I’ve been working through Exiles on Mission by Paul Williams. So far I’m enjoying it – it’s getting me to think about living as Christians in a post-Christian context. I don’t agree with everything I’ve read, but it is surely a good resource on this topic. Here’s a paragraph I read this morning that I marked up quite a bit. There’s more to this discussion, of course, but this is worth thinking about:
In our own day we may not have been physically exiled, but Western culture has changed around us. Although the West was formed out of the rubble of the classical world by two thousand years of Christian influence, it has decisively thrown off that heritage and rejected the faith that brought it to birth. Many believers have still not come to terms with the fact that we now live in a post-Christian society. By this I mean not at all that Christ is no longer relevant but that society has turned away from Christ.
Indeed, Lesslie Newbigin speaks of a post-Christian paganism, different from the pre-Christian kind because it is inoculated against Christianity, yet equally instrumental – and thus dehumanizing – in its inner life. We hark back to the days of greater Christian influence, and this nostalgia makes it all the harder to live faithfully in the present. Our culture may be godless, but it is also wealthy and comfortable. Comfort plus nostalgia for a half-remembered past form a dangerous emotional combination capable of numbing us to the reality of exile in our day and the missional challenges it presents.
Great food for thought!
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015