Alien or Exile?

Posted: 21 January 2018 in Cultural, On the Pilgrim's Road
Tags: , , ,
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Many exiles because of him

Aliens or Exiles?  As Christians, we readily have a sense alienation from the world around us.  The moral fog, the social and political loss of direction, the cultural confusion.  And in sense – we do not belong here.  But we confuse being an alien with being an exile?  We criticise the way of the world about us, and that bolsters our own perspective? Yet at the cost of stealthily boosts self-righteousness.  We gripe.  Yet, don’t we have a hope, elsewhere?

The Bible talks of Aliens, and of Exiles.  Alienation?  Marx used the term to talk about the worker having no ownership and personal sense of value in his/her work.  Alas, still with us in the 21st century as was in the 19th.  Cultural alienation – Durkheim’s “Anomie”, the loss of connection with each other and the breakdown of common understanding norms, values, etc.  Easily a greater plague in the 21st century then when he wrote in the 19th.

The Bible on alienation – it talks of being cut off from the commonwealth of God’s people (Eph 2:11-13), alienated and hostile in mind before becoming reconciled to Christ (Col 1:20-22).  Alienation is an unhappy state of separateness from where we should be, within the commonwealth of the people of God, in union with Christ.

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Alienation: from this and much more

The concept of “Exile” serves us better.  In the Old Testament, many times being an exile was an unhappy matter.  Separated from the ones they loved, from the land, perhaps even from the god, they belonged to.  To be truly be one with God was to be back in Israel – a mentality seen amongst orthodox Jews even today.  However – Peter believed being an exile was a positive thing.  The people he was writing to (and us) now belong elsewhere, and ought to conduct themselves in a manner worthy to their new government (1 Peter 1:17 and 2:11).  The believer in Turkey or England will have issues with his/her cultural environment, but the values that direct our actions lay not in an England of village cricket, warm beer and the misty 1950’s.  But in the directives issued by our Government-in-Exile.

Being “in Exile” has a positive end and is not soaked in negativity as “alienation”.  My mother was an exile, her Spanish homeland being seized by the fascists in 1939, and as a combatant (Republican Army- Education Corps) , her loyalty remained to the Spanish Government-In-Exile, not to dictator Franco in Madrid.  Not without much bitterness and tears, her hope remained for a future restoration of freedom for Spain.  But in her remaining years in UK, she also felt alienation. Alienation in British life: the warm beer, cool weather and cool temperaments, and loved ones far away that could not be visited.

Are we Aliens, or Exiles?  Do we believers too readily grumble about the world around us?  Do we slip easily into the becoming “grumpy old men”?  Better to be proper exiles.  And look to values and ideals of our Government-in-Exile, to The-King-Who-Will-Return?

We don’t kiss our critique goodbye.
But we keep a twinkle in our eye.

Bill

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