Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Friday, July 04, 2008


I've started going through the Exilio program with our small group. Exilio has grown out of Mike Frost's book Exiles (incidentally, a great and in some ways challenging read) and uses an action and reflection approach to learning - so along with some hefty reading exercises, and Bible study, there's also some practical home work which Mike refers to as "missional experiements" (this has most of the group cringing).

One of the exercises given in the "Bible study" part of the course is to begin reading through the Book of Acts - in a public place. Some of the group first thought this was a missional exercise in itself. Thankfully it isn't - not that I have any problem with people reading their Bibles in public, rather says Mike, the public reading is about bringing the text of Acts to life:

When we read Acts in public spaces our imagination cannot help but ask the question, "What would it look like if the Book of Acts happened today in this cafe. park, train station, shopping mall?". We find reading the Bible surrounded by people who are yet to discover God's love deeply affects our understanding of the reading. (Ignition, p.7)
I put this to the test today. I was supporting a young member of our Bunbury community (Alternate[Or]) during a court appearance and had plenty of time up my sleeve while waiting for his case to be called. So I read the first 2 chapters of Acts in the courthouse. At first I thought the whole "public reading" thing sounded a bit wussy, but, in reflection, I think it did, to some degree at least, affect how I viewed the text. Particularly the section describing Peter's address to the Jews and Jewish converts at Pentecost. The bit that really jumped out and grabbed me was the following:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."

And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. (ESV)
Particularly given my location at the time I was hit (again) by the important place repentance holds in the ordo salutis (order of salvation). It made me think about the young bloke I was with and his genuine interest in Christ and his life and what it would mean for him to become a disciple. It also made me think about the sheer lack of anything even resembling repentance I have seen in my many visits to the courthouse over the last 10 years or so (not to mention my own appearances before the Magistrate when I was a younger man!).

Thankfully today's result was a good one for my young friend. A reprieve that will hopefully help the process of repentance and forgiveness along.

As for the practical side of Exilio I think I have plenty of things to choose from without having to dream up a whole new missional experiment.

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