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Looks like a good read.

Exiles are, of course, 'out of place' and thus 'dirty'. And being dirt, they are thus the very thing to re-invigorate society - which is what the quote you give suggests.

I'm wondering how dirty we're prepared our missional practice to get? And, connectedly, how well are we identifying the pressures that force societies to 'purify'? My hunch at the moment is that it's not so much 'security' - as the politicians would have us believe it - but insecurity. We're becoming more introverted and paranoid.

Look forward to your further thoughts on the book...

First comment here Mark - great blog BTW.

I have read the first couple of chapters and have already bought three other copies to dish out to my unsuspecting friends! I have no problem with this metaphor, but feel comforted that someone has spoken what I feel. I don't think I am alone in this. I also think this is a metaphor that many of my friends who would not call themselves 'followers' could perhaps relate to.

Kester: are you saying that we seek separateness because it's comfortable? Not sure what you mean.

I think in many ways we do. Faith Popcorn identified the 'cocooning' desire in the 90's, and I think it has impacted negatively on society as a whole. 'Gated communities' are the apogee.

However, being a metaphor, exile has things going for it as well as against. We just need to make sure that we know which is which.

I think for the Jews around their '587', the exile experience was a struggle: between the prophets who tried to steer it positively into a formative experience whereby they would learn to accept 'the other', and those who used it to breed hatred of 'the other'.

How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? By harmonizing, and learning their instruments.

I've just started a series of blog posts on Mike's book, and very much enjoying the discipline of reading it slowly.

The exile metaphor is particularly apt for the post-Christendom context where, quite literally, the ground is slipping out from under us. Only this evening I was talking with some church leaders from other local Anglican churches and being shocked - yet again - by just how much people haven't come to terms with just how much we've grown quite comfortable in our exiled state. Looking forward to this book being disturbing!

The exile motif works quite well for me.

I draw great inspiration from the stories of Daniel, Joseph and Esther, people of faith who stood between worlds.

And I am quite comfortable with the punishment implications. Revelation warned that some churches would loose their 'lampstands' if they didn't sharpen up their act. I believe that is what we see happening in my land. I say we accept God's critique of the prevailing system and dig down into the stories of the heros of exile for inspiration. Clinging onto the holy nation / temple mount motif of the pre-exilic period is becoming increasingly counter productive.

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