Saturday, February 24, 2007

Final Thoughts on Exiles

"Christianity in a ghetto is not Christianity at all. If we retreat into our own compounds and eat our own meat, sharing our tables only with other Christians, our faith becomes nonmissional." (Michael Frost, Exiles)

Michael has some good thoughts about sharing our table as an expression of missional socializing and hospitality.

I also appreciated what he had to say about dualism and the enormous gap between vocational ministry and everyone else. As a lay person, I still see very little change in the dualistic mentalities regarding vocation, calling, and ministry.

The section of the book on dangerous criticim was difficult for me. While I agree with the overall principles presented, I had trouble with the attitude that this was the christian position to take on specific issues. In reading it, I felt the same agenda-pushing as I have experienced from the right-wing evangelical camp.

I felt the section on corporations was extremely biased, exaggerated, and unfair. While there may be validity in some of his claims, I could not hear them through the glaring demonization of capitalism.

I share his convictions about many of the other issues, however, I do not necessarily share his interpretation or application. This entire section would have been more effective if the basic principles had been presented and the rest of it framed as personal opinion and example, rather than implied as the stance that must be taken by every christian.

Some good thoughts from this section:
We must be good stewards of the environment, caring for creation.
We must be globally aware of oppression and suffering.

In the section about Dangerous Songs, Michael emphasizes the importance of service as an act of worship. I also recently read Permission Granted which emphasizes the importance of intimate worship. We must have both. Service that is not sustained by intimate fellowship with the Lord will lack life and power. Worship that does not lead to service is unbiblical.

In the end, Michael reminds us that though we are exiles in this world, our home is in our hearts, in our reconciled relationship with the Father.

This book deeply impacted my thoughts on church, missional living, and community. I appreciate the brilliant insights and perspective interwoven throughout the book. It will be foundational for me as I continue to learn the realities of creating a missional life in my little corner of the world.

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