Religion & Liberty Online

FLOW on BreakPoint: Grabill and Koons Discuss Life in Exile

exileStephen Grabill and Evan Koons recently joined John Stonestreet on BreakPoint to discuss For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, the latest film series from the Acton Institute.

You can listen to the full discussion here.

The conversation covers a range of topics surrounding the series, but focuses mostly on the central theme of life in exile: How ought we as Christians to think about our role in culture and society, and what does the series aim to uncover when it comes to that question?

As Grabill explains:

Exile, in the Old Testament was God’s judgment on the nation of Israel for not doing something or being something that they were called to be. In the New Testament, exile is more a state of being. It’s more like being a sojourner and a pilgrim. And you’re kind of always on the way, in between. And that’s the sense of exile that we’re really building on in For the Life of the World—that sense of that new state of being. And Christians are feeling like they’re on the outside of their culture right now. Everything is changing and things are getting all messed up. We want to capture that sense of tension and exile, but we want to take it in a…constructive way.

Speaking specifically of evangelicalism in America, Grabill continues with the following:

What has happened, I think, over the last 30, 40, 50 years…is that we’ve added too much cultural baggage to our faith. And part of what we’re seeing being shed away right now in the broader cultural conversation where Christians are really being marginalized and put on the periphery is some of that cultural buildup—that encrustation—being sort of radically pulled away. [It’s] kind of like a scab being pulled off a sore. And it hurts. It really hurts…But hopefully that pain can be a pedagogical tool to help us as the church in North America get a better sense of focus on what is the core of our faith…

…We exist as a church to serve the world. We have a mission that actually pushes us into uncomfortable territory, or territory where we’re not always feeling at home. And we’re there to serve. We’re there to build up the common good. We’re there to help be Christ to all of these different people in all of these different settings. And that’s something I think we forget in the church quite a bit. We’re called to be on mission, and that mission is to be sent into the world for the life of the world.

As Koons and Grabill go on to affirm, one of the keys to taking up this mission is recognizing God’s design for each realm of society—work, family, education, art, politics, etc.—and embracing our roles therein. How, as Grabill asks, can we seek to be faithfully present in the places and spaces that God has called us to?

For more, purchase For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles or watch it digitally on Flannel.

Joseph Sunde

Joseph Sunde's work has appeared in venues such as the Foundation for Economic Education, First Things, The Christian Post, The Stream, Intellectual Takeout, Patheos, LifeSiteNews, The City, Charisma News, The Green Room, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work, as well as on PowerBlog. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and four children.