Missional Journal Vol. 2 No. 1 – By the Waters of Babylon

What thoughts do you have about the church in “exile”?  Is this a helpful metaphor?

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3 Responses to Missional Journal Vol. 2 No. 1 – By the Waters of Babylon

  1. Karen Cooper says:

    Yes, this is a extremely helpful metaphor. History has proven over and over that persecution, and tribulation of believers helps to spread the Gospel. Jesus looked at every problematic situation as an opportunity to spread God’s message – healing, teaching us to love our enemies…God was gloried even in death (with Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, and the widow’s son). I have to admit that I have pined for the good old days, but I am fully aware that those days are gone, as America continues to try to destroy every vestige of our biblical heritage. In deed, we are on a slippery slope, but God is faithful all the more…and that gives me reason to hope. We know how the story ends.

    Karen Cooper

  2. Pat Devine says:

    I, too, believe the metaphor can be useful, and I appreciate the balanced approach to applying it. The phrase, “In Christendom the church is at or near the center of cultural power: it has weight; it commands respect” is true; but what is it that commands respect and provides weight? Is it a living, breathing, faithful organism incarnating the Gospel, or an institution committed to keeping the sacred from the profane. If we are truly in exile, to what do we want to return?

    The comment, “the good old days were probably never as good as they appear to our nostalgic memories” rings true throughout biblical history (our history!) – we are no different! As we “live life in the little moments” (Paul Miller’s words), how tempted are we to live in the perceived past (the good old days of Christendom) or in some perceived future (“I can’t wait until…..”). All the while, we simply miss that God is moving powerfully here and now (in exile or not) because our vision is focused forward or backward.

    So, as you cite Jeremiah – let us pray for prosperity of the city! Within the Church, it seems that intramural Christian dialogue (Generous-Joyful Orthodoxy!) is unprecedented, at least as seen in the past 100 years, if not ever! Culturally, while Christianity at some level seems to be just another item on the spiritual buffet table (a well-exercised metaphor), it is on the table! And there is great appeal to Christianity especially with younger adults, not in how our parents expressed it, but how Jesus LIVED it! Missional Church, our time is now!

    When we participated in the LEAD mission trip, a powerful memory that stays with me was the daily dependence on Christ by the missionaries in France. They expressed reckless trust, obedience, and desperate searching for how God was calling and leading daily for life and ministry. It seems this is how an exiled people are forced to live – are we living like that?

  3. Mike Keatley says:

    Like most metaphor, somewhat helpful but it also breaks down at some point. I am thinking about how we look at the world around us and relate to it…being in it, affected by it . I don’t like the defensive posture that we often take when it comes to the world….it is like we believe in the Holy Spirit to regenerate people but when it comes to the gospel having an affect on a community that is in desparate need of it we take a more defensive approach…i.e. we don’t want to be tainted by it (“bad company corrupts good morals”)

    Agree with Pat about our “historical Christian” roots. I think this is romantic thinking on our part. Regarding our American Christian heritage…I would agree that from a morality point of view we have slipped from earlier times in our immediate history, but I am not sure this is directly proportional to a general loss of Christian faith. there may be some relationship but I am not convinced it is the whole story like I have heard so many preachers state.

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