May 15, 2007

Last month, I read Exiles by Michael Frost. I resonated with his prior writing, The Shaping of Things to Come, a collaboration with Alan Hirsch. I was hoping that Exiles would pick up on some of the ideas from Shaping and help to take them further, and it was what I hoped for.

Exiles is deeply thoughtful in eccclesiology and theology, and yet I appreciate that it seems to be written not with the theologian or pastor in mind, but with any one who desires to be a follower of Jesus. This is critical since much of his premise is that it is lay people who need to be involved in thee real work of mission.

Here are a just a few bits that I underlined that I thought were worth further reflection:

  • “Whether it is as simple as joining the local jogging club or as complex as owning a third-place business, most Christians can’t do it because they simply don’t have the time. The reason for this is that for most Christians their church has become their third place. Their churches soak up every bit of their spare time.” (pg. 62)
  • “This plays into the classic postmodern belief that the truth can never be found at the center of society. It’s assumed these days that powerful hegemonies such as the legal system, the political system, big business, and the church can never be trusted because they have too much to lose if the truth were told.”… Conversely, many others believe that the truth can come only from the margins, from those who have nothing to love by telling it the way it really is. Only the most marginalized people — the gay and lesbian commnity, artists, filmmakers, the poor, the young–can show us the way forward.” (pg. 72)
  • “When the language used by clergy and worship leaders is always loaded with hyper-real images and unlikely expectations, audiences slowly develop, first, a feeling of alienation. Public Christian discourse seems to regularly concern itself with happy Christian families, answered prayers, and parables with an obvious moral inserted in the punch line.” (pg. 96)
  • “In fact, I realized that the inclusivity of sharing possessions, eating together, and gathering under the apostles’ teaching, as delicious as it seemed, was actually a contravention of Jesus’ command for them to take the gospel to the very ends of the earth.” (pg. 107)
  • “In her book A Royal Waste of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World, Marva Dawn builds a biblical case against those who advocate turning worship into the congregation’s evangelistic tool, because this notion lets all believers cop out of their responsibility for reaching out to their neighbors by actually being the church. It is Dawn’s assumption that when a community of believers, churching together, meets to worship, they are formed more deeply into the people of God.” (pg. 287)
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