Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: IVP Academic (February 5, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
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The image of the church in exile is taken up by Lee Beach, an assistant professor of Christian Ministry at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, as an image of hope for the church. Even as God was with the exiles in the biblical story, God is with us as well as we enter this new post-Christendom era. While Beach uses the image of exile to stir our prophetic imagination, Walter Brueggemann points out that the texts he chooses actually emerge out of the Diaspora. The difference between exile and Diaspora, is that with exile there is an expectation of a return to normalcy. With the Diaspora, there is a new normalcy of living and practicing one’s faith far from home. Brueggemann writes that “’Exile’ might be a hope of ‘recovery’ for the way the church used to be, whereas ‘Diaspora’ is a recognition that there will not be any return home and there will not be a recovery of any old normalcy” (p. 12). Thus, while the term exile is used here, there is clearly a sense in this book that we will never return to the former “normalcy.”With Brueggemann’s helpful caveat in mind we are ushered into Beach’s provocative exploration of the biblical story of exile and diasporas, old and new, which is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the development of a theology of exile, with special attention given to Esther, Daniel, Jonah, the ministry of Jesus, and the wisdom of 1 Peter. One of the key points in expositing the idea of exile is that God is to be seen as present on foreign soil. The earlier symbols of divine presence – the land, the Davidic monarchy, and the Temple were gone. These markers of their identity as a people had been stripped away from them.
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