Paul S Williams – Exiles on Mission: How Christians Can Thrive in a Post-Modern World
Brazos ISBN 978 1 58743 435 8 238 pages Price £13.99
It has become popular to use the metaphor of exile to describe the present situation of the Church. The challenge of this metaphor, suggests Paul Williams, is that it can come laden with negative connotations that focus on the limitations of exile. The thesis of Exiles on Mission is that exile is not a reason for the Church to retreat to a ghetto of anxiety, self-pity and defensiveness. The result is Christian fragmented communities unable to live faithfully and fruitfully in their societies.
Instead of becoming a reason to retreat, exile can be viewed as an invitation to seize the initiative of being different, and to make a difference in our society. The challenge is to move from being an alien, to be an ambassador, who is able to confidently and fluently represent King Jesus and his message to a hostile, indifferent or mildly curious world.
Who is this book for? Primarily Christian leaders, and all who are serious about thinking through our engagement with contemporary culture.
At times the book does flip between a couple of contrasting styles: academic and popular; almost as if the author is not quite sure where to pitch it. This notwithstanding, the book is a stimulating read that had me chasing up the footnote references and ready to tease some of its ideas out with further reflection and reading.
John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex