Okay, I confess to a quasi-obsession with this topic which has taken me a lot longer than I expected to unpack. I can’t seem to get out of my craw that we’re strangers following a Stranger here with a strange message in a strange land among strange people who think we’re strange.
I can’t stop musing about the hoard of Scripture that makes so much more sense to me now in light of this exilic Christianity theme; especially the books of Jeremiah, Daniel, 1 Peter, and Revelation (chapters 17 and 18 in particular). Comparing these books with the subversive life and teachings of Jesus has been, and continues to be, a fascinating journey for me. I’ve been a pretty ardent Bible lover for many years and I’m happy to report that I’m still learning lots of stuff that I’ve never even thought about before. A.W. Tozer said, “Paul was a seeker and a finder and a seeker still. Some people seek and find and seek no more.” I’m still seeking. You?
By way of a sound-byte summary of the last ten posts…
- The most disturbing thing about the prosperity orientation is that it begins and ends with me, myself, and I, and has little to no regard for the us, i.e. all of us, including faithless Babylonians!
- The kind of prosperity that we clamor for in this life will mean zilch in the next. Most of what we treasure here rusts away to nothing or feeds the moths. In the next world we’ll be so enamored with our treasures that the things that we deemed so central here will, by comparison, be cheap costume jewelry.
- The purpose of our exile is both remedial and redemptive. God is trying to improve us as well as to use us to influence Babylonians. We’re here for our own good and the good of those around us.
- The Bible is no survivalist manifesto. Cowering in our Christian ghetto bears no resemblance to the God honoring faith of our forefathers.
- Jesus, our prototypical Subversive, was a culture-changing, foot-washing troublemaker! When we say that we aspire to be like him are we just talking about his clean-talking, drug-free, conservative-voting niceness?
- Every time in history the Church has tried to raise the Christian flag over a nation, a people group, or even over one other person it’s always turned out very poorly! We win the world, like Jesus did, not by force but by fascination.
- “He who marries the spirit of the age soon becomes a widower.” We Christians have to decide if we want to be Christ’s Bride or Babylon’s lover. A worldly church is of no good to God, itself, or the world.
- If triumphalism is initiated by pride and ends in disappointment, spiritual passivism is initiated by fear and ends in a pathetic expression of the kingdom of God. The former wishes for more than is promised and the latter hopes for too little and gets nothing.
Here are the links to the previous posts in this series if you want to visit or revisit them:
- What is “Prosperity”?
- How do we get it?
- When can we expect to get it?
- Some substandard strategies for strangers (exiles)
- Servant Subversion vs Fortification
- Servant Subversion vs Expoitation
- Servant Subversion vs Domination
- Servant Subversion vs Accommodation
- Servant Subversion vs Abdication
I conclude with another Tozer quote:
“Others before me have gone much farther into the holy mysteries then I have gone. But if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.”
Until next time, aflame with Jesus.