharing a table with the marginalized and the despised. This surely is the locus of missional activity - grace, love, hospitality, generosity."


Lily said...

Man - I'm still wading through exiles, but I'm really enjoying it.

How do you read on the treadmill? I've been trying to figure that out.

grace said...

Good morning Lily.
How do I read on the treadmill? Very carefully!

To start with, I only fast walk, I'm not a runner. I spend most of my time on the elliptical and usually just warm up or cool down on the treadmill. Next, I use a bookholder.

Still, it is quite an accomplishment getting my book, bookholder, highlighter, and water bottle all situated.

Occasionally my water bottle or book fly off of the treadmill, but as long as it isn't my body doing an unplanned dismount, it's good. (Fortunately that's only happened once, and I didn't live up to my blog name, grace.)

Robbymac said...


Yep, your assessment sounds pretty familiar (I just finished reading it last week). There's some great gems in the first part, and I think his use of "exiles" to sum up "in the world but not of the world" is brilliant.

The last half was more practical in spots, and simply maddening in others (I'll blog my final Worms on the subject in a day or so).

Forgotten Ways is also next, but I'm right now reading John Wimber's The Way In Is The Way On, and absolutely loving it. Wendy read the first chapter and said, "THIS book should be required reading at future YWAM schools!"

Glad you're enjoying Permission Granted; I found it encouraging and our current church attending (CCA, versus CLB) has all the leadership reading it, which should be interesting.

KSG said...

I'll stay out of much of the "exile" talk since I've probably said too much over at Rob blog. And I haven't read it, so that's usually a problem when chatting up (or down) a book.
"Permission Granted" - I'm thoroughly enjoying even though I keep getting sidetracked by my wife excitedly reading Rob Bell's "Velvet Elvis" to me.
For me, I'm interested in reading people who are actually doing stuff. Theory doesn't play well in my world. (quick plug: read "Kissing the leper" by Brad Jursak ...that church is doing it).

Re."Forgotten Ways" Scot McKnight is doing a chapter by chapter review of it...fascinating.

(sorry, no tags to stuff...not enough time)


fr'nklin said...

okay, so I'm so glad that someone else looks forward to the gym time not to get exercise but to READ! THAT IS ME!!!!!!! funny, i had to replace "exiles" as my gym reading because after the first part, i lost interest.

oh, and i take a pen w/ me to the gym so that when i come across something good i can put a squibly checkmark in the margin!

Cindy said...

i can't read on the elliptical either. i've seen people like you. i don't get it.

bryan riley said...

Good quotes.

Not your main point, but what has sidetracked us... I can't do the read and exercise thing either. I end up doing both poorly, and, given my eating habits, I can't afford to exercise poorly (he says after having two of his homemade chocolate chip cookies, milk and coffee for breakfast).

grace said...

robby and ksg,
So many books, so little time. :)

My highlighting system is a squiggle at the front of a quote and another at the end so that I can later find the parts that were meaningful to me.

I can't read in the car, but the elliptical doesn't bother me.

I don't necessarily exercise well, just often. Ah, the breakfast of champions!