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.